Posts Tagged ‘Six Nations’

In Wales, our National rugby team is either playing fantastically or playing dreadfully. In 2012 we saw both extremes. After winning the 2012 Six Nations Championships with a Grand Slam in March, Wales went on tour of Australia in June and lost all 3 tests against the Wallabies. All 3 were close, but particulary the 2nd and 3rd ones, two games Wales should really have won.

Wales win 2012 6 Nations

Wales win the 2012 6 Nations Championships with a Grand Slam, beating France in the final match.

Wales went into the annual Autumn Tests series with high expectations amongst her supporters, including myself. I blogged about my hopes here. Well, the reality was very different, Wales lost all four tests, the first time this has happened in the Autumn Test Series since it started in about 2002. I guess, in hindsight, that it was not a big surprise to lose to Argentina in our opening game. Wales traditionally start the Autumn Series very badly, and so to have such a tough team as Argentina to play in our opening test was always going to be a challenge.

But, before Wales could recover from the disappointment of losing to Argentina, we lost to Samoa the following Friday. Again, Samoa are a tough team, and we have lost to them before, even in Cardiff. But coming on the back of such successes earlier in the year, it was a tough defeat for the Welsh rugby public to bear. The following week came our annual beating by the All Blacks, whom we have not defeated since 1953!

Our final match was against Australia, our 4th against them in 2012. Just like the 2nd and 3rd Tests in Australia in June, Wales were in a match winning position as the 80 minutes were up. In fact, with 80 minutes on the clock Wales were actually in the lead. But, bizarrely, we kicked possession away and Australia counter attacked, and scored a last minute try to steal victory. The narrowness of the defeat, and the nature of it happening in the dying seconds, made this the hardest defeat of the Autumn series, and maybe of the entire year.

So how will Wales get on in the impending 2013 Six Nations? My fear is – not very well. We are coming off the back of 7 (seven) straight defeats, so confidence in the squad has to be pretty low. Also, we will be without our inspirational team manager Warren Gatland, who has been appointed the Lions coach for the summer tour of Australia, and so is on sabbatical from his Wales duties.

It is also the year when we play 3 games away from home, and only 2 at home, which of course makes it a slightly tougher proposition. Our fixture list is

Wales’ 6 Nations games, 2013
Date Country Kick-off time (GMT) Home/Away Record in all competitions (Played/Win/Loss/Draw)
Saturday 2nd February Ireland 13:30 Home 118/65/47/6
Saturday 9th February France 17:00 Away 92/45/44/3
Saturday 23rd February Italy 14:30 Away 19/16/2/1
Saturday 9th March Scotland 14:30 Away 117/66/48/3
Saturday 16th March England 17:00 Home 123/55/56/12

It may surprise readers to see that the only nation in the 6 Nations that Wales have lost more than won against is England, with the games standing at 55 wins to Wales and 56 to England. The game against England in March provides an opportunity to equalise the series of games between the two countries. On the other hand, the game against France in February provides France with the opportunity to equalise the series between the two countries, currently Wales have 45 wins to France’s 44.

Of course, how players across all 4 home nations perform will determine who gets picked by Warren Gatland and his team to go on the Lions tour of Australia in June, so this year the players are playing for more than just their country.

Who do you think will win this year’s 6 Nations?

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The state of the Rugby Football Union, the governing body of English rugby, is not good. Thankfully for the Welsh, the state of the Welsh Rugby Union is very good, so I am not going to lose too much sleep over the state of the game in England. In fact, I look forward to, hopefully, Wales giving England a good hammering at Twickenham in the 2012 Six Nations game on the 25th of February.

2 Unions

The RFU and WRU

Yesterday (Wednesday 16/11/2011), Martin Johnson resigned as coach of the England national rugby team.

Martin Johnson

Martin Johnson resigns as England coach

Earlier in the week, Shaun Edwards committed to another 4 years as defence coach for Wales.

Shaun Edwards

Shaun Edwards commits to another 4 years with Wales

Shaun Edwards is, ironically, a very proud Englishman, but he clearly feels he will be better treated by the WRU than the RFU. Apparently, four years ago, just before he signed with the WRU to be Wales’ defence coach, the RFU tried to sign him. But, according to what I heard on BBC Radio 5 this week, the RFU wanted him to agree to all kinds of conditions, including giving up working with London Wasps. The WRU, very wisely, were far more flexible, and allowed him to continue coaching Wasps these past 4 years. Edwards has now left Wasps, but the WRU are arranging for him to work with various clubs and regions in Wales in addition to his duties with the National team.

The difference in the state of the two rugby unions could not be greater. The Rugby Football Union seems to be in a state of turmoil, with a story emerging yesterday that Graham Rowntree is set to leave the RFU and, maybe, join either the WRU or the Scottish Rugby Union.

RFU in turmoil

A few of the stories in today's Telegraph about the RFU

Meanwhile, the Welsh Rugby Union are benefiting from a strong Chief Executive in Roger Lewis, and a coach with over a decade of experience at the top level in Warren Gatland. Maybe the RFU can learn a thing or two from the WRU about how to get the management of the game right.

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