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6 Nations 2012

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  • 6 Nations 2012

    Right, if you cucumber sangritch-nibblers can have a cricket thread then us kebab-eaters can have one.

    Should be a damn interesting tournament this year with no clear favourite for the title.

    France - came within a whisker of winning the world cup, but without playing very good rugby. The new coach should shake things up, but in what direction? Probably the favourites and, as always, it's a case of what mood they're in on the day.

    Ireland - they currently boast the two top European teams in club rugby and their players are enjoying superb form in all competitions this season. But they were comprehensively beaten in the quarter finals and their international side have been below par for a while now.

    Wales - played arguably the best rugby of any of the teams during the world cup, but their clubs have been disappointing and they are missing some key players to retirement and injury. They will have prepared well as always and should be the fittest side in the competition, but they are mostly a team of youngsters and lack experience.

    England - they certainly have plenty of good players available and have finally shrugged off the lead weight of their old coaching team. They underperformed badly in the world cup on the field and off and now have a new coach who is confident he can turn things around. Is it a competition too early to see their best or will the breath of fresh air and new players catch everyone else cold?

    Scotland - they've been bubbling under for years and somehow manage to lose games whilst playing better than the opposition. They have a couple of exciting backs to go with their rampaging pack but lack class at halfback. On their day they'll turn anyone over, but they need to break the habit of settling for one or two wins per tournament.

    Italy - new coach and two teams who have been playing well in the Celtic league as well as the Heineken Cup. They've had decent players, and Parisse their skipper and no8 is among the very best in the world, but somehow just always seem to lack that extra couple of percent needed to string together a few good games on the trot. If they learn to craft their own style and impose their pattern on the game instead of just relying on pressurising the opposition and living off turnover ball, they could do very well.

    I'd like to think Wales will win, but in truth I suspect it'll be Ireland and France battling for the title with Wales and England scrambling for third and Scotland and Italy desperately trying not to get the Wooden Spoon.
    "You're a big man, but you're in bad shape. With me, it's a full time job."
    Lt. Bromhead to Prince Dabulamanzi before the Battle of Rorke's Drift.

  • #2
    Ireland or England for me but probably the Irish
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    • #3
      Wales or Ireland for me but who knows what the French will do . Too soon for England, Murrayfield is a killer to go to first up even with an experienced squad so can't see us doing anything great there which will put us on the back foot for the rest of the tournament. Following the World Cup I think my favourites would be Wales, they put in some very good performances as the comp went on and have an excellent backroom team.

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      • #4
        No sure about England's choice of Captain. I think experience counts alot in these types of games and having a captain that just earnt 1 cap wouldnt be my choice
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        • #5
          Originally posted by Darklord View Post
          No sure about England's choice of Captain. I think experience counts alot in these types of games and having a captain that just earnt 1 cap wouldnt be my choice
          Well if Lancaster is looking towards the next world cup he's going to have to take the short term pain for the long term gain, and more's the point, the England fans are going to have to accept this and cut the players plenty of slack over the next season or two. Besides, without the burden of expectation, and with a new coach watching over them, the England kids may just play like demons and come away with the cup (it happened for Wales in both 2005 and 2008).

          But Ulf is right, Murrayfield is the death of good teams if the Scottish team and the elements combine to mug them. If England can grind out any sort of win there they'll have taken an important first step. They just need to push themselves and match the Scots aggression without losing their heads.
          "You're a big man, but you're in bad shape. With me, it's a full time job."
          Lt. Bromhead to Prince Dabulamanzi before the Battle of Rorke's Drift.

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          • #6
            So, this weekend's results go thusly -

            Scotland 6 - 13 England

            Not a great deal of quality on show from either team, it was a typical Murrayfield scrap and only a charged down Dan Parks kick separated the teams. Scotland dominated the stats in every respect, including errors unfortunately for them. England's new look team won't care how the win came, the important thing for them was to get that victory in a very tough debut game at one of England's bogey grounds.

            France 30 - 12 Italy

            France eased to a simple victory after Italy showed a great deal of effort in the first half, but without any cutting edge or finishing quality. In the second half they fell away with some truly awful tackling and France aren't one of the world's finest finishing teams on reputation alone.

            Ireland 21 - 23 Wales

            A classic nail-biter of a game this, that came down to a single kick from Leigh Halfpenny with 30 seconds on the clock. Wales played all the attacking rugby in the first half, pounding away at the Irish line again and again, but a lack of accuracy, poor goal kicking, dodgy lineouts and momentary lapses in concentration combined to put Ireland ahead 10-5 at the break. One of the commentators used the phrase 'accuracy under pressure', which pretty much summed up how Ireland went about scoring their points during the match. They may not have crafted much, but their solid defence and ruthless finishing paid dividends when their few chances arrived.

