Six Nations 2019 – Conclusions on the Road to the World Cup

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Another Six Nations ends, with the 2019 edition having packed in more drama than most. Normally that would be it for international competition rugby for the year. But with the World Cup kicking off in Japan in September, instead this tournament gives us a view of how the teams are shaping up six months out. And while past performance is no guarantee of future success, some teams seem to be peaking at just the right time. Others however, face serious questions. Continue reading “Six Nations 2019 – Conclusions on the Road to the World Cup”

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Team of the Six Nations 2019

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What can you say about the Six Nations – it always delivers. After a wild final day, consisting of thrilling comebacks, torrential rain and the small matter of a Grand Slam, here’s my team of the tournament. Continue reading “Team of the Six Nations 2019”

Six Nations 2019 – predictions

Coaches and captains come together for 2019 Guinness Six Nations launch

A new year rolls round and with it the latest edition of Rugby’s Greatest Championship™. The last Six Nations before the World Cup is always an intriguing one – coaches get one last chance to blood their players in championship rugby, and we start to get a sense of how teams are shaping up. Here are my predictions for how the 2019 Six Nations will pan out, starting with: Continue reading “Six Nations 2019 – predictions”

Team of the 2018 World Cup

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It’s been a fantastic tournament, full of twists and surprises, and enlivened by some stunning performances, including a few from some unlikely candidates. Here’s my team of the tournament, playing in an attack-minded 4-2-1-3 set-up.

Continue reading “Team of the 2018 World Cup”

Team of the Six Nations 2018

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Well, it’s fair to say that things didn’t exactly turn out like I predicted. Continue reading “Team of the Six Nations 2018”

Six Nations 2018 – predictions

My annual Six Nations predictions have not been notable for their Nostradamus-like accuracy but last year in a rare display of competence I had things mostly bang on. I’m hoping to continue the hot streak (once counts as a streak, right?) with my predictions for the 2018 tournament – here’s my (barely) educated guess at the final rankings.  Continue reading “Six Nations 2018 – predictions”

Team of the Six Nations 2017

It’s fair to say that it’s been a tournament of twists and turns and even though the final standings are pretty close to how I predicted they’d end up, the way we got there was more than a little unexpected. England sealed the Championship a week early, but only after lucky escapes against France and Wales. Scotland demonstrated the progress they’ve made under Vern Cotter by beating Ireland and Wales, only to implode during their much-hyped showdown with the Auld Enemy. Ireland suffered surprise defeats against Scotland and Wales, before finally rediscovering their Autumn form and denying England a second-straight Grand Slam on the final day. France gained their first top three finish in over five years, even if it took a farcical finale amid accusations of cheating to get there. Wales put in some of their best performances under caretaker coach Rob Howley and still contrived to sink to their lowest finish in a decade. And Italy were…well, Italy, although they did manage to utterly perplex England for an hour.  Continue reading “Team of the Six Nations 2017”

Six Nations 2017 – predictions

Less than a week out from the start of the Northern Hemisphere’s premier rugby championship we have a no-less respected annual tradition – my predictions for the tournament’s final rankings. Why should you listen to me? Well, my success rate for these predictions over the last few years is a whopping 0%, which means that this year I’m surely due.  So without further ado, here’s how I see things going.  Continue reading “Six Nations 2017 – predictions”

The Six Nations is introducing bonus points for the first time. Here’s why it’s a terrible idea

Bonus points in rugby – the system whereby, alongside the four points awarded for a win and the two points awarded for a draw, an extra point is awarded to those who score four tries in a single game and those who lose by seven or less – were first introduced for the New Zealand domestic competition in 1995. Since then the system has been adopted by every major rugby competition around the world, both domestic and international. Every tournament, that is, except the Six Nations. Yesterday that changed: the Six Nation committee announced that it would be trialling bonus points for the 2017 tournament. Continue reading “The Six Nations is introducing bonus points for the first time. Here’s why it’s a terrible idea”

Team of the 6 Nations 2016

In the end the 2016 Six Nations might not have provided the same final day drama as last year’s instalment, but after a couple of stodgy opening weeks it at last flourished into a demonstration of open, high-scoring, attacking rugby. Here’s my stand-out team of the tournament.

1. Jack McGrath (Ireland)

Stepping in to fill the shoes of the injured Cian Healy, McGrath put in some hugely impressive performances, tackling hard and carrying effectively.

Honourable mention: Joe Marler (England) Continue reading “Team of the 6 Nations 2016”