Six Nations – yet another boring Welsh Grand Slam?

Ok  – I have people staying over for the weekend so forgive me for a post on Thursday.

Sam’s back for Wales.. (from the Independent)

Whatever. – that’s from Le Monde with the Google Translate here.

I don’t think Rougerie is a centre.

How many points are Ireland going to beat these idiots by?

Foden want’s something special. – Please give him something special.

In the prediction contest Reader leads by 3 – however he’s gone for a French win at Cardiff and has Chris Ashton has top try scorer…it’s not over yet.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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  • Reader

    Dewi: In the prediction contest Reader leads by 3 – however he’s gone for a French win at Cardiff and has Chris Ashton has top try scorer…it’s not over yet.
    So, since I have predicted 3 away wins for the final week, I can be beaten if there are 3 home wins, by anyone who is only 3 points behind me and predicted 3 home wins. I agree I messed up the tie break question!

  • Zig70

    I’d like to see the Welsh winning almost more than Ireland beating the English. I think it will happen, both results. The Welsh do love rugby, grown men will cry if they win.

  • Greenflag

    Wales 23 France 14
    IEngland 17 Ireland 25
    Scotland 14 Italy 19

    And lets wish the Irish hockey team a win against Malaysia so they can qualify for the London Olympics

    And enjoy St Patrick’s Day wherever you are be ye pagan , christian or jew or anything else .

  • I missed out, through other distractions, from writing down match predictions and entering Dewi’s competition. It is too late for a preview on the Italy – Scotland match.

    You have to spare a thought for Andy Robinson. There is no doubt that he has made Scotland a much stronger outfit. Unfortunately, he has not been getting the results. The main part of his problem is Scotland’s failure to break defences but Scotland is not without some capability. We actually had a taste of what Scotland were capable of during the second half of their match against Wales.

    Italy is also improving but at a slightly faster rate than the Scots. It used to be easy to find weaknesses against Italy all over the pitch. Not so any more. They gave a good account of themselves against the other nations and now look solid in defence. Perhaps they should even have won one more game this season. As I expected, they gave Scotland a hard time and fully deserved their win.

    Home advantage crucial?

    Today, we have the same teams playing against each other as in the final weekend of the Six Nations in 2011. On that weekend, Ireland beat England, France beat Wales and Scotland beat Italy. Just for the record, I predicted those results here on Slugger but what I did not expect was the manner in which Ireland beat England.

    Of course, last years winners were at home. For any side to repeat last year’s performance, they would be doing it away from home. Historically, home advantage has always been significant and I don’t think it will be any less significant today.

    Wales v France

    There can be no doubt as to the favourites. Wales has been the best side all season. France, on the other hand, has looked very mediocre since they played New Zealand in the World Cup final. So are Wales really going to win at a canter? Is Dewi correct in his view that it will be a boring grand slam for Wales?

    Boring? Oh come on now Dewi, there is more chance that you will become a Unionist by half time. Don’t forget that the matches against Ireland and England were close. France is sore and wounded. They are also underdogs but they won’t come to Cardiff to lie down. They will scare Wales and they may even score a couple of tries. Expect some hard hitting and many Welsh nails bitten off as the final score beckons.

    In the end, though, I believe glory beckons for the Dragons as they finish off the match (after it is close for most of it) in style in the last few minutes.

    Prediction: Wales to win by 13 points

    England v Ireland

    Last year, England went into Dublin as favourites expected to lift the Grand Slam. Some cocky idiots from the RFU even commissioned grand slam tea shirts. I did not buy any of that. Last year England did make progress from what went on before. Flood, Youngs, Foden and Ashton were beginning to look like a menacing back line. However, there was one area of the back line that remained weak – the centre. When Mike Tindall was injured before the Dublin match, I had a chilling sense that the centres would prove to be England’s Achilles heal. Add to that the lack of leadership experience, plus an Ireland team who saved their best form for England and you had the recipe for an English disaster.

