5 Quick Conclusions From The First Round Of Six Nations Games
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What a weekend of Six Nations rugby.
We said this year’s Six Nations was going to be one of the most exciting and open yet, and we weren’t wrong. Scotland made their mark in the very first game, scalping Joe Schmidt’s Ireland in the shock of the weekend.
France put England to the sword, but ultimately couldn’t close the game out when it mattered, while it seems it’s same old, same old for both Italy and Wales.
Here are 5 quick conclusions from the first round of action.
1. Ireland need Johnny Sexton more than they realise.
Paddy Jackson played well, but you can’t help thinking had Sexton been on the pitch on Saturday, Ireland would have closed the game out once they had taken the lead. The lineout was also poor which makes you think Ireland need to have either Donnacha Ryan or Peter O’Mahony in there to sure things up. After today’s performance, we’ve seen Italy once again shouldn’t cause too many problems, but come France on the 25th, Ireland need those men back.
2. England’s injury problems have hit them harder than they thought it would.
England’s injury problems have had a much bigger effect on them than most people initially thought. Jones was without Robshaw, Billy & Mako Vunipola, George Kruis and Anthony Watson for the France game and it showed. Saturday’s game proved they are far from unbeatable and leaves the Six Nations wide open.
3. Scotland are no joke
Ireland made a lot of mistakes and weren’t clinical when needed, but at the end of the day- Scotland played some excellent rugby. They have one of the best back three’s in the tournament and an excellent half-back partnership in Laidlaw and Russell. They proved on Saturday that they have some serious credentials. Can they go all the way? Stranger things have happened in rugby.
4. Same old Italy
To be honest we really expected more from Italy today. They started well, but like every Italian side over the years, they made a lot of simple errors and their decision making at times was laughable. Parisse was once again the one-man show, but the captain can only do so much. Can they improve? We just don’t see it happening.
5. Wales are still a mess.
Really poor display from Wales today, they seem to be still in Warrenball mode, while trying to implement some Howley flair and it’s just a mess. If they play like they played today against the bigger teams, they will suffer. While they may have been better in the second-half, even a poor England performance next weekend will be enough to beat them if they don’t improve.