Six nations 2011 -weekend 3

So it’s:
Italy v Wales and
England v France tomorrow
and Scotland v Ireland on Sunday.

bbc has piles of stuff.
Ireland hoping for space.
Fragile France.Hmmm…we’ll see…
Hooky at centre…
For what it’s worth I can’t see France conceding 3 tries against England…

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  • RepublicanStones

    Currently freezing me balls off at Ulster vs Cardiff. Fucked if I know the rules, but for my first proper game of ‘Rugger’, an enjoyable aul night.

  • Dewi

    An easy Ulster win there RS…Blues pretty pathetic…

  • Italy -v- Wales

    Is this a “no brainer” or should we be thinking about it?

    The Dragon’s will have their tails up after the match against Scotland. This is unlikely to be an 8 – try thrashing but I expect Wales to find a few holes in the Italian defence and for Shane Williams to get nearer Campese’s record.

    A bunch of tries, plenty of hwyl, Dewi to grin and Wales to win by 20 + points.

    England v France,

    There are many talking points about this match. Will France dominate in he scrum as they did last year?
    They might not. The newcomers in the Front row last year, Dan Cole and Dylan Hartley, are now a lot more experienced and better. Sheridan, who missed the France match last year will make a big difference. England’s lineout last year looks secure. It looks even better now.

    It looks as though the battle of the breakdowns could determine the match.
    France have given away the least number of penalties but they have also leaked a lot of tries. There is a connection there. The French have to find ways of stopping English momentum. Slowing down the ball is one way to do it and that means risking givng penalties.

    France have made 4 changes (one forced through injury). Chabal is a hard hitter. He and Dusautoir will probably target the English half backs. The experienced Yachvili, who has tasted glory against England takes over at No. 9.

    In order to win, though, France needs to score tries. I believe that is why Jauzion, a playmaker, has been brought back to the centre. England’s defence is very strong but this French back line could be quite a test for Tyndall and Harpe.

    With proper planning, the French should not have been making so many unenforced substitutions so near a World cup. That suggess to me that England’s recent performances have taken Marc Lièvremont by surprise.

    On paper, this should really be a very close match. It might yet be. However, England are the more settled unit and they are getting better. I expect a close game up to half time and more kicking than you have seen from England recently. Even so, I think the English backs will find a way through.

    England to win by more than 10 points.

    Scotland v Ireland

    Ireland were just one taken pass away from beating the French and looking forward to a possible grand slam decider against England.

    Ireland scored 3 times againts France and despite losing played a lot better than they did against Italy.

    Scotland were utterly dreadful against Wales. They have to raise their game quite a lot to beat Ireland. What happened to the team which beat South Africa?

    I expect Ireland back to firing on all cylinders.

    Expect Andy robinson to be taken to a room with padding in it and for Declan’s kidney to be less active than two weeks ago.

    Ireland to win by more than 10 points.

  • ItwasSammyMcNally

    Expect Scotland to squeeze home because of home advantage as Ireland seem less that the sum of thier parts. Retaining D’arcy in a game with nothing riding on it is just too conservative. At least looking forward to SOB having a few rumbles.

    Wales to struggle unless thet get off to a flyer.

    France’s selection of Juauzion and Chabal smack of panic/damage limitation. England to win easily.

  • Ulster v Cardiff Blues

    I watched most of the match. Was actually quite impressed with Ulster.

    Dewi’s point about the blues is correct though. The pivotal moment was when Ulster lost a player to the sin bin. Instead of reaping during 10 minute penalty period, Cardiff conceded the winning try.

  • ItwasSammyMcNally

    Ulster centres look to be the real deal and Trimble had a really good game as well and dont think Wallace will get into the Ulster team when he returns from Ireland.
    I like O’Gara but his selection is another backward conservative step in a dead(ish) rubber.

    If we lose to Scotand it might force Kidney to look to the future and perhaps Spence might get a run against Wales.

    Boring, boring selection.

  • Dewi

    Sammy – approximately how much do I owe Slugger?

  • ItwasSammyMcNally

    Dewi,

    I think both you and me owe £10 becuase Toulon won the HC group (not sure about you but I have not got round to paying myself).

    We have another tenner on who finishes highest between Ire and Wales – cant remember anything else.

  • Dewi

    Thank you…..shall we round it up on England v France? I’ll bet France for a tenner!

  • Mark

    Seymour ,

    And that’s exactly what Chabal did against us last time around . He came in and slowed the game right down in those last 20 minutes . It was just what the French doctor ordered . He controlled the ball at the heel of the scrum ala Richard Hill or even Willy Duggan in his prime …..you know what they say about wise old heads ? He needs to be knobbled and knobbled pronto ..

    English Fans are starting to experience the feeling we had all those years ago in Paris . Neil Ashton is the most exciting player to emerge from the 5 nations and 1 rude nation Championships . That he plays with a glint in his eye is all the more enjoyable because fans love players who can talk to talk and then ……….which Mr Ashton can certainly do in spades .And the fact that it will drive the French bonkers makes it all the more sweet .

    England need to drive the French forwards bonkers aswell as heads will go and penalties will be given away . It is a given that the English will drive the French backwards as well as they always do . If Flood can keep that backline running straight with Neil Maradona Ashton cutting in from the wings ( which will need to be working for the celebrations ) , then they should win which will give the French yet another reason to be rude to all the tourists they meet on their way home – Allez les Blues and don’t come bleedin back …..

    Warren Gatland seems to taken Big Jack up all wrong . Could someone tell Mr Gatland that Jack meant the opposition players and not his own players when he said ” put em unda pressya ” . Why he feels the need to play minds with the returning Jones is anyone’s guess . He did it with O’Driscoll who never reproduced his debut form until Eddie got the nod …

    Wales should beat the Italians whose attention span is usually gone by this stage in the 5 nations 1 rude nation championship . If Philips can get quick ball to Jones , then Wales will romped home . He’s not quite in the mould of a Terry Holmes who at times played like a 3rd wingforward and was able grab to ball from the ruck very quickley and release his backs . The Italians will want to keep the match up front which is they’re only chance of success at all .

    Wales to Win and to win well , 15 / 20 points plus …

  • Dewi

    …Chris Ashton Mark….

  • the future’s bright, the future’s orange

    Ulster V Cardiff
    Outstanding display from a young ulster side. Easily our best performance of the season, against a Cardiff side which I thought played well on the night. Very good chance of getting the 4th play-off spot behind Leinster, munster and ospreys. Cracking night.

    Wales V Italy
    who cares?

    England V France
    What a belter this will be. Scrum time will just be a mouth-watering. Expect Brian Moore to blow an artery as this will be a feisty battle. England should be able to go toe to toe with the French pack.
    Flood is probably the key man for england – he’s looked a player so far this tournament and if he clicks, England will do well.
    As usual, the French could be fabulous or just rubbish. I don’t think they can play as badly as they did against Ireland but I’m not sure they can match England for the full 80. I expect england to sneak this one because of home advantage but if France really turn up, then they can easily win. A massive game for England, who have been pish for years.
    Scotland Ireland
    Hard to get excited about this one. Scotland can’y play as badly as they didn’t against Wales, and who knows what Irish side will turn up. I’d have been inclined to have Mcfadden over d’arcy. Earls has been pants too. At least Ireland shoud do okay at scrum time as scotland are even worse up front…. Ireland to scrape through,

  • Dewi

    “Wales v Italy who cares?” – winners of that game will win the World Cup….

  • Mark

    Dewi ,

    I know , I keep calling him Neil , Your about the 6th person to say that to me …. Chris , Neil , Fred as long as he gets injured before the Ireland game …….

    Again Dewi , I’m sorry and I’ll bet you’d take Chris or Neil Ashton ( who ever he is ) in your team these days ..

    Chris Chris Chris Ashton……………Chris

  • Mark

    Typo – the 6th anorack to say that to me …… only messin Dewi !

  • ItwasSammyMcNally

    Dewi,

    England v France – it will be a first for me to bet on England- but yer on.

    Future’s Bright et al,

    I agree, Cardiff are a good team (although missing a lot of players) and were out played – last week they disposed of a fairly strong Leinster team. Can you see Wallace getting back in at 12 or 13?

    To be a bit critical, Ulster’s tempo does seem a bit below the ‘top’ teams at the moment – but I suspect it will improve. Northampton game will be interesting – obviously they will be underdogs but I think will have decent chance.

    Ireland v England, Northampton v Ulster and Leinster v Leicester three big Anglo-Irish clashes (and Brive v Munster) that will determine the current state of Irish rugby.

  • Mark,

    Ashton is a indeed revelation. A sort of rugby version of Gazza.

    When Brian O’Driscoll came on to the scene, I had the same mixed feeling. The first reaction was, ‘I hope he gets injured to give us a better chance’ but that was because the player was so good. The more dominant feeling was, ‘I cant wait to watch this guy playing’

    Ashton has been compared to Shane Williams. I think that is a very good comparison. They are born try poachers with a natural instinct for where the most likely try-scoring opportunity is going to be.

    If you get the chance, have a look at that last try in the England – Italy match. The move began from a lineout near England’s try line on the right-hand side of the pitch (facing the opposition). The ball was then passed across the field to the left until it reached Matt Banahan (the sub winger) who carried the ball forward. Chris Ashton started his run from the right side of the pitch but he moved diagonally forward to a position where he took the try-scoring pass from Banahan.

    The French will not put a marker on Ashton. That would be a huge mistake. They have to stop England using the ball at source.

    Thanks for that point about Chabal. It fits in with what I believe will be a large part of France’s game plan. Are the French going to give away more penalties today or are Chabal and Co. going to be artful spoilers like Neil Back used to be?

  • Mark

    Seymour ,

    Chris Ashton is the name on everyone’s lips ( except mine ) and it’s great for Rugby in general . The game needs real superstars , guys the kids wanna be … His RL experience really shows and he’s a tough little bugger as well .

    I’m sure the Irony of the french coming to London to shut up ( wishing thinkful) shop and keep the game from your flowing back line , is of much amusement to your good self and indeed your good lady wife’s cooking ….french that it is .. I’m sure the thought of sinking your teeth into some frog’s legs is very appealing …

    Steve Davis used to get terrible stick for being world No1 . It was really because no one could beat him ..as does Floyd Mayweather Junior for the same reasons .

    The Liverpool side of the 70’s were the same as were that great Kerry team of 4 in a row fame . Kilkenny , Man U , Tiger Woods , Michael Schmacher ( although being Geerman didn’t help ) , Roger Federer , Man U , Man U , Phil Taylor , Carl Lewis and of course Man U .

    A sneaky regard beats open admiration any day of the week and let’s hope Mr Ashton puts his money where is mouth is again today ………Swing low Seymour , Swing low , well just for today anyway .. and let’s hope you send those rude , arrogant wannabe playwrights home with their snails between their legs ……… …..Rule Britannia and fuc! Yannick Noah.

  • Wales won, as predicted but not by as many as I expected. Going into a lead with 10 points at half time, I thought they would.

    Their first half scores and Italy’s poor penalty/conversion kicking was a fig leaf over Wales’s awful second half performance.

    Has Dewi got a grin on his face?

    Will be a moot point until he says something.

  • ItwasSammyMcNally

    Italy outplayed Wales in the 2nd half and were unlucky not to win just as they were against Ireland.

    Wales, with an improving and young pack clearly still lack punch up front and look a medicore outfit, like Ireland.

    SM,

    Teams only play as well as they are allowed and Italys forwards are arguably as good as Wales’s (Castro and Parisse are better than anyone Wales have) and with home advantage Wales were forced on to the back foot.

    A good kicker would have seen them home just as against Ireland.