            It was billed as a contest between Ireland's forwards vs Wales' backs, which is perhaps an over-simplification, but not a bad synopsis of the game. Importantly however, Wales always looked able to make breaks and dominate the breakdown and (sadly aided by some beneficial refereeing decisions) their persistence and physicality in attack and defence paid off in the end. I will argue with no Irishman who thinks his team was robbed today, but it was a great game and both sides can be confident of facing anyone else in the tournament after today's battle.
            Last edited by Cubster; 05-02-2012, 05:35 pm.
            "You're a big man, but you're in bad shape. With me, it's a full time job."
            Lt. Bromhead to Prince Dabulamanzi before the Battle of Rorke's Drift.

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            • #7
              Can't disagree with any of that Cubster. The Ireland v Wales game was by far the best of the three, despite the off the ball incident and some weak descision making from the officials, a proper hard fought test match and enjoyable to watch.

              Thought Wales looked good and will build in confidence now, 3 home games and a match at Twickenham (see below) should see them very well placed at the end. Ireland should take heart from a good performance in the second half and France eased to a good win, but only to be expected really against an Italian side who tried well early in the game but who tired quickly as the second half wore on. It appears that Scotland still can't score a try despite some excellent breaks and support running, just lacking the vital finishing pass.

              England got a win, which is the positive from their game, but worryingly they seldom put an attacking move together and Strettle Foden & Ashton spent most of the time behind the half way line, thought their defence was very narrow and the pack was decidedly average. If these problems are not addressed it could lead to some embarrassing scores against skillful back lines like France and Ireland or units that have skill and power such as Wales.

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              Contributions can be made directly in the Wiki or by contacting the admin team here.

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              "The concept of 'why' is way more important to understand than the question of 'how' (which is only ever a variation of 'get paint - paint paint')." - Orki, November 2010.

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              • #8
                Yeah England I worry for, we only won due to a fortuitous charge down and Scotlands numeroud knock ons when they were attacking. My fear that we would lack any experience was evident. there seemed to be a lack of fluidity which is expected but also the organisation wasnt great, this was partly Why I wasnt happy with having such an inexperienced captain. I am all for blooding young players but you also need experience in there too.

                It was a good win for Wales, it's not easy going to Ireland (and that lovely new stadium) and winning. I think Wales anf France will be the two teams to beat this year. I can see England beating Italy but not so sure about winning the other 3
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                • #9
                  Still think that Germany will nick it. They're always good in tournaments...
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                  • #10
                    Thus goes the second weekend of the tournament -

                    Italy 15 - 19 England

                    Before the game I got my glasses, put a transparent green film over one lens and a red film over the other. Sadly I could still only see one dimension between the two sides today.

                    England were meandering through the first half, kicking their goals and offering nothing except solid defence, whilst Italy showed quite stupendous incompetence whenever they got the ball, kicking it aimlessly away towards the England back three.

                    Against all logic it eventually paid dividends when two handling errors from Foden gifted Italy two try scoring opportunities, which they duly took. They went in ahead 12-6 at halftime.

                    Then an Italian lineout steal backfired when Hodgson again charged down the clearance kick to score another crucial try for his side in a tight armwrestle. It definitely changed the whole momentum of the game and despite still leading by two points, Italy fell apart even further.

                    Farrell kicked England's penalties and Botes wasted Italy's with some comically terrible goal kicking. Another low-quality match, but another vital away win for England with Farrell's faultless kicking and Hodgson's opportunism the difference between the sides. You can only play what's in front of you and this is a new team trying to gel in its first tournament so they can forget the sparkles for now. It was vital that they got two wins against the two weakest sides in the competition, anything less would have been a big blow. So far so good.


                    France v Ireland

                    That the match was called off is no surprise. TV scheduling is to blame for moving it from early afternoon to 9pm local time in the middle of winter. Big surprise, it's a frozen pitch.

                    What is a surprise is that the ref judged the pitch fit to play on ... then the covers were removed 90mins before kick-off and the turf allowed to freeze as fans and players arrived at the stadium. Big mistake by someone or someones heaped upon stupid scheduling that was always asking for trouble. Dave Pearson the ref made the correct call, but no doubt he'll get flak for leaving the decision so late.

                    The match has been rescheduled, but I don't know when. I did hear Monday, which seems odd, so that could be a myth.


                    Wales 27-13 Scotland

                    Well, we got there, but it was a step back from last week as regards performance. Scotland savaged Wales in the first half, but tenacious defence and Scottish errors meant it was 3-3 by halftime. When Wales turned it on after the break Scotland couldn't cope and were forced to give away yellow cards in defence. It's a shame that once again cards have proved the turning point in a rugby game but this week there can't be too much argument about their validity. Tries came from Cuthbert and Halfpenny (2) in an irresistable 20mins of pressure while Scotland were a man down.

