In which we take a look at the final weekend of the Six Nations, 2011 style. More round-up and end of term type nonsense coming soon.
Hero of the Weekend
A.D.: NDL?! A try at last (interpret that however you want).
Rory: Mossy, again! Richie Gray, again! Maybe O’ Driscoll?
A.D: I suppose we could always say that there were no real heroes in amongst the whole team performances at the Aviva and the Stade de France, but from a forward’s perspective Nallet romping in with two tries was good to see. From a cynical Scottish perspective it was good to see O’Driscoll and O’Connell inspire their team to a spoiler in Dublin.
Villain of the Weekend
Rory: Not Steve Walsh, surprisingly. My vote goes to whoever came up with the RBS 6 Nations Player of the Tournament shortlisting system that disregards anyone that plays well in more than one match or plays in the final, tournament-deciding weekend. What a tit. Down south it is probably Ben Youngs for winging the ball away so foolishly. What a tit.
A.D.: Easter is public enemy number 1 in England. Mainly because he was captain in a game they played so badly in. For me, though, I would say any referee near a scrum needs to take a look at himself (just look at the heinous penalty Walsh gave against Scotland for early engagement because both hookers touched heads!). Refs have given penalties and free-kicks because they don’t know what to do with scrums and they are so wary of ‘wasting time’. It has been evident throughout the tournament and it is doing nothing to stop collapses. Commentators saying “2011 is the year of the collapsed scrum” don’t help,
either. Will we have the hideous “crouch…touch…pause…………engage!” cadence for the World Cup?
Rory: The IRB said they wouldn’t look at the laws until after it.
Moment of the Weekend
A.D.: The scenes in Dublin. Great to see.
Rory: Some great rugby over the various channels from us, but my moment of the weekend was probably the old man Chris Paterson making another last ditch tackle. Surely that puts him on the plane to New Zealand, along with the young men who have come on nicely, namely Jackson and Gray.
What We Have Learned
A.D.: England are beatable if you play at an intensity that stifles their own stifling game. When Ashton got sussed and Flood and Youngs were put under pressure England could only attempt to rumble while their own defensive enthusiasm gifted Ireland yards and points. Scotland must take heed for the Summer.
Rory: I think the Calcutta Cup showed Ireland the direction to go in. Scotland were fierce at the breakdown, but Ireland took that and amplified it across the park including in the set piece. In the end England just didn’t have the time to do anything on the ball, or the collective will to make such time.
A.D.: We have learned that Ireland can play when they want to. Will O’Brien, Ross, Bowe, Healy and Heaslip continue to drag the old guard into a performance across a whole World Cup? Scotland. Can. Score. Tries!