Six Nations Round 1 Review

I’m delighted that the 6 Nations has started, for me it’s without doubt the best annual sports competition in the world – I do love the Heineken Cup, but the 6N is the business.

I didn’t see much of the Italian visit to Twickenham, what little I did see was predictable but nothing awe-inspiring from England. From the Italian performance they’re still the whipping boys of the 6N, although Scotland look like they might be racing Italy to this years Wooden Spoon.

Ireland had a wonderful start to the championship with a fantasic win over a decent French side at GAA headquarters. France had an experimental but dangerous side and it was real back and forth stuff. Ireland managed to keep the penalty count lower than the French, and with a couple of really spectacular tries from both sides, it was a pleasure to watch. Eventually I think our experience and team play won out, I’m really happy we didn’t let them back in before the final whistle like we might have last year. Great defensive performance there. Particularly delighted for the 3 try scorers – Heaslip for show-casing himself in the Lions selection year, and BOD and D’arcy for both getting deserved scores and coming back into form after a quiet 12 months (particularly for the injured D’arcy). The photo shows my view of the pitch – I was in the middle of a huge crowd of really sound French guys, fantastic folks and not a sore loser amongst them after the game.
View from the Cusack - Ireland vs France, 2009

Wales are getting rave reviews after what was probably the most boring Six Nations game I’ve seen in years. They are the defending champions, and I expect they’ll improve hugely, particularly by the time we meet them in the last round, but I think the BBC et al are going a little over the top based on a yawn-inspiring performance against a pathetic Scotland team who did their best to knock themselves out. Literally.

I think Williams will enjoy watching the replay of Webster going for a smashing tackle only to knock himself unconscious, and what back wouldn’t want to smile about a tight-head prop knocking himself out after going for a dirty in-the-air hit? btw good call from Alain Roland on Webster, the medico’s should have taken him off the pitch immediately.

Aside: On that point, it’s something that happened during a J4 match recently, one of my teammates took a bang to the head and went down like a tonne of bricks. He immediately rolled up on his feet and continued playing, and noone insisted he go off. In hindsight and after some post-match discussion we agreed it was bad form to have him continue and I very much regret not following my first instinct in forcing a substitution. For all of us, amateurs and pro’s alike, let’s bear in mind that head injuries aren’t to be messed about with, and ignore the player if they want to play on, it’s not worth the risk.

@joescanlon rightly recommended that I mention @patrickphelan‘s analysis of the Twitter #merde tag which people were using to flag tweets related to this game – great work there Patrick!

If you know of another good 6N round 1 post please mention it in the comments.