    Will Ireland be able to repeat the 2011 performance? They are certainly capable of beating England. They have strength in depth and considerably more experience than the English players. England are not as good as they were last year at half-back. Youngs and Flood were either out of form or injured during the early part of this year. Their replacements, Lee Dickson and Owen Farrell are showing great promise but need more time to become international class half backs. However, there is compensation for England in that Tom Croft is back to his best and England has, in Manu Tuilagi, a centre with as much winning capability as Brian O’Driscoll. His partner, Brad Barritt (also new) is working well with him and showing remarkable performances in defence. Ireland is without the great BOD and I feel that the change in balance in the centre of the field will ensure that this match will be close.

    Prediction: A very close match – England to sneak it.

  • john

    Well done Wales. Ref seemed more than a little generous again but you take your luck and Wales did. As for France they were a shambles, they did a Scotland and panicked every time in front of the try line how we couldnt beat them with an 11 pt lead at half time is baffling and why did they kick at goal when they had a penalty 5m out with 5 mins on the clock really odd decision talk about just handing the match to Wales.

  • john

    I know the weather is bad but that was just an awful half of rugby. Good to see Darcy respond to all his criticism with his worst performance yet!!! If this guy isnt binned from future internationals then its official he really is Deccies love child.

  • lamhdearg2

    congrats wales,

  • lamhdearg2

    croft slippy fingers

  • lamhdearg2

    second half, was like men v boys, surely its time to look at an Ulster/N,Ireland national team, i mean if you are gonna get disgraced you may as well do it playing for your own country.

  • Mark

    And if you could replicate the behaviour of the N.Ireland footie fans , your proposed new team could really disgrace themselves .

    Great to have you back …

  • Reader

    lamhdearg: second half, was like men v boys, surely its time to look at an Ulster/N,Ireland national team…
    Trolling? Ireland could well be back in full force next year. The imbalance in handling errors was because Ireland tried more passing, where England just ran and capitalised on their forwards instead.
    The scoreline could perfectly well be reversed (again) next year.

  • Well done Wales, although I am concerned from an Animal welfare point of view. If they found that boring, God help the sheep!

    You could argue that the England v Ireland match was boring, once it became clear how dominant the English scrum had become. The slippery ball exaggerated that dominance by causing more knock-ons. This was a bit of a one-off where the Irish front 5, weakened by Injury, faced an England front 5, very much on the up. Ireland will sort out the scrum problem sooner, rather than later. This was a one off which you wont see when England play in Dublin next year.

    The English will be glad to got a rare win against Ireland. They will also be more pleased with this year’s performance than they were last year when they won the championship.

    I suppose this means that Lancaster is on pole position for the permanent position of England head coach. At one stage, I thought Nick Mallet would walk into the job but Lancaster could not have done any more to deserve it.

  • Mark

    George Hook is on RTE suggesting the only way to combat our crap scrum is to slice an eyebrow of one of the props in order to play for uncontested scrums …. appartently this is an old school trick . I imagine there are one or two IRFU offficals looking at their own wrists at the moment .

    Wales deserved the slam although I’d like to see their entire panel urine tested for PEDS . They look like WWE wrestlers .

    At least we have the EUROS to look forward to . Come on you boys in green , come on you ………..

  • lamhdearg2

    3 home wins, Was Reader caught?

  • john

    To be honest that was the worst Irish performance in the professional era. I feel sorry for Tom Court because he will get the blame and thats unfair we all knew his abilities were limited and that our front row isnt great We have known this for years so why hasnt the IRFU tried to train someone up or even better a quick fix – naturalize a spring bok or kiwi prop (er just like Aussie Court actually but better). The good thing about getting thumped is more pressure is placed on clown kidney. We could with a little luck have been playing for a grand slam today and everyone would have thought everything was just super when in reality its not and this just proves it. Kidney must go, there are so many reasons but I wont bore you with them all but Darcy is a major issue as he keeps getting picked even though he has been useless for 3 seasons and why did he decide to have O’Leary in the squad – he must be the 6th best scrum at the moment and shouldnt be anywhere near the national team as todays performance proved!! Bye bye Kidney. Wales have 3 slams in 7 years with inferior and less experienced players but obviously dont have the ‘mental’ issues are teams always carry! Bring back Gatland all is forgiven lol

  • As I said on a previous occasion, th

  • Dewi

    Reader hung on by a point – I’ll get the full scores out tomorrow. Congratulations!

