Monday, 17 March 2014

Six Nations 2014 - It's a wrap

And so the 6 Nations is over for another year. Congratulations Ireland, it may have taken a Pascal Pape forward pass but you got over the line and were deserved winners.

Wales played the part of flat-track bullies this year, unable to step up when it mattered whilst neither Italy nor Scotland can take much from the tournament . At least the Scots have Vern Cotter's arrival to look forward to, although it remains to be seen whether he will be able do anything other than put lipstick on a pig. France, meanwhile, were their usual basket-case selves.

As for England, another year of close yet no cigar. Progress, certainly, although with no tangible reward other than the meagre consolation of a Triple Crown.

Stuart Lancaster's thoughts will undoubtedly now turn to the 3 tests in New Zealand in June. Much is being made of the timing of the first test and the fact that England will be denied the services of those participating in the Premiership final the previous Saturday.

While it's true that the scheduling makes no sense at all, the fact that there's a good spread of clubs in this England squad means that the impact of the Premiership final on the starting XV may not be entirely catastrophic - assuming, of course, that further injuries do not play a part.

Say, for example, the final is contested by the current top two - Northampton and Sarries  - the starting XV could still be:

Marler, Youngs, Cole/Wilson, Launchbury, Parling/Attwood, Johnson, Morgan, Robshaw, Care, Ford, May/Yarde, Twelvetrees, Tuilagi, Nowell/Wade, Brown.

Arguably the team we don't want anywhere near the final is Quins as Chris Robshaw, Danny Care and Mike Brown are probably England's most influential players currently.

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