Tuesday, 21 March 2017

The Six Nations that no-one was happy with?

The RBS Six Nations ended on Saturday with England champions for the second year in a row. Was anyone happy with this year's competition though?

England - Finished as champions but failed in their bid to break the world record for consecutive wins and to claim back-to-back grand slams. Only really played well in one match, against Scotland.

Ireland - Would have had high hopes for their second title in three years after beating New Zealand last year, but slipped up against Scotland and Wales and finished second.

France - Third place was their best finish since 2011, but they haven't won a Six Nations championship since 2010 and are still well short of their best.

Scotland - Only fourth despite some encouraging performances, but sooner or later those encouraging performances need to turn in to more wins.

Wales - Solid against Ireland and for patches against Italy and England, but under stand-in coach Rob Howley they were very disappointing. Why did they let Warren Gatland leave for Lions duty for the second time in four years?

Italy - Bottom again, their seventh wooden spoon in ten seasons, with the possibility of relegation to a second division looming.

The neutral - Excitement was a bit thin on the ground this year, with fewer tries being scored than in 2016 despite the bonus point experiment. The big talking points seemed to revolve around the rules - firstly after Italy's rule-stretching ruck-avoidance against England and the twenty minutes of time added on at the end of France v Wales.

No sports fans want to watch twenty minutes of scrums collapsing, no matter how tense the state of play. Even when scrums don't collapse they're a bit of a waste of time, with scrum-halves practically feeding the ball to the number eight. Rugby needs to sort this out to remain a draw for the players and fans of the future. Hopefully something can be done before next year's competition.