Monday, 18 March 2013

Grand Slam... Or Something Much Bigger?

Forgive me for forgetting the aftershow that was France v Scotland or the pre-show of Italy V Ireland however exciting those games were. I just like every other rugby orientated fan around the globe was focused on the big one. Wales v England, a local battle with more spice than a Milan derby. The energy was palpable and yet you could still hear your own beating heart with ease. As a Welshman rugby is all we've got, yes we have our football teams but as a country we will never match the success of our beloved rugby team. What the Six Nations does as a tournament it unites the entire country of Wales. Everyone will get behind the team especially when momentum is built but yet disappear when the chips are down, such is the love/hate relationship we have with our sport. What we don't realise is that this tournament only lasts 5 weeks and it's over. 400 minutes of rugby for our country and it's finished. Only once it's gone do we really miss it and go back to our regional roots.

This young boy of only 10 years of age embodies everything our country stands for, because for 80 minutes everyone in the country forgets what they were doing and becomes the biggest fan in the country. It might be different for other people but when this occasion arrives I begin to shake and nerves set in, the programme hasn't even started and yet I need a cup of tea to settle me down. Welsh rugby is everything our country stands for, being the minority that we are. 3 million people and yet it's 23 of them who dictate how we will feel for the following weeks. Emotion is a powerful weapon and the team knows how to put us through it all, just like a marriage it goes through it's highs then lows then press repeat.

When it all started on the 2nd February it became the usual match of the day-esque advert for Welsh Rugby 30-3 down to Ireland at home and finishing 22-30 is some highlights package and yet both teams embarked on different paths in the tournament. Ireland got hit by every injury and that bit of luck that appeared in Cardiff disappeared...

RBS 6 Nations Championship


What does this table really say?, well it vindicates that some sides are getting better in the form of Italy and Scotland and of course England but also the decline of France and Ireland goes to some distant of throwing the old form book out the window. This table is a class example of teams who take their chances finish on top and well you know the rest. Wales were ruthless post 40 minutes against Ireland and that confidence flowed all the way through whereas the teams near the bottom drained as the tournament went on.

Interesting that Wales playing 3 away games in the tournament would have helped not only build confidence and form but also hide away from the critics as opposed to being in front of their own media and under pressure all the time. Then by the time they faced England and put 30 points past them in Cardiff in a ruthless display of passion, pride and power it was already instilled in the minds of the Welsh.

Things we found out from the RBS Six Nations 2013:

- Wales will be high on confidence after the end of the tournament and no fear of playing away

- Ireland without key individuals are not the side we think they are.

- England are on the rise, and their steady coaches and lack of ego's will benefit long term.

- Italy's competition in the Pro12 has given them a boost, 2 wins in the tournament both at home.

- Scotland have great attacking options but not a pack that matches them.

- France as usual are unpredictable and their coach embodies that.

Points for Wales to consider:

- Justin Tipuric is world class already and alongside Warbutton and Faletau proved formidable at times, Where do you fit all those in alongside Dan Lydiate and Ryan Jones is a great issue to have.

- Dan Biggar established himself as the Wales number 10 with his tactical kicking and game management.

- The Wales pack was dominant throughout and that with players still out and others gaining fitness.

- The Backline hasn't fired us a collective unit yet which is worrying for opposition.

- Competition for places is fierce, remembering players like Lee Byrne, Eli Walker, Dan Lydiate, Bradley Davies, Luke Charteris not even getting a touch because of injury and form of others.

- Make the Millenium Stadium as fierce as it was against the old enemy and suddenly you have a fortress.

Thanks for taking a look at this and i'll leave you with a superb highlights package courtesy of UKMSports

Much appreciated

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