Connect with us


World Sports: Review of Six Nations

Legacy Phuket Gazette



PHUKET: Before the Six Nations began the pundits were, as usual, making their predictions about the destiny of the championship. After their stunning autumn victory over Australia, France was strongly fancied to win “Le Grand Slam”.

Wales, despite being current Six Nations champions, had lost seven games on the bounce and seemed to be out of contention. Ireland, so strong at regional level, was beginning to show the team’s ages, and, despite the perennial genius of Brian O’Driscoll, was conceivably past its best. England, the youngest team, and fresh from an emphatic autumn victory over the All Blacks, was the dark horse.

As usual, events have proven the pundits wrong. England, with three wins from three games, stands at the top of the table. Not achieved without some alarums and excursions.

The win against Scotland (38-18) at Twickenham was conclusive, despite the home team conceding two breakaway tries, and the triumph against Ireland (12-6), ground out in the Dublin drizzle, showed self-belief, resolve and an ability to adapt to very different conditions.

Against a revitalized France, England lost the first half to a team whose scrummaging, lineout work and general tactical “nous” were superior. Wesley Fofana’s side-stepping, blind-side try was sublime. But in the second half, and partly as a consequence of some strange substitutions by Philippe Saint-André, England’s youthful and ultimately fitter team came back from the dead, inspired by outstanding individual performances by Manu Tuilagi and “Captain Courageous” Chris Robshaw. Stuart Lancaster, surely the coach of the year so far, talked proudly of “composure”.

Second and third in the table, both with four points each and separated by just 11 points, are two unlikely candidates for the title, Wales and Scotland.

Few gave Scotland a chance this year, especially after their early defeat by England (38-18), but they have shown resilience in overcoming first Italy (34-10) and then Ireland (12-8) at Murrayfield.

The victory over the Irish must rank as one of the great escapes of the tournament, especially after Scotland was totally outplayed during the first period, shackled in its own territory, and gained hardly any possession. Had Ireland taken its chances, it would have been out of sight by half time.

But Scotland battled tenaciously in the second period and, urged on by a near flawless performance from scrum-half Chris Laidlaw, absorbed a late Irish surge to grind out an unlikely win.

Though few Welshmen would agree, their win against France in Paris (16-6) ranks as the upset of the campaign. Plagued by injuries, a lapse in form and the loss of their coach, Warren Gatland, to British and Irish Lions duties, a depleted side held on to beat France.

A sensational result.

More recently, and in the rain at Stadio Olimpico, Wales showed superior fitness and fire-power to subdue an Italian side (26-9) that lacked its best player and captain, Sergio Parisse. Wales has a powerful pack, and their juggernaut back line with youthful wings Alex Cuthbert and George North, is beginning to fire on all cylinders. At full-back, Leigh Halfpenny has hardly missed a kick or a tackle all campaign. A certain Lion in waiting.

Meanwhile, “Les Bleus” have lost all three games, a situation unthinkable at the start of the championship. After all, France has a greater pool of talent to choose from than any other Northern Hemisphere nation. However, and despite a rock-like scrum and consistently heroic performances from Louis Picamoles, the team has failed to gel. More changes in personnel can be expected.

Thoughts are now turning to the crucial March clash between Wales and England, which may well decide the winner of the Six Nations – unless either team slips on the banana skin laid down by Scotland or Italy. The presence of seventy-four thousand spectators in the Millenium Stadium, mostly Welshmen baying for English blood, will present England’s emerging young team with its greatest challenge yet.

Bring it on…

— Patrick Campbell


Get more from The Thaiger

📱 Download our app on Android or iOS
👋 Have your say on our Thailand forums
🔔 Subscribe to our daily email newsletter
📺 Subscribe / Join YouTube for daily shows
👍 Like/Follow us on Facebook
🐦 FOLLOW us on Twitter
📷 FOLLOW us on Instagram


Join the conversation and have your say on Thailand news published on The Thaiger.

Thaiger Talk is our new Thaiger Community where you can join the discussion on everything happening in Thailand right now.

Please note that articles are not posted to the forum instantly and can take up to 20 min before being visible. Click for more information and the Thaiger Talk Guidelines.

Click to comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Archiving articles from the Phuket Gazette circa 1998 - 2017. View the Phuket Gazette online archive and Digital Gazette PDF Prints.

Follow Thaiger by email:

Koh Samui8 mins ago

Surat Thani announces new Covid-19 measures for Samui Plus

Thailand3 hours ago

His Majesty the King donates 2.8 billion baht in Covid-19 aid

Coronavirus (Covid-19)4 hours ago

Covid UPDATE Provinces: 14,260 new infections, 119 deaths

Welcome back to Thailand!

Thaiger is getting behind local businesses for the restart of tourism in Thailand - up to 50% discounts across all advertising packages!

Coronavirus (Covid-19)4 hours ago

Vaccination registration open for foreign residents over 60 in Bangkok

Coronavirus (Covid-19)6 hours ago

Autopsy results for woman who died after mixing vaccines

Coronavirus (Covid-19)10 hours ago

Covid UPDATE Saturday: 14,260 new infections, news briefs

Join the conversation on the Thaiger Talk forums today!
Thailand15 hours ago

Department head predicts Covid-19 could last up to another year

World17 hours ago

Swedish prison hostage situation resolved with pizza

Thailand18 hours ago

Minister: Foreigners, migrant workers are cared for amid Covid-19

Coronavirus (Covid-19)23 hours ago

“Withhold Intubation” for certain older Thammasat Hospital patients

Coronavirus (Covid-19)23 hours ago

Bang Sue vaccination centre open for expats 60+, under must wait

Coronavirus News & Updates24 hours ago

“Covid-19” deaths said to cause crematorium in Bangkok to partially collapse

Thailand24 hours ago

Nakhon Sawan farmers make large profits growing fingerroot as Covid cure

Coronavirus (Covid-19)1 day ago

Leaked document: military arranging private Moderna vaccines

Thailand1 day ago

Nakhon Si Thammarat arrest drug suspect hiding in jar

Thailand5 months ago

Thailand News Today | Thai Airways in rehab, All go for Songkran | March 4

Tourism5 months ago

Phuket’s nightlife. Yes, bars and clubs are still open | VIDEO

Phuket5 months ago

Thailand News Today | Covid passport talks, Thai Airways heads to court | March 2

Tourism5 months ago

Phuket Thai food treats you need to try | VIDEO

Thailand5 months ago

Thailand News Today | Bars, pubs and restaurants ‘sort of’ back to normal | Feb 23

Tourism5 months ago

In search of Cat & Dog Cafés in Phuket Town | VIDEO

Thailand6 months ago

Thailand News Today | Gambling crackdown, Seafood market to reopen, Vlogger challenge | Jan 21

Thailand6 months ago

Thailand News Today | Covid testing for visas, Business impact, Vaccine approval | January 19

Thailand6 months ago

Thailand News Today | Weekend Bangkok bombs, Thailand fires, Covid update | January 18

Thailand6 months ago

Thailand News Today | Stray car on runway, Indonesian quake, 300 baht tourist fee | January 15

Thailand6 months ago

Thailand News Today | Governor off respirator, sex-trafficking arrest, condo prices falling | January 14

Thailand6 months ago

Thailand News Today | Chinese vaccine, Thailand ‘drug hub’, Covid update | January 13

Thailand6 months ago

Thailand News Today | Bangkok may ease restrictions, Phuket bar curfew, Vaccine roll out | January 12

Thailand6 months ago

Thailand News Today | Covid latest, Cockfights closed down, Bryde’s Whale beached | January 11

Thailand7 months ago

Thailand News Today | Southern floods, Face mask fines, Thai Air Asia woes | January 8