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Monday, March 14, 2011

Six Nations: They think it’s all over…

Because, lets face it, it is.

Position Nation Games Points Table
Played Won Drawn Lost For Against Difference Tries
1  England 4 4 0 0 192 8 184 30 8
2  France 4 3 0 1 98 51 47 13 6
3  Ireland 4 2 0 2 74 39 35 12 4
4  Wales 4 2 0 2 64 57 7 9 4
5  Italy 4 1 0 3 42 130 -88 5 2
6  Scotland 4 0 0 4 20 205 -185 3 0
Its theoretically possible for France to pip England to the title, but to do that England would not only have to lose to Ireland next weekend (while France beat Wales), but each match would have to be won by a margin of around 70 points. Which is just not going to happen.

England clinched their title in as impressive a way as its possible to imagine. Though an easy win over Scotland was expected, 89-0 – their biggest win ever over Scotland and their third largest win over anyone – exceeded pretty much everyone’s expectations. When a team is 41-0 up at half-time they often ease off in the second half, but not England who (if anything) upped the pace. Indeed, with Katy McLean having a very off day with the boot, only converting 7 of the 15 tries, if anything the scoreline flattered Scotland a bit.

France, meanwhile, struggled to see off a strong Italian challenge, winning 28-20 (three tries to two). Italy have been very impressive this year against everyone except England (to the extent that you are forced to wonder whether they are defeated by England’s reputation as much as anything else) and will start as clear favourites against Scotland next weekend.

Finally Wales overcame the slight handicap of having their coach resign just before the game (for reasons that are currently unknown, but presumably not good) to beat Ireland 15-14 in what sounds like the game of the championship. With the Irish also losing by only two points to France a few weeks ago its has been a desperately frustrating season for a young and exciting squad who really could have a great future.

Wales have also come a long way in their four games. Other than slipping against Italy, it has been a distinct improvement on recent years – their game against France next weekend should be interesting.

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