Six Nations – wide open.

This weekend sees the start of the most unpredictable Six Nations for a while. (There’s still time to make your predictions here).
Are those Polish freezers still working for Wales? (BBC)
Keith Earls has some pretty big boots to fill….(Belfast Telegraph)
If you were Mr Lancaster would you like to start things anew at a freezing hostile Murrayfield…..?

From the Record Andy Robinson is pressing the right buttons. Of England’s World Cup:

What surprises me about England is they fell into a downward spiral while winning. It wasn’t results that undermined them but the other stuff. They self-destructed.

Italy? – previews here. Targeting the Scots probably…

France, as always, find new stars…meet Wesley Fofana (You Tube)….hmmm!

It’s a defining first weekend – from the Herald:

France meet Italy seeking revenge for the biggest shock in tournament history; Scotland take on England in the oldest international fixture in the world; and Ireland welcome Wales for a rematch of the best match at last year’s World Cup.
Just a routine start to the RBS 6 Nations Championship, then.

This could be fun.

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  • Johnny Boy

    If Wales win on Sunday, I fancy them to do a Slam.

    If Ireland win I think They’ll just miss out on the Championship to France.

    The loser on Sunday will end up fighting for 3rd place with the winners of Scotland v England.

  • Republic of Connaught

    Typical Irish bottlers right at the end. I can watch the provinces play because they have a winning mentality but the international team is mentally so weak I can’t stand them.

  • john

    Davies should have been off. Ferris tackle was ok to say they both warranted the same penalty is a joke, but I guess the ref didnt want to be bothered listening to the welsh crying for the next 6 months about it – disgracefull!
    I hope they lose to everyone else including England and France. Fair play you beat us in the world cup fair and square but this robbery has more than a few similarities with the same fixture last year. As for Ireland typical the match should have been buried at 60 mins. As for Kidney what a muppet – everyone knew the Welsh centres would walk over us whether it was Earls or McFadden with Darcy it didnt make any dfference there all too light!!!

  • john

    I see Gatland has admitted it should have been red, very big of him maybe the guy should be cited but hardly a consolation.

  • lover not a fighter

    Ireland were lucky to be still in it at half time and as John above said Darcy and McFadden were no match for the Welsh centres and George North.

    Over the entire game the Welsh were deserved winners.

    It was a definite sending off for Bradley Davis and probably a penalty against Ferris. Ferris knew he was treading a thin line as soon as he made the tackle but in his defence there was no intent to do damage and it must be nigh on impossible to judge momentum and centre of gravity (of one or both players) in this situation. I imagine that in some instances its a situation that gets out of control of the tackler. C’est la vie !

  • Dewi

    Super game though – enjoyed every minute – especially the last one!

  • Dewi

    John – relax – it’s only a game!

  • Mark

    Glasshouses Dewi …..

  • Mark

    Great game not such a great ending . Thought we were going to nick it at the death . Davies shoulda got a red card , doubt it would of made any difference . The Welsh backline was the difference , men against boys , I miss Gavin Henson …

  • Dewi

    what on earth was Bradley doing? Daft – Gatland will drop him for sure – your outside centre – Macfadden? – looks very good.

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

    Really enjoyed the game. End to end stuff in the end and high drama. Ireland had the edge up front but didn’t use it to effect. Welsh backline vastly superior in every way. No creativity from Ireland at 12 and 13 was the killer I thought.

    Not the end of the world though, Ireland have a cracking pack, very good half backs and the back 3 looked good. I’d say we could win 3 of the final 4 games.

    As for wales, their backline oozes class. Shame your’re missing a few key players in the tight 5. Could go all the way.

  • john

    Dewi I will relax when Ireland finally perform consistently in a 6 nations. We always have a match that we throw away. Even last year we should have had a slam but managed to throw it away against France and Wales They do their best to lose all the time. Even the grand slam they finally won they did their bloody best to throw it away too. Kidney has his good points but he was tactically naive today, everybody knew where Wales would threaten and we did nothing to stop it. Hoping for a new coach who hasnt any ties to the provinces so we can get away from all the interprovincial rivalry and actually fulfill are potential

  • Mark

    O Driscoll is a huge loss for Ireland . Today we had one maybe two match winners – Bowe / Sexton and maybe Kearney but he’s not consistent enough . When O Driscoll plays , there’s always a chance of a try out of nothing .

