13 February 2012

Six Nations 2012 - Round 2

So, Charlie Hodgson does it again!  Apparently, they practice charge-downs a lot at his club, so maybe his tries have been more than the opportunism I rated them as.  The Italy v England game was far from the usual whitewash we have come to expect.  Italy has grown in stature year upon year, and I thought their showing very good this weekend.  The alternative view is that England were poor and made Italy look good but, no, I want to recognise that England under Stuart Lancaster is a still-developing side and give the Azzuri credit for a good performance.  If they hadn't substituted their kicker they could well have won, the replacement having squandered six points in risable manner.

I reserve final judgement on the new England squad as, so far, they have played only the teams who usually occupy the bottom two positions of the Six Nations table.  Neither win was unexpected but neither performance was particulary impressive.

As for France v Ireland, I can only say that cancelling the game 10 minutes before the start was what you might call a faux pas.  They had had all week to make the decision.  Clearly, the safety of the players must be paramount so the decision was right—just too late.  I feel sorry for the Irish, who are likely to receive much poorer support when the game is eventually played.  Their fans have already made their journey, had their weekend in Paris, and spent all their money. 

I was hoping to have a better understanding of how good the French side is, how many gears they have to go.  I would like to have seen Ireland demonstrate just how good they can be.  It would have been a belter of a game.  Hopefully, it still will be. 

The French seem to have developed a taste for cancellation.  In Wales v Scotland, the French referee disallowed a perfectly good Scottish try!  For the second week running, Wales have given us a spectacle.  In fact, both sides played some excellent rugby.  It was great to see a flowing game.  I love Wales's open style; maybe having a Kiwi for coach contributes to that ...  Scotland's discipline let them down, of course, rather as England's used to when Scotland's coach worked south of the border ...

Were I a gambling man, my money would still be on Wales to win, with the Grand Slam still distinctly possible.  It all depends on the French ...

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