  • lamhdearg2

    congratulations to wales,

  • Hooray for a fine Welsh squad. And, despite Dewi blaming referees, I reckon the guy (me!) in the stand (or on the TV) had a better deal this season than for a long while. That’s accepting/excepting Paris, and suggesting that Italy-England ought equally to have been cancelled.

    Now let us think ahead.

    My prognosis remains that 2013 England is the team to beat. The subtext is that Lancaster must get the job.

    Ireland: hmm … What to do?

    Is it simply that the Greats (and that is how the records will show) went on just a few months too long?

  • RyanAdams

    Congratulations to Wales – Probably the most deserving in what was a mediocre 6 nations, although with some beautiful tries for Ireland, most of whom came from Ulster men (Feels great to apply that title to Tommy Bowe again even if its a while before he dawns the white shirt again!)

    Roll on the Heineken cup & Rabo Direct play offs!

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

    I see the part-time rugby fans on Slugger have gone into hiding after a hammering by England on St Paddy’s day lol… The shame,…

    Ireland didn’t turn up for a number of reasons:
    – 4th game on the bounce – looked knackered. You need to really target those massive away games. Players needed rested against Scotland to target the england game
    – key injuries: missed POC and BOD’s leadership and ability. Murray was sorely missed at 9.
    – losing the most important player on the field – tighthead never helps. Court is an excellent loosy but not a specialised tighthead. 6N should really change the rules to allow 2 props on the bench.
    – D’arcy appalling and generally has been for a year. McFadden should have been given a game or 2 this 6N. 12 and 3 are probably our weakest positions and no-one is being brought through.

    well done wales – cracking tournament. Maybe not as fluid and exciting as what we expected but importantly they played WINNING rugby. Savage defense, strong runners, and played the percentages. In addition, there seems a reasonable level of depth to the squad. Should have a big contingent in the British Lions squad.

  • lover not a fighter

    Reply to ; the future’s bright, the future’s orange

    You are absolutely correct that there should be two props allowed on the subs bench and for a number of reasons e.g. to stop players playing on and getting even more injured.

    Tighthead is such a specialied position that there has to be a specific substitute for this position.

    Otherwise with regard to Ireland.: Who are the replacements for Darcy and O’Driscoll. I don’t think that Earls is a centre. I hope that the suggestion(rumour)that Tommy Bowe is going to play centre for Ulster is given a try. I even think that Trimble would be a better centre than Earls and can remember him playing their in his younger days. I think that Earls best position at international level is on the wing and that he could be used when necessary for short periods to step in at centre or even full back.

    Congratulations to Wales and if you look back how could Ireland have been favourites in that first match especially as Wales had given Ireland a good beating at the World cup.

    Wales have raised the bar by a good jump the question is can Ireland rise to the challenge.

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

    I’m no fan of Earls but to his credit he had a very decent 6N. Not outstanding but much better than I expected. Defensively, he has improved hugely. I can’t see Tommy playing 13 for Ulster, Cave has been playing pretty well in that position.

  • Dewi

    Terrible from Ireland – you should be ashamed of yourselves….what on God’s earth happened to the scrum?

  • john

    Dewi that performance has been on the cards for quite a while. We just have zero cover for the props so if Healy or Ross are injured we are screwed. If Healy had to go off Court could have done a better job but as tighthead no chance! IRFU should be ashamed of themselves for not recognising this problem years ago. I have already stated that a few years ago when the Bull Hayes was already past it we should have been training up a couple of young players or searching the planet for a kiwi or spring bok who could play at a province for a few seasons and then be capped. Its a bit late now. I really hope Kidney does the decent thing and quits before we go to New Zealand to get slaughtered

  • Dewi

    Reader is the winner – well done..

  • Dewi

    hmm Lions XV
    15 – Halfpenny
    14 -Bowe
    13 – J Davies
    12 – Roberts
    11 – North
    10 – Sexton
    9 – Dunno
    Back row – all welsh
    Second row – that scottish idiot plus the ugliest Irish person you can find.
    Front row – all Welsh
    What do you think?

  • I would be very interested to know if there was a discussion in the Irish dressing room about feigning injury to Court so that it would result in a ‘no-contest’ scrum. I remember at least two occasions when this has happened in the 5 or 6 nations.

    Of course, it would have been cheating but didn’t Warren Gatland think about doing something similar after the sending off of Sam Warburton in the World Cup against France?

  • Mick Fealty

    Dewi,

    It is not an excuse, as tfbtfo points out our guys were knackered. POC was missed for the first and most obvious time. But I’ve not seen our forwards killed like that in many many years. If ever. Miracle is England did not score more. England have much to be pleased with. We have to plug some major gaps.

    There’s been a stupid comparison with the success of the provincial teams. But they can buy to pull in the talent. Ireland can’t.

  • Jimmy Sands

    They can buy but the problem is they have bought in particular areas, notably front row, with predictable results. The new overseas player rules are designed to eliminate the problem. We’ll see.

  • john

    Dewi I think Kearney will be the full back and Croft or Ferris will be in the back row and after Saturdays performance the English props might have a look in.

  • Reader

    Dewi: Reader is the winner – well done..
    Thanks Dewi, I enjoyed playing. But I suppose you realise that I hardly know anything about rugby and I just gamed the points system? Three points for predicting an away win is too much, and I always went for that unless it was a total mismatch.
    If you went to 2 points for an away win, I would have sunk to the middle of the pack, behind the knowledgeable players, and ahead of those who always bet with their hearts, not with their heads.

  • Dewi

    .”…and ahead of those who always bet with their hearts, not with their heads.”
    Yeah – next year there’s a ten point bonus for predicting the Grand Slam side….

  • Reader

    Dewi: Yeah – next year there’s a ten point bonus for predicting the Grand Slam side….
    Your system works for Wales supporters, this decade – and I would guess you got several more predictions correct than I did, for whatever reason.
    How many points for predicting the Calcutta Cup?

  • Johnny Boy

    Well done Wales, although I found myself unusually cheering for the French as I still haven’t gotten over last years “try that shouldn’t have been”.

    Regarding Ireland, it was a real dig in the guts of a loss, but it’s easy to become too disheartened. In the first half Ireland looked the better side in all areas outside of the scrum, but once the scrum went totally pear-shaped, Irelands heads fell and England were bhoyed. It was the worst possible conditions to have a shaky scrum, greasy ball, and a knock-on by any side = pen to England. It could have easily been 50.

    The tourny overall was OK for Ireland considering we are without one of the best players of his generation. I was honestly surprised we were as competitive as we were with Wales and France. There are no doubt issues, the scrum problems have been laid bare, the centre partnership was ordinary, and we seemed to lack confidence when in a winning position against Wales, and France. We are in transitional period, but at least it looks like we are not going to fall off a cliff.

  • “In the first half Ireland looked the better side in all areas outside of the scrum”

    True, but if you discount the high ball kicking, which, like the scrum, had its impact exaggerated by a slippery ball, the sides were at parity. Unlike last year, the English matched the Irish in intensity and defence.

    Wales and England both have youth on their side and will improve. I expect Wales to be the pace-setters next season with England following closely behind. I dont see Ireland becoming 6n top dogs again for quite some time.