Wednesday, 26 October 2011

Rugby World Cup: A great Six Nations warm-up

A thoroughly unusual and surely unique sensation overcame me at around 9.05am on Sunday morning. 

Having arisen hours earlier to do my standard 10 mile run, 1 hour Bible study and a plethora of unquantifiably charitable good deeds, I turned onto the ITV website and endured the un-skippable adverts, to find I'd just missed the Haka. As I settled in to watch what I expected to be a whole-heartedly enjoyable devastation de l'equipe francaise (Blogspot won't let me do accents, so no criticism please), it came as something of a shock to find myself supporting not those of an All Black nature, but their Gallic opponents.

I've previously noticed that it can be difficult to determine who you want to win a sporting contest until a moment of great tension, such as a hawk-eye call or penalty shootout, when your true desire is revealed. Can you imagine the surprise then to find in those early moments that I genuinely wanted France? I've pondered long and hard how a true patriotic English sports fan with suitable disdain for anything tricolore could possibly be supporting them with more than a passing interest but nothing conclusive comes to mind. A mystery left unsolved.(*obviously if it was against Germany or Australia one is entitled to support France, or indeed any nation on the planet to be honest). 

The truly remarkable effort from the French does set up the 2012 Six Nations to be a potential classic in the history of the tournament. On the eve of the Rugby League Four Nations, it appears as though the annual northern hemisphere round robin could similarly be between four nations. Any of the below must consider themselves strong contenders for the title:

Ireland - defeated Australia during the WC and always difficult to beat, they do have away matches at England and France but 3 home games gives an advantage. They beat England so convincingly to deny them the Grand Slam earlier this year, it'd be crazy to rule them out. A lot might depend on which of the 3 O's are still there (Gara, Connell and Driscoll). William Hill current odds 6/1

Wales - won over many neutrals during the RWC with attacking rugby stemming from a young and energetic team. Considered in most parts as unlucky to go out but a more than mediocre kicking performance and a shaky display in the groups against Samoa suggests they're not quite the finished package yet. Similar to Ireland, they have 3 home games in the 6N, but their away games are in Dublin and London so they'll have to really perform to come out on top. William Hill: 3/1

England - reigning champions who, let's not forget, have a team with vibrant youth and attacking intent buried deep within them. Ashton was joint top try scorer for the RWC, Tuilagi is showing the promise to be a great, and Toby Flood will surely grow into the No 10 jersey which must now be permanently vacated by Wilko, whether he wants to retire or not. Would need to be the first team since Ireland in '09 to win the 6N despite playing 3 away games but with two of them at Scotland and Italy, they'll be in the hunt, regardless of whether Johnno is still in charge. William Hill: 5/2

France - World Cup finalists, beating England and Wales on the way, the mercurial French have been installed as favourites and 3 home matches, including hosting England and Ireland will stand them in good stead. It remains to be seen how Philipe Saint-Andre's management will affect them but if they perform anywhere near the level they produced against New Zealand, it'll be hard to beat them. I can promise my inexplicable spell of amour des cuisses de grenouilles will not be recurring. William Hill favourites at 7/4

After my attempts at making predictions at the quarter final stage, I think I'll steer clear of putting my neck on the line for the time being...


  1. Now that the world of international rugby is quiet for the foreseeable months, what other sporting thoughts have you got in store for us over the next few months? Enjoy reading

  2. Now that is a question. I should expect the ATP World Tour Finals will get a mention, the Euro 2012 playoffs/draw maybe, we'll see where the sporting world takes me...

  3. hanks for the information. I really look forward to 6 Nations holidays. I love seeing those games.

  4. Thanks for sharing the information......

    check Six Nations Rugby Championship total information from here : Six Nations Rugby Championship 2012 Schedule and Six Nations Rugby 2012