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Sunday, March 11, 2012

Englands seventh Six Nations title now inevitable

Short of the Irish doing something amazing next week.

Ireland are pretty good, but England are now so far ahead of the rest of the Six Nations that the tournament now needs some sort of handicap system. In addition France and Ireland have now pulled so far ahead of Wales, Scotland and Italy that most games are becoming pretty predictable.

England have yet to concede a try, and have point difference of +132 from four games. At the other end Scotland have yet to score a point, Italy have only one try, and both have points differences in excess of -100.

What can you do? France tried probably the only available tactic - slow down the game as much as possible, keep the score down, and hope something happens. Trouble is that once England have gone 10-0 up that had rather failed and the French were chasing a game they could never win.

Next weekend Ireland - who are pretty much a match for France - will no doubt try the alternative of throwing the ball around and attacking (because that is what Ireland do). Its unlikely to make much difference, and may result in a larger defeat.

Its down to many things, including years of investment in an elite system that has brought through players like Scarratt and Fleetwood (that this has damaged the grass roots is another argument), and a match schedule that is as identical to the professional men's team. France lost today partly because of experience at this level - England's youngest players had cap totals in double figures, France had players of the same age in only their second or third game. That makes a difference.

There comes a point where the rest of the Six Nations have to decided whether they are going to follow England and organise overseas tours and comparable talent spotting systems - or give up and produce a trophy for finishing second. With Wales abandoning their U15 programme this year it looks like they, at least, have opted for the latter.

1 comment:

  1. awesome I put-off buying this for months, despite positive reviews.


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