    My memory of the match is of three Irish players bouncing off George North … shades of Jonah Lomu .

  • lover not a fighter

    Why does’nt Tremble get a chance in the centre. Though probably not a real centre Tommy Bowe would at least add some bulk and muscle. You can’t send midgets out against Giants and then give the Giants the ball and expect a good outcome !

  • Neil

    Tense game, thtought Trimble did fine. But the Welsh *spits* were better than us. We should have had the edge but bottled it. Same goes for Scotland, they should have been able to capitalise on their experience. All in a poor weekend results wise but hey, that’s rugby. Still all to play for.

  • Johnny Boy

    I’m surprised at Irelands lack of confidence, Wales were rocking when they went down to 14, but we chose a speculative 3-point attempt rather than getting into the corner and tightening the screw. Got what we deserved in the end.

  • Greenflag

    Overall Wales deserved their win .They should have had more points on the board at the end of the first half and they were missing a couple of their best players. . Going for a 9 point lead with 6 minutes left with a long range penalty kick was a mistake by Ireland .They should have kicked into the Welsh 25 and then closed the game down . Hindsight etc 🙁

    Wales was a younger team (by 3 years on average )and that made a difference at the end I think .Ireland have got to look again at that first half and ‘fix’ the problem before the French game.

    Still we’ll bate the Scots and the Italians and maybe the English at Twickenham on March 17th.Wales are lookin good for the Championship and Triple Crown this year as long as they maintain their ‘discipline’ .Could have cost them this game .

  • Dewi

    An astonishing statistic is that Rhys Priestland has hit the post 4 times in the last two games against Ireland. We really should have had more than 5 points at half time. France away next weekend a real tough trip for Ireland – 0/2 would not be a great place to be.
    Did anyone see what made Bradley lose his rag?

  • Johnny Boy

    Paris is always tough, but could be interesting. Didn’t think much could be learned from France v Italy; France were clinical, but didn’t have much continuity, can they give up that much territory and possesion to Ireland or Wales and not get severely punished?

    Wales for Grand Slam this year.

  • lover not a fighter

    Dewi (as you may well know ! ! !)

    It was a pretty cheap shot from Donnacha Ryan at the ruck. Still did’nt deserve that response from Davis.

    That incident further suggests that Ryan is just not big enough to play as lock at international level. Davis would/could not have done that to O’Connell or O’Callaghan.

  • Jimmy Sands

    Now that the disciplinary committee has decided that we really won, will that count for prediction contest?

  • Dewi

    Ireland never really lose to Wales Jimmy. You either don’t like the ball we use or our caber tossing technique….

  • JR

    For anyone who missed this!

  • john

    Good to see that Ferris was not only cleared to play against France but told by the disciplinary committee that it wasnt even a penalty!!! Nice one Wayne Barnes looking forward to you and Pearson wrecking us again at the weekend. This ruling also shows us that the refs dont actualy know what they are doing when Ferris was cited in the first place by an official obviously reviewing the tackle again and again on video and still couldnt get it right. Time the IRB did something. Wales, France and England to be comfortable winners this weekend

  • Alan N/Ards

    Does anybody have any idea how Darcy is getting his place on the team? He hasn’t had a good game for a number of years. Is he married to KIdney’s daughter?

  • Dewi

    John – i was disappointed with the Ferris decision because we should have finished the game with a try.

  • john

    Dewi dont do it your starting to sound like some of the other welsh fans trolling the blogs. Ive spent most of the week trying to explain to them that Ryan was counterrucking and that Jones was in the wrong place but they still think it was foul play and warranrted the following spear tackle. I guess most of them play wendyball and have never been near a rugby match. Anyway I think Wales have a great chance this year their biggest worry will be if they become too cocky and believe all the hype thats where they may fall – certainly not this weekend but maybe against the English