GAGR's Six Nations Observations - Green and Gold Rugby
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GAGR’s Six Nations Observations

GAGR’s Six Nations Observations

Round 1 Catch Up.

France v Wales

France started the first half like a new born team forgetting about all the issues from the November tests. Playing an expansive game in the pouring rain and dominating Wales  giving them no time on the ball and when they did get time then made stupid unforced handling errors.  Coming into the second half you would have expected France to continue on with how they were playing well you would be wrong. It looks like France decided to leave the building to celebrate at half time. Wales took advantage of this and put 24 point on them in the second half with France only able to get 3 points leaving the score 19-24 in the end.

Scotland v Italy

Scotland were the dominant team for nearly this whole game with Finn Russell, Sam Johnson and Blair Kinghorn the stand out players in the game. Italy’s defense looked rather flimsy for most of the game. Scotland did shutdown after the 60-minute mark letting Italy score 3 tries in just under ten minutes to give this game a much more respectful look at 33-20 as the final score.

Ireland v England

England started this game at an electric pace and didn’t really let that drop for the whole match. Their speed in the defensive line was suffocating the Irish attack not really giving them any space or time with ball. It was a close match until just after the 60-minute mark once again then Ireland started making both forced and unforced errors giving England the opportunity to seal the game with 2 tries in the last 20-minutes. Neither team played particularly bad but it was the Englishmen who came to Dublin with an amazing winning performance with the game ending 20-32.

6 Observations

  1. France showed some serious potential in that first of the game and if they can find where they went wrong in the second half they could be a serious problem for any team in the six nations.
  2. Wales looked lost in the first half of this game and didn’t look like the real deal until Dan Biggar came on and really sealed this game off from France to me Biggar is still the number 1 outhalf for Wales.
  3. Finn Russell is truly the gem that is Scottish rugby at the moment at the moment. Shining in the Top 14 with Racing 92 and bringing that same performance to Scotland on the weekend kicking and passing as if he was never under pressure. He isn’t the only reason for this Scottish win but he certainly brought it all together.
  4. Italy don’t get enough credit for how they are playing they are a much improved from the Italy of old but sadly as Italy have been developing at a consistent rate the likes of Scotland and Ireland have come on leaps and bounds.  Saying this Italy do need to do more but they are not a team that is going backwards performance wise.
  5. England have shut down Ireland’s attack with amazing line speed and dominant tackles not letting Ireland time to build their usual phases together. What I did really notice is that Eddie Jones has figured out how to cancel out the Jonny Sexton loop play by using a darting umbrella defence to shut down his outside options. If Scotland learn to do this Ireland could be in trouble.
  6. After the first round this competition really has lived up to its name with all the teams putting pressure on each other with last years grand slam holders all ready denied from winning a back to back. At this stage I don’t think we will see a grand slam winner this year but if we do then to me they will be the favourite from the northern hemisphere for the 2019 world cup.

Injuries

Few major injuries suffered this weekend, so here is a list of who got injured and who are carrying minor injuries:

Maro Itoje (MCL injury) 6-8 weeks out.

CJ Stander (fractured cheek bone and eye socket) 4 weeks out.

Devin Toner (ankle injury) out this week at least.

Gary Ringrose (hamstring) out this week.

Julien Marchand (knee injury) not much news has been released other than it could be serious at this stage.

Keith Earls (hip stinger) minor injury, 50/50 whether he will play this week.

Guilhem Guirado (knee and pride) minor injury, should feature this week.

Yoann Huget (hand and pride) minor injury, will (but shouldn’t) feature this week.

Embed from Getty Images

Round 2 Preview

Scotland v Ireland 10/02/19 12:15am (AEDT) – Scotland will be preparing to jump on a wounded Ireland. To me this game can go two ways; Ireland turn up rattled and lose or Ireland come back like the All Black do after a defeat, and that is win and win well.

Italy v Wales 10/02/19 02:45am(AEDT)- I see this only going one way and that’s a Wales win. Warren Gatland is treating the away legs of the 6 Nations like a World Cup – no returning home to train instead traveling to Nice, France for training before traveling to Rome Friday.

England v France 11/02/19 01:00am (AEDT)– If France turn up to Twickenham and play like they did in the first 40 minutes, then this could be an interesting game. I think England will be too strong for any France team and run through them with ease.

 

  • Nutta

    Many thanks Mark. Can’t say I disagree with any of that.

  • Duncher

    Also, slight typo FWIW last line, England v Wales I think should be England v France

    • RugbyReg

      that’s what it says…..;)

      • Duncher

        But of course… My bad, I didn’t have my glasses on…

  • Packy

    Ire v Eng at 3.10 in the highlights.
    England 12 throws a beautiful long flat pass to a hard running winger.
    Come on Kurtley. You can do that.

    • Kiwi rugby lover

      He’s not a winger mate.

    • Raz Gat

      A sad day for Australian rugby when England have a better back line than ours.

      • RugbyReg

        could it because they have a high quality and experienced backs coach (who is an Aussie)?

    • Ed

      Unfortunately Kurtley’s passing game is pretty poor. His technique is more a shovel, especially left to right.

  • Kiwi rugby lover

    Nice write up Mark. I think England may struggle to maintain that level but by hell they’ve set themselves up well. They’ll miss Itoje a lot too I think.
    I almost feel sorry for Scotland as redemption is in order for Ireland and it could be nasty.

  • While I’m inclined to agree that Biggar is still the #1 pick at 10 for Wales, it’s worth pointing out they scored their first 14 points with Anscombe on the pitch, not Biggar.

    Ireland have been slow starters for the last couple of years for some reason – that torturous really late win against France last year and a draw they were lucky to eke out against Wales the year before. If that’s what last week’s performance against an England side fired up for revenge was, it could be messy for Scotland. If the pressure of expectation is getting to them though… Scotland at Murrayfield are not a pushover. That’s the match that could be the most interesting of the weekend as we prognosticate about NH contenders for Japan.

  • NSWelsham in London

    Having closely watched the France v Wales game, the french in the first half brought a tear to my eye. The rain was as heavy as a Northern Qld storm yet the French in all of their flair didn’t have an issue to throw the ball around like a normal dry night. They weren’t dropping anything and their monstrous forward pack had as silky hands as their backs, it was truly magnificent to watch and on a dry night the score would have been much more in Frances favour come the first whistle. What happened in the change room? That second half effort was miserable however, shameful from a french perspective.

  • Andrew Kiely

    Very good Mark!

  • formerflanker

    Thanks for the analysis and the vision. A great way to catch up on the action.

  • Huw Tindall

    Great analysis and good to have some 6N chat on the site as it’s a great tournament and will be even more of interest in an RWC year.

    The only addition I add on the Ire v Eng game is that I think the breakdown was poorly officiated. So many players lying all over the place, off their feet, and coming in from the side that it really stymied the Irish game which is built around controlling the ball through multiple phases. Still I think England would have won the game regardless but the breakdown can have such an influence on the game I really hope there is more consistency across the year.

    • Fatflanker

      Yes, I noticed Joe Schmidt have a bit of a dig at the officiating. Had a chuckle when he insinuated English blockers were impeding his kick-chasers though – EJ lifted that ploy straight out of the Irish playbook for Folau.

Six Nations
@markin2rugby

Forward specialist backs enthusiast and all round lover of the game.

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