What Happened in the Six Nations?

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The Six Nations is now done and dusted and we have to ask ourselves a number of critical questions and confirm what we have learnt and observed. Two key questions that come to mind are how the teams are now positioned in the global rankings and what does the future look like for each of team?

Over the weekend the average winning margin was only 3 points and included the following results:

  • France 33-31 England (Borthwick said they didn’t lose, they only ran out of time).
  • Ireland 17-13 Scotland – a scrappy game but Ireland once again were able to get through with a winning.
  • Wales 21-24 Italy – great comeback from Wales… but not enough

The IRB rankings for the Six Nation participant teams are now ranked as follows:

  • Ireland #2
  • France #4
  • England #5
  • Scotland #6
  • Italy #8
  • Wales #10 (record low)

Ireland have set themselves up superbly for a long-awaited showdown in the upcoming tests against World Champions, South Africa.

France sorely missed du Pont and looked below average for the majority of the tournament – they face Argentina, which will be a hard tests indeed.

England are off to New Zealand for a massive face-off against an all-new All Blacks coaching staff. Two countries trying to turn around their performances for different reasons and will make for brutal rugby.

Scotland will be playing Canada, US, Chile, and Uruguay, giving them a massive opportunity to give their broader squad exposure.

Italy will be playing Samoa, Tonga , and Japan, and should pick up some more wins. This should be seen though as a chance to cement some newer team combinations and give exposure to new squad players.

Wales have the toughest assignment. They will be up against Australia and based on last year’s RWC performance you might think Australia wouldn’t be a formidable challenge. They now have legendary Joe Schmidt, the original mastermind behind Ireland’s resurgence before Andy Farrell.

Wales should take a big squad and give new players playing time both now and on the end-of-the-year tour. There will be losses but they need to build a bigger squad with more depth.

The Six Nations have concluded with Ireland taking the championship title, followed by France and England. The tournament served yet again as a valuable springboard, allowing teams to refine tactics, experiment with new lineups and player combinations, and to help integrate new coaching staff.

As they move forward with a packed 2024 schedule, teams will face tough tests against Southern Hemisphere giants such as South Africa and New Zealand.

I for one look forward to a marvelous year of rugby!