  • England France

    Fascinating first half. This is France at their best and they look strong. England may have got their tactics wrong with the wet ball.

    Fascinating second half in prospect.

  • ItwasSammyMcNally

    England deseved to win – stronger pack – but their back play largely pondeous and fairly poor quality – world beaters they are not – much media over hype.

    Nothing to suggest here that Ireland at home (if they play well) can not beat them.

    England or France to win championship on points difference.

  • Dewi

    blah……Italy Wales was fun to watch but hell disappointed in the French – they ain’t bothered,

  • the future’s bright, the future’s orange

    ponderous my arse. they opened up the french on a few occasions. Flood is the best 10 in the championship by a stretch. Their wee 9 is a cracker too. Tindle is a beast of a man and playing the best rugby of his career. Foden and Ashton are gamewinners.

    England struggled in the first 40 at the breakdown but they sorted it out at half-time and looked pretty comfortable in the second half. Not an amazing performance by any means, but it looks as though england are on course for a good world cup. They should smoke Scotland and could well win in Dublin.

    The wales game was actually quite entertaining. Italy played some enterprising stuff and if they had a kicker they’d have pushed wales to the wire.

  • ItwasSammyMcNally

    Dewi,

    England did put France under a lot of pressure and dissappointed by Trinh-Duc looked to have lost his composure and credit to England for that.
    Orange,

    “they opened up the french on a few occasions”

    Yes, and so? some dreadful passing by England particulalry in the first half – 1 try with a pack dominating that is not a good return. We got 3.

    England didnt play with the pace we put on the ball against France – which I must say I was (pleasantly) suprised about it.

    Agree about Toby – hopefully his injury is not too serious – just enough to miss Ireland and Leinster games.

  • England will be more pleased with this result than the result against 2 weeks ago. The reason is that a good competitive French team turned up and England got the measure of them in the end.

    It was not a game full of pretty tries but what you saw was a fascinating game of chess in midfield. In the second half, England put more men into competing in the rucks and came out on top.

    England are still a developing team. I agree with Sammy that they are not world beaters but this game will help them to move closer to that position. Furthermore, if these two teams meet in the QF of the World Cup, as they are likely to, England will have the psychological advantage.

  • Dewi

    I reckon France 4 world cup winnners…..nos da!

  • the future’s bright, the future’s orange

    When it comes to the RWC, sides with a stong pack, great half backs and defensively well-organised inevitably do well. In the last world cup, England were pretty crap over-all but still had these fundamental basics. The world cup is high pressure rugby, hence sides like NZ and France that play pretty-boy rugby tend to get found out. The fancy off-loads tend not to stick in the big games. This England side appear to have a very nice balance. Hape is probably the weak link. Sort out 12, and they could come close to winning it in NZ.

    sammy
    ‘Yes, and so? some dreadful passing by England particulalry in the first half – 1 try with a pack dominating that is not a good return. We got 3. ‘

    yes and so? the ball was greasy, resulting in a few handling errors from both sides. England created chances and did enough to comfortably win against a french side that played well for 50-60 mins. If you insist on comparing backlines, we can always compare the 2 performances against Italy… I’m not sure Ireland can brag about backplay with the current form of D’arcy, BOD and Earls…

    Could be an interesting game this avo, Scottish pride got a hammering last weekend and Ireland rarely perform as favourites. Could be a close game.

  • The Scots are unlikely to get help from the weather, as they did against South Africa. The forecast is for a pleasant dry springy day.

    I dont think the outlook for Ireland is as poor as some have suggested. They played poorly against Italy and much better against France. I expect them to be even better today.

    The Scots played with heart against France but played terribly against Wales. The common denominator is their awful defence. They will have had two weeks to work on that and try and put things right.

    The Irish will get plenty of opportunities to score tries.

    The match this afternoon is for Ireland to lose, not for Scotland to win, although if the Scots play like they did weeks ago, Ireland could hammer them with a mediocre performance.

