There are any things that have been learnt from the varying performances shown in the Six Nations this year. Here is a list of what I think the rugby world has gained in knowledge from this Championship.
1. Wales if not already are, have the potential to be one of the best teams in the world. The World Cup taught us this actually, but this Grand Slam has proved it. The whole team seem to be one tight knit unit, and their closeness off the pitch reflects their performance when they are on it. As a Welsh fan myself I can see that the core of this team wasn’t picked before the Six Nations, but last summer when the team had three international friendlies before the World Cup. Since then Gatland has made few changes to the squad, and a core has developed as we are seeing the same players week in week out. The fact that the same back line started every game this tournament shows not only their strength as a unit, but also the fact that Gatland doesn’t need to change it, what they are doing is working and making them possibly the strongest back line in the world at this time. The forwards had a bit more change, but mostly because of injury, and with the best front row available for Wales playing together the forwards seemed to be able to control the game. I could go on and on, Lydiate, Faletau, Warburton, the whole team seemed to gel and play well throughout the tournament and hopefully can carry is forward for many years to come.
2. Owen Farrell looks to be the next 10 for England. For a young player with no experience in the international game, he often controlled the game like he had done it for years. Not only can he make the right decisions, by he also has a consistent kick, both traits that usually come with experience, yet he seems to have already gained. If Lancaster stays or not, whoever is in charge of England in the future would have to have a serious motive not to pick this young and promising fly half.
3. Italy don’t always win the wooden spoon! Simple one really, but it shows great progression over the last few years. Sure they were on the end of a battering or two, but they worried England and beat a Scottish team who to start the tournament looked a potentially good side.
4. Under soil heating is a must. I bet when the French stadium was built nobody thought that it’s placement would mean Framce had to abandon a match minutes before kick with a full crowd and in turn make the French play four weeks in a row. Forward planning!
5. Charging down kicks can make a difference. When Hodgson scored his charge down kick in the first week it is almost guaranteed he didn’t think doing that would take the tournament to the last week. But it did. Twice. And without these charge down tries England probably would have lost meaning Wales would have probably been in a stronger position going into the Grand Slam match.
6. Andy Robinson doesn’t quit. To start the tournament, against England and nearly pinch it, to losing to Italy in the last match and getting the wooden spoon, something didn’t go well for the Scottish this Championship. I myself at the beginning thought they had true potential, they just looked so lively and attacking, yet they could only cross the line a few times in the whole tournament. Now Robinson has said he will not step down from his Scotland post, meaning he will have to change how the team perform to make sure no repeat of this tournament occurs.
7. At the moment the majority of people must be looking at next years Lions squad selection and thinking that it will be mostly a Red affair. Ireland I believe will also have a good amount of players in there, their performances didn’t match their table position for most of the tournament, and if placing chooses it England may have a few. As said before Scotland need some improvements before anyone joins a probable Richie Gray in the squad.
Have you learnt anything else from the tournament? Do you agree or disagree with my points? Leave a comment below!