In a world of amateur commentators there is little left to be said about England’s Six Nations performance. Whilst there were flashes of brilliance, such as their victory at ‘Le Crunch’ in Round 4, the lack of depth within Eddie Jones squad and game plan often left his team uninspired. All teams have their difficulties, but for Jones’ England change is now vital.
2021 proved to be a continuation of the poor form Italy have shown since their formal arrival in 2000. The Azurri now haven’t achieved a win in the competition since their 2015 bout with Scotland and conceded a minimum of 23 points in each of their matches. The emergence of individuals such as Paolo Garbisi and Sebastian Negri suggests that Italy may improve with time but in terms of their short-term goals? They must string together 80 minutes of competent rugby.
Despite their difficult early losses, the Irish managed to rally and achieve second in the current standings (depending on the result of France’s postponed fixture). Standout performances from Jonny Sexton and Robbie Henshaw ensured the term was able to not only recover but thrive. The only problem facing this team is that it’s core is undoubtedly ageing, meaning that soon the next generation must rise and take the gauntlet.
Scotland continue to be an enigma when it comes to their Six Nations form. Whilst moments of free-flowing rugby portray the Scots as a possible championship winning side, an inability to adhere to recent rule changes and a tendency to lose focus towards the latter stages of the game cost the side greatly. Should they look to iron out the wrinkles, this vibrant team could be looking to the 2023 World Cup with excitement.
With the promise of a home World Cup over the horizon, I do not find it ludicrous to suggest that we could be looking at the potential world champions. Led by the indomitable Anthony DuPont, as well as one of the most gifted back rows in international rugby, Fabien Galthie’s men showed a level of maturity far beyond their years. The French go into their reorganised tie with Scotland hoping to achieve their first title since 2010.
Despite narrowly missing out on the grand slam, the Welsh provided the rugby world with yet another example of why they are one of the most successful nations in the sport’s history. Questions about the team’s legitimacy were asked earlier in the tournament but the squad steadily grew in confidence as the weeks passed. Although they were bested in Paris however, I believe they will watch the final game satisfied with their performance.