  • lamhdearg

    Scotland by 10 points.

  • ItwasSammyMcNally

    the future’s bright, the future’s orange,

    I dont disagree with a lot of what you say – except I simply dont think they are as good as you suggest (not just wishful thinking on my behalf) but their hype is running ahead of the their achivements.

    SM,

    I think you may be underestimating the importance of home advantage to Scotland and the disadvantage of Ireland playing away from home – lets be honest the Italian experience was not a pleasant one.

    But hope I am pleasently suprised – perhaps SOB will rumble.

  • Dewi

    Ireland could stuff these…

  • Greenflag

    Ireland scored too early . Seems to have startled the Scots into resistance 🙁 Still giving away soft penalties . Gotta stop feeling sorry for Scotland .

    All over the place but Best in form 5 metres from the Scots line. .

    Reddan try Heaslip holding -easy for Ireland 14-6

  • the future’s bright, the future’s orange

    Both sides average enough. Scotland with basic communication errors on their own line whilst Ireland giving away pens left, right and centre. Ireland have the easier task at half time = sort the discipline. ROG playing a blinder with regards to kicking field position.

  • Greenflag

    How many Scottish penalties versus how many Irish tries ?

  • Far Far too many penalties by Ireland…we should be 20 points ahead

  • Greenflag

    Theres another penalty for ye lads 🙁 Now don’t be winning the game on us 🙁

    Ireland can lose this even scoring three tries -panic setting in maybe ?

  • FFS do they want to lose this…whats going on with the team morale…OGara played a blinder

  • Greenflag

    21-18 ??

    Scots smell an upset -Ireland smelling their rear ends . And yes Mooch we should be 20 points ahead -th’oul indiscipline 🙁

  • Greenflag

    Looks like it 🙁

  • Greenflag

    Pheeeeeeeeeeeeeew skin of cow manure at the end -Gotta do better against the Welsh .

  • Seriously underwhelming performance from Ireland.
    A win is a win is a win but c’mon lads that was pretty dire.
    OGara deserving of the man of the match

  • Dewi

    Well well well – what a strange game…those scrums!!!!…..abucs takes the lead in the predictions….

  • Why oh Why don’t the referees look at the feeding of the ball at scrums?….Crooked put ins every single time from both sides.

  • the future’s bright, the future’s orange

    scotland probably harshly delt with with regards to the yellow and ireland lucky not to see yellow at the breakdown.
    ROG was excellent and SOB had a couple of fabulous runs. Apart from that, hard to take too many positives.

  • ItwasSammyMcNally

    That was O’Connells best game for a very long time, backrow were great – but O’Callaghan may bite the dust next time out – like to see Trimble in and D’arcy out next time.

    …Jeez, Fitzgerald not finding touch with a simple kick near the end could have cost us the game, but but overall he played well

    …and ff we had lost Kidney would have been strung up for replacing Rog and Reddan.

  • Scotland did improve but the holes were still there in their defence. Ireland will know that they gave away too many penalties when there was no need to. It should not have been a close match.

    In my comment previews I have predicted 9 out of 9 correct results but I have to admit that the Wales/Italy and Scotland/Ireland matches did not go as I thought they would.

    I want to keep my 100% result forecast but I will need a good old think about the Wales – Ireland match.

  • ItwasSammyMcNally

    SM,

    Without wishing to be uncharitiable but havent you picked the favourites in every game?

  • Dewi

    In the competion that matters however SM you hve 2 wrong! (Scotland to beat Wales and Ireland to beat France)

  • Yes Dewi, that is true. It is much harder predicting it over the whole competition, rather than just before the next game. By the way, just for a bit of craic, who is in the lead in that competition?

    Sammy, I would not know who was the favourite. I dont read the odds. For all I know, the bookmakers read my preview comments and adjusted the odds accordingly.

  • Dewi

    abucs leading with 20 points, John and articles on 18…

  • ItwasSammyMcNally

    SM,

    I withdraw my scurillous allegations.