Six Nations Review: A Red-Letter Day


Wales saved the best for last as their 25-7 win over Ireland at the Principality was enough to give them the title and their first Grand Slam since 2012 and third under Warren Gatland who will step down after the World Cup this Fall. England blew a 31-7 lead against Scotland and had to rally for a 38-38 draw that saw the Scots retain the Calcutta Cup because of last year’s win at Murrayfield. Another good effort for Italy, but another loss for them as France went out 25-14 winners in Rome in what was nothing more than a consolation match.

For Wales, the comeback win against France set up the Grand Slam and came up big when they absolutely needed to against England and Ireland who were the two biggest challenges after their night at the Stade de France. They also did what the needed to, if nothing else, to get the wins in Rome and in Edinburgh. You’ll notice that Wales did not accumulate a single bonus point in the competition apart from the three they got for completing the Grand Slam. 

It was never about style points for Wales, it was about winning and they have done that for 14 tests on the bounce now and look the best of the Northern Hemisphere sides as the Rugby World Cup approaches. They also appear to have luck on their side as their pool in Japan includes a still-down Australian side along with Georgia, Fiji, and Uruguay (all Tier two teams). 

Wales may not have been the favorite for the Six Nations coming in, but they look every bit the dark horse if not a favorite as September approaches. 

England and Ireland were the two favorites coming in, and then just the former after dominating the latter on Matchday 1. They looked dominant against France and Italy as well, but when Wales and later Scotland turned up the pressure, England appeared to fold. That will lead to questions as to whether England can turn up for the big matches when the come in Japan. They should advance from their pool, but their currency has weakened a bit after this Six Nations.

As for Ireland, it started with a terrible defeat and ended with a terrible defeat. In between, they were largely unimpressive throughout. This team was another mentioned as a potential favorite from the Northern Hemisphere, especially after their recent wins over New Zealand and last year’s Grand Slam. But now, that appears less so.

Scotland were totally out of things against teams not named Italy until their unlikely comeback against England at Twickenham. Scottish fans will like to see more of what they saw at Twickenham on this Saturday instead of what they have seen in recent times,. 

As for France, they were deflated after the loss to Wales and never recovered and only got their customary win against Scotland at the Stade de France and customary, albeit tough, win over Italy. They will be up against it in Japan.

Italy showed a lot of mettle in this tournament, but in the end, they were unable to seal the deal and exhibits A, B, and C were their inability to punch through the try line against France to get an elusive win. It’s now ten straight losses for them. 

So now it’s on to Japan and the Rugby World Cup in September. These Six Nations started with England and Ireland as favorites and the best contenders for the World Cup from the Northern Hemisphere, it ended with Wales in that position now. 


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