There I’ve said it. The genuine highlight of the weekend had to be Will Harries’ beautiful solo effort shortly after the French gave up at half time in Scotland.
Ireland Vs Italy:
Both sides poorer than expected, opening weekend rustiness or not. There were brief glimpses of Craig Gower not being another ‘Bergamasco’ but all to brief. It was great to see O’Gara kicking with such confidence, another great sign for Irish rugby. Trimble shone when the light came his way, much more as an individual though than as a member of the back three. O’Connell showed some nice link up play along with his usual influential performance. On the whole though, lacking something in the first half and lacklustre in the second. Paris… vive la différence.
England Vs Wales:
At least a full 80 mins was played at Twickenham, nowhere near a game fit to mark the centenary year. I’d expect Gatland to be kicking himself more than his second row. Its fair to say Wales lost this game rather than England won it and undoubtedly the much talked about 17 points in 10 minutes had a severe impact. They weren’t the last 10 minutes though. I just felt naming and shaming a player like that was so uncalled for, against any good coaching principle I could imagine. Lets face it, those who are in glass houses shouldn’t dare do such a thing, who’s genius idea could it have been to have James Hook taking over as first choice kicker? Might that have been you throwing away 6 points there yourself Warren?
Last night on ScrumV during this very debate they reported that Wales would be sticking by their outstanding second row of recent times. We really should not have needed to be told. A far more appropriate came the following day from former captain Gareth Thomas who tweeted as much:
We should fall and rise as a team!!! Lay off Alun Wyn Jones media dudes.The guy knows he did wrong.I will be in trouble now, but whatever:)
Scotland Vs France:
The best half of rugby all weekend and should have been the best game had France not decided they had done enough at half time. The French looked dangerous, Bastereaud looked fairly dangerous, a bit too much like the Blanco of now rather than then to fit the image of the elegant French three-quarter. The team as a whole looked certain too trouble Ireland, next weekend should surely give us the game of the tournament I’d say. Scotland too have improved. Certainly some of the most valiant defence from both wings and John Beattie in the back row made his mark. They are not too far away, but on too many occasions seemed to lack the support that only self belief can bring.
So congrats again to the Dragons’ Will Harries. Providing huge opportunity to commentators everywhere to overuse again their phrase ‘backs himself’. Boo Hiss to Warren Gatland and a healthy go on ya good things to Kidney and the boys for next week.