22 April 2012

Six Nations 2012

Well, I never did finish off my intended series of posts on this year's Six Nations tournament.  I got rather distracted by I can't remember what and never found the time to write anything.  Anyway, I can't just move on without finding some sort of closure...

As it happens, things turned out pretty much as I expected.  I'm made up for Wales, by far the best team of the tournament and well deserving the Grand Slam.  At the other end of the table, Scotland managed to acquire the wooden spurtle without actually playing bad rugby.  Italy continue their gradual improvement, their main shortcoming being an inability to play for a full 80 minutes; perhaps someone should tell them that the game is not only an hour long.  Ireland, O Ireland: I had great hopes for you but you never quite clicked.  France were beaten by England and I need say no more about them.

And that brings me to England.  I am so pleased to see that we seem at last to be emerging from our Dark Ages.  We started to look like a team, and beating France (did I already mention that?) was the icing on the cake.

I want to say two things about Stuart Lancaster.  First, I applaud his bravery in handling the team the way he did as a stop-gap senior coach.  His efforts to restructure the team paid off beautifully.  Second, I am thrilled that he got appointed to the job officially.  I look forward to seeing the team go on from strength to strength under his leadership.

As a final note, I think England needs a new anthem for sporting events.  Much as I respect Her Majesty (and I do), we could do with something rousing about England, something that inspires teams and supporters to be their best (and I guess we could do with a GB sports anthem for events such as the Olympics, when England does not put in an appearance).  Our anthem is not quite the worst.  Flower of Scotland is dreary, and the Italian anthem doesn't know whether to be military or operatic.  Land of My Fathers is a good one.  Ireland has two anthems, both of which I like.  I'm desperately sorry to say this but The Marseillaise is the best one of the lot.  Shame it doesn't work for them...