Category Archives: Six Nations

England’s Owen Farrell is prepared to take centre theatre in a Six Nations

Put yourself in Owen Farrell‘s boots. Opposite him during Twickenham on Saturday will be a Lions starting fly-half Jonny Sexton, a male who taught him so many during a Lions debate final summer. Up in a coaching box is his father, Andy, who has been coaching him given he could walk. Running on with a H2O bottles is Mike Catt, constantly during him to urge his diversion awareness. There are umpteen voices in his ear even before people start articulate adult his crony George Ford as a entrance male of English rugby.

How fascinating, then, a few days before this pivotal Six Nations contest, to hear Farrell insist he has never felt so certain of himself in an England jersey. The louder a tumult and a larger a scrutiny, a happier he is. “I feel gentle on a field,” he says simply, visibly speedy by a aggressive improvements England are starting to make. As General George Patton once observed: “Pressure creates diamonds.” In Farrell’s case, a glimmer of high-quality emerald is an opportunity, not a threat.

Because, after a two-year tutelage as Jonny Wilkinson’s successor apparent, he is finally rising as his possess male (as opposite to his aged man). Why so confident? Partly it is since large occasions move out a best in him, while England’s final dual games opposite France and Scotland suggested there is some-more to come. Partly it is a outcome of his dual before starts opposite Ireland, both of that have finished in English wins. Perhaps many poignant of all, though, is that Sexton and Brian O’Driscoll and Paul O’Connell, a holy threesome of Irish rugby, now reason no fears. While Lions tours corrupt a appetite of many, they also have a galvanising outcome on those on their approach up.

The approach Farrell tells it, final summer’s Lions debate to Australia will unequivocally be among a vital catalysts if Ireland are beaten. Sexton was a Test fly-half though a 22-year Farrell was like a child in a honeyed emporium via a trip, squirrelling divided all kinds of treats for destiny use. “Hopefully they suspicