France win the 6 Nations with victory over England
Ireland claim claim. Italy victorious, whilst questions remain for England, Scotland and Wales.
Wales 21 v Italy 22
Ireland 26 v Scotland 5
France 25 v England 13
Forget momentum, rhythm is the way forward.
France fittingly won the six nations title and along with Ireland are pointing the game in a new direction, (scrum excepted).
Ireland set the tone against the All-Blacks last season with flowing support and attack-based style which they have continued this Six Nations.
France has gone a step further with its fluency when attacking close to the tackle contest. Their round the corner close quarter attack generates pace. Soft hands passing at pace will always enable an inside pass to be made to a support runner. Close quarter interplay is often followed by an explosion of quickness; reference Dupont’s try. This style dismantled the All-Blacks last season and is inherent within the French squad.
Many questions will be asked about England’s selections and tactics. The first two rucks England did not contest, why? In the 3rd minute, a try-scoring opportunity was missed. All the support player had to do was run a slight out to in line and take a soft pass off the ball carrier, why didn’t he?
Young’s selection at 9 and Stewards re-siting on the wing, suggested what Smith might do, although on one occasion George found himself the recipient of such a kick: not the most elegant leap! He didn’t get near it.
Underhill is not a 7 and never has been! France had no opponent at the tackle contest and turned the ball over easily on several occasions.
Where does Eddie go now? I suspect some of the players were mystified by his selections and maybe some of his coaches?
Until Marchant ran a “rugby line” in the second half, England’s attack was sterile. Slade attempted to run that hard outside shoulder line, but he lacks quickness and acceleration, but he did head in the right direction.
England’s kick return strategy asking Genge to run 30-meter shuttles repeatedly into a French defender, beggars’ belief. Maybe someone should ask the attack coach for an explanation?
England travels to Australia for a 3-test series in July…. Will Eddie be returning home?
Ireland comfortably beat a Scotland squad who had to deal with discipline issues after last week’s game in Rome. Not the ideal preparation for a game in Dublin.
Scotland’s endeavour was no match for Irelands attacking style and rhythm. Irish players play with confidence. There is consistency in performance throughout the game and the players enjoy the style of play.
It would be easy to say Ireland is about two people, coach Andy Farrell and No 10 Jonathan Sexton. Seemingly the Irish high-performance team is about to map out an 18 month, keep Sexton fit program! Not wise to put all your eggs in one basket, I think. New Zealand used 4 fly-halves in winning the 2011 RWC.
Farrell has the Irish squad buzzing and deserves praise. He has analysed the Joe Schmidt era accurately, re-invented the playing style, and has a 100% buy-in from the players and supporters. Total togetherness!