2011 “6 Nations”

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by James Aitken

Or should that be two independent nations, a combined independent nation and two thirds of a  province, a principality and two ancient kingdoms!

So another 6 Nations has come and gone.  There are in fact three separate competitions.  One for our senior men’s teams, one for our under 20’s and one for senior women’s team.  

Let’s start with the main event.   England were the best team in the championship.   Most wins, most tries and best points difference all reflect that.   They are not the finished article but are improving and may be there or thereabouts come the World Cup.

France, Ireland and Wales each had three wins.  France will be disappointed with that and the defeat to Italy will take a while to sink in.   Ireland will have mixed feelings.    They came close to beating the French and should have beaten Wales.  I suspect the quickly taken Welsh line out and subsequent try will be discussed for a while yet.  Ireland also thoroughly deserved to beat England last night.  That said Ireland struggled against Italy and Scotland and have lost their consistency of recent seasons.   Wales will be fairly happy with three wins especially in a season of three away fixtures.

Lastly to Scotland and Italy.  Once again Scotland were competing with Italy for the “wooden spoon”.   Scotland came into this championship with fairly high expectations.   Recent performances provided backing for that optimism.   A solid but still losing performance was followed by a truly awful display against the Welsh.   Some improvement followed against the Irish and English.   The win against Italy was not spectacular but was much needed.  The performance of a number of players also mean that we are not completely without optimism.  Jackson at 10, Gray at lock, our back row options and Paterson at full back.      

As for Italy.   They have now beaten three of their five opponents in the 6 Nations.  Scotland, Wales and now France.  Their win at home against the French was deserved.  They are also came close to defeating Ireland in their opening game in Rome.  Only against England did they struggle.    Their pool of players is also getting stronger and they now have a number of world class players.

6 Nations 2011

This is only the fourth year of the under 20 championship.  Prior to that it was an under 21 competition.  England won all of their games in this year’s championship.   Scotland for the second time in four years were in the wooden spoon position.   Disappointingly this followed two years of improving performances.    In the same set of fixtures two years ago Scotland won all three of their home games.     Traditionally Scotland have struggled at this level and that shows no sign of changing.

Under 20 Championship 2011

With only Scotland’s home again against Italy this afternoon to go Scotland are certain to receive the wooden spoon.   England again won all of their games.   Again a very disappointing championship for the Scottish team.

Women’s Championship 2011

With one game to go in the three championships Scotland have only won one game.  That is even more disappointing when you consider the majority of our games were at home.  England dominated the three championships.   Italy are improving.   The other teams all compete.   With a World Cup fast approaching the question for our senior men’s team is can they still compete and even if the answer to that question is yes, for how long.