Well unfortunately it would appear that my Crystal ball was predominantly on song last weekend, and Ireland turned up in Dublin ready to spoil the party for England. Let’s be honest though, it was a deserved win for the boys in green and I don’t think for a second that it is going to make any difference to Eddie Jones master plan over the coming months. As we saw in Chicago at the back end of last year, no team is invincible and again it was the Irish that halted the All Blacks mighty run of eighteen unbeaten games. All England have to do now is bounce back in the same convincing manner that the AB’s did and carry on regardless, unfortunately we won’t have the luxury of seeking vengeance directly on the Irish a fortnight later, but hey ho.
On the whole though, it last weekend wasn’t really about the England/Ireland game, sure, Ireland had to do the business in order to maintain their second position, but everyone else beneath were scrapping for the genuine reason of not being sucked into the pool of death for the World Cup! Scotland performed well enough to secure the win over Italy but will be desperately disappointed that the pedal didn’t hit the metal slightly harder, as couple more converted tries would have seen them sitting pretty above the French in the tables.
The Wales Vs France game was interesting to say the least, and I know that a lot has been said about Wayne Barnes and his inability to bring the game to a conclusion, but for all of those how have been Barnes bashing, I think that he actually did little wrong apart from show far too much patience. He should have awarded a penalty try fifteen minutes earlier and sent everyone home with the same result and a chance to grab a pint earlier.
Anyway, the party is over and the fat lady has sung, England are Six Nations champions and they now have to regroup and make good on their record matching 18-win run. I suspect it will be a long time before it is equalled or bettered.
Back to the prem this weekend, and Gloucester have a must win game on their hands as they face Bristol down the M5, I am hoping that a great deal of player-led chat has been going on over the past couple of weeks and that they come out all guns blazing, because if they cannot get themselves together to beat the relegation contenders, then there are serious, serious problems at Kingsholm. For a team that have the history and backing that Gloucester have, lying in the bottom quarter of the table with a handful of games to play is just not acceptable, and I for one am disappointed to see my team of so many years struggling in this manner.
Asides from this game, you have plenty of games that should be extremely hard fought for certain teams, with the exception of Exeter at home to Sale, which should be nailed on for the South West boys, you have Quins and Newcastle sat together in the table, Northampton and Leicester sat together and Saracens and Bath sat together. What a weekend! Your only other dead cert (I’ve jinxed that now haven’t I) will be Wasps taking Worcester to task at the Ricoh arena.
All in all I think we’ve got a pretty exciting weekend ahead of us.
One other thing that Ive been meaning the mention at a local level and has slipped my mind due to the 6N, is the meteoric and singular season that Hartpury College have had in Nat 1. As a team who ply their trade about ½ a mile from the offices here, it is fantastic to see them go unbeaten all year and seal their position in the Greene King Championship next season. A team that were formed in 2004 and have finished higher in the league system every year since their formation? Outstanding. You’ll never see them in the Premiership, just too much for an amateur outfit to handle, but wow, well done boys, you have achieved!
Have a great weekend.