Sunday, 14 February 2010

Six Nations Week 2: The Good, The Bad and The Ugly

The Good:

The Wales v Scotland game.  An incredible last five minutes in a match with more twists than one of Adam Jones' bouncing ringlets.

Adam Jones: curly wurly

Dan Parks: back from the wilderness (or Glasgow in his case).

Shane Williams.  The man who turned the match for Wales.  He showed great skill to put Lee Byrne in for a try, calmly caught a tricky high ball under pressure when Scotland were dominating, and he bagged the winning score to boot.

An excellent all round game for France.  Well, with the exception of their line-out.  A great game for France's Mathieu Bastereuad, Yannick Jauzion and Morgan Parra to name but three.

Italy, who matched England and made a real game of it.  Six Nations whipping boys they are not.  A special mention to Italy number eight and man of the match Alessandro Mani.  Who needs Sergio Parisse?  Luke McClean also had a good game at full-back for the Azzurri.

Jonny Wilkinson, who passed the 500 point mark in the Six Nations competition, and used his experience to stretch England's lead near to the death.

The Bad:

Scotland commiting rugby hari kari against Wales in the last 10 minutes.  Two sin binnings for the Scots and 17 points to Wales.  Does that remind you of anyone, Alun Wyn Jones?  Then again, Scotland's loss was due in great part to...

Referee George Clancy, who allowed an extra passage of play in the Wales v Scotland game even though the clock had already reached 80 minutes.  With the teams tied on 24-24, Shane Williams scorched over the try line for Wales.  If it were a game of football, Wales would be Manchester United.  Scotland coach Andy Robinson:  mildly irritated.

Ireland's performance against France - or lack of it.  Last week Ireland captain Brian O'Driscoll described his team as "mediocre" in their 29-11 win over Italy.  This weekend in defeat, he downgraded that to "poor".  Personally, I'd have gone for "abysmal".

Yannick Jauzion crosses the line for France

France's faultering lineout.  The only negative in their 33-10 victory over Ireland.

England kicking the ball away aimlessly at almost every opportunity.  Martin Johnson's men looked about as threatening as a bunch of bumbling marshmallows during large parts of the game against Italy.  Oh and how England totally failed to ram home their advantage when Castro was in the bin completely mystified me.  Another very disappointing England performance.  There's plenty for them to work on.  Again.

Dylan Hartley's line-out throwing.  Very poor.  I found myself being thankful when Steve Thompson stomped onto the pitch.  Yes, it was that bad.

The Ugly:

Scotland's Thom Evans being stretchered off the pitch and subsequently undergoing neck surgery.  Get well soon Thom.

Jerry Flannery's impromptu 'can-can' kick on Alexis Pallison. France scrum-half Morgan Parra is no doubt thrilled that Flannery backed him up after Parra claimed Ireland "cheat every weekend".

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