Well it might not be mammoth, as it’s all in the past now isn’t it and we want to start looking forward to the World Cup, but it will be woolly. Here we look back at the feast of um, something, that was Six Nations 2011.
Hero of the Tournament
A.D.: It is hard to top the ‘Twickenham Fox’. Apparently ‘Le Renard’, as he is known across the Channel, is banned from the Stade de France. It’s hard enough worrying about Marc Lievremont without having to deal with slaughtered cockerels all over the place! Masi has won Player of the Tournament (don’t start, Rory!) and I suppose it is a breath of fresh air to have an Italian recognized.
Rory: I’m saying nothing. Fantastic Monsieur Fox aside, Richie Gray was about 7 feet ahead of any of the rest of our lot.
A.D.: Richie Gray has come out of this tournament very well, as have Paterson and Kelly Brown. I would, however, like the press to give Gray a bit more time to develop, which he is still doing, rather than the likes of Andy Nicol proclaiming him The Messiah every time he is on screen.
Rory: Unless he gets a haircut to make him harder to spot he will still just be a very naughty boy.
A.D.: He is very good, but in two years time he will be world class.
Villain of the Tournament
A.D.: Lievremont? Easter? The commentary team for Scotland versus Italy? Inverdale’s wig? For me it has to be the officials for the refereeing/penalty lottery at scrum time.
Rory: There was a lot of chat about the refs this year, and not just from the Welsh. Peter Allan should wear a mask next time he’s out in Dublin. I was going to say that we emerged almost unscathed, but then I remembered Barclay’s binning against England which was key in that game. I didn’t feel mega hard done by as I have in past years though. Most of Scotland’s downfall was of their own making.
A.D.: It could be an unpredictable summer and the final of the RWC will be so nervy scrums may be banned…
Moment of the Tournament
A.D.: France losing to Italy was pretty sweet.
Rory: Definitely. Watchin Ireland raise their game so spectacularly was fun too. I really enjoyed that Super Saturday.
A.D.: I also liked the audacious try by Evans against England. If it hadn’t come off I would have thrown my TV out the window but because it was at Twickenham I enjoyed it immensely.
Rory: All the tries were moments from a team that has struggled in that area.
What We Have Learned
Rory: We have learned that we can survive quite well with an inside centre with no distribution to speak of. But that we do actually miss Morrison in defence. I think we also learned that Ruaridh Jackson is far from the finished article at 10 but a definite hope for the future.
A.D.: A confident Beattie, Lamont, Morrison, Ford, Barclay, Brown and Evans drew with England in 2010. In 2011 a few were missing (or went missing) and confidence was low and we lost, but we weren’t a mile away from England. At the World Cup, with the addition of a confident Gray and Ansbro and a Jackson hopefully buoyed by wins over the lesser teams in our group, we could run England close enough to win if we are confident and defend like we can.
Rory: It was a cruddy tournament for most of Scotland’s time in it, but yet I still think there was enough there to suggest that game – the most important game we have this year – can be won. Not slipping up against Romania, Argentina or Georgia will actually be more difficult, given our love of underdog status.