                    Scotland denied a legitimate try after Hogg was wrongly judged to have knocked on, but from the following phases Wales brainlessly ignored the clearance kick and decided to run into outnumbering defenders. The resulting penalty gave Scotland the chance to attack in the Welsh 22m and Laidlaw scored a well deserved try from six inches out.

                    Scotland's passing and handling were so much better than last week and they managed to get in behind the Welsh way too often for comfort. Our scramble defence saved us time and again, doing just enough to snuff out the danger.

                    I don't think Wales ever got to grips with Poite's interpretation at the breakdown and it seemed that no matter what they did it didn't find favour. They will no doubt complain that Scotland were handling on the deck, coming in offside, holding on and generally making a mess of every single ruck, but if the ref lets it go, you've got to adapt. We should have been more organised, cleared out more aggressively and stayed composed.

                    Lydiate won MOTM but I'd have given it to Grey, who was every bit of a monster as expected.

                    Well, had you offered a 14pt Welsh win before the game I'd have bit your hand off, but the manner of the victory was nowhere near as impressive as I'd hoped. Scotland probably outplayed us for most of the game, but the tries in the third quarter with Scotland undermanned by their cards, broke the back of the game and secured the win.

                    Roll on Twickenham, but we're going to have to take it up a notch if we want the win because England will certainly improve at home. Hopefully our sick list will be reduced over the next two weeks and we can field something like a full side again.



                    So, Wales top the table on points difference with 2 wins, above England also on 2 wins and France with 1 win. Ireland, Scotland and Italy all wait for their first win of 2012.
                    "You're a big man, but you're in bad shape. With me, it's a full time job."
                    Lt. Bromhead to Prince Dabulamanzi before the Battle of Rorke's Drift.

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                    • #11
                      Originally posted by Cubster View Post

                      The match has been rescheduled, but I don't know when. I did hear Monday, which seems odd, so that could be a myth.

                      They're meeting on monday to decide when the game will be re-played. They're looking at next saturday apparently but the pitch was booked for another game, then it will be in 3 weeks (3-4 march) if they can't have the first date. Infos from L'Equipe.
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                      • #12
                        Ah, cool, thanks. Makes much more sense. It's going to make problems because if they try to reschedule for after the 6 Nations they're going to cut into club rugby time and the teams paying their wages might (quite reasonably) kick up a stink about it. If they try to squeeze it into the 6 Nations schedule then they've realistically only got the weekend of March 3rd, and there may well be booking problems then too.

                        I guess it's possible to reschedule to a weekday near one of the rest weekends, but it will of course mean less rest time between the match before or the match to come, plus the problems of filling a stadium on a week day and, again, TV scheduling.
                        "You're a big man, but you're in bad shape. With me, it's a full time job."
                        Lt. Bromhead to Prince Dabulamanzi before the Battle of Rorke's Drift.

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                        • #13
                          yeah, it actually looks quite complicated to reschedule. I'm glad I'm not on that board.
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                          • #14
                            MrsCub has heard a whisper it's being pencilled in for Friday 2nd March. I guess they're keeping their fingers crossed that by playing on (presumably) another evening they won't encounter exactly the same problem with the pitch.
                            "You're a big man, but you're in bad shape. With me, it's a full time job."
                            Lt. Bromhead to Prince Dabulamanzi before the Battle of Rorke's Drift.

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                            • #15
                              First up this weekend is Ireland v Italy in Dublin. Ireland's campaign hasn't really started yet with the nonsense of the postponed fixture two weeks ago and a narrow loss to Wales before that. They have a real sense that the dice have been unlucky to them since the win over Oz at the World Cup and despite not being the power they were a couple of seasons ago, this Irish team have a lot more than recent showings would suggest. Italy have nothing in their arsenal to rock the home side this week and I am expecting a 20pt win for Ireland.

                              England v Wales is the biggie this time round and despite grinding out two gnarly wins away from home, England don't start as favourites. Twickenham is one of the most intimidating grounds for visiting teams, yet even so, it would be a big achievement if England were to win today. Wales on recent form are overwhelming favourites but should they have an off day, or England have a particularly good one, they could well be turned over. All things being equal, the smart money is still on Wales and I have them to win by 10pts.

                              Scotland v France. Tricky one to call this, France have only played one game, when they comfortably dispatched Italy in Paris without getting out of third gear. Scotland, in contrast, have shown impressive flashes but have come up short in both their games thus far. If they can convert their pressure into points their confidence might grow, but they still have quite a fragile psychology and arent gelling as a full side. They begin the game with a couple of changes from the side that lost in Cardiff but I still reckon France's ruthless ability to score and close out games will see them home, but not by much. France to win by 2pts.
                              "You're a big man, but you're in bad shape. With me, it's a full time job."
                              Lt. Bromhead to Prince Dabulamanzi before the Battle of Rorke's Drift.

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