Connect with us


World Sports: Review of Six Nations



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

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.

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

Follow Thaiger by email:

Video4 hours ago

Timeline of the mass shooting in Thailand

Crime5 hours ago

Finnish CEO detained for alleged mistreatment of 1,100 Thai berry pickers

Thailand5 hours ago

Thailand News Today | No drugs detected in system of daycare center killer

Sponsored13 hours ago

5 reasons why Thailand educators shouldn’t miss Bett Asia in Bangkok this year

Myanmar6 hours ago

Burmese junta sentences Japanese journalist for sedition and other charges

Thailand6 hours ago

Thai woman & foreign men charged for child sex trafficking in Pattaya

Guides6 hours ago

10 strange laws to be aware of in Thailand

Join the conversation on the Thaiger Talk forums today!
Thailand6 hours ago

Love rat Thai soldier threaten’s Israeli husband of adulterous wife

Best of6 hours ago

Outstanding halal restaurants in Bangkok

Pattaya7 hours ago

Pattaya dwellers want public restrooms built faster at pier

Thailand7 hours ago

No Buddhist temples willing to cremate body of daycare centre killer

Phuket7 hours ago

AI upgrade planned for pier in Phuket

Medical8 hours ago

When snakes strike, why not call for the chicken-ass squad?

Crime8 hours ago

Massacre in Thailand: No drugs detected in system of daycare centre killer

Thailand8 hours ago

Woman’s body in suitcase identified as Lao millionaire

Crime8 hours ago

Massacre in Thailand raises questions on gun control

Thailand1 year ago

Morning Top Stories Thailand | Police to end protests, Human Trafficking | September 14

Thailand2 years ago

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

Tourism2 years ago

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

Phuket2 years ago

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

Tourism2 years ago

Phuket Thai food treats you need to try | VIDEO

Thailand2 years ago

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

Tourism2 years ago

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

Thailand2 years ago

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

Thailand2 years ago

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

Thailand2 years ago

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

Thailand2 years ago

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

Thailand2 years ago

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

Thailand2 years ago

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

Thailand2 years ago

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

Thailand2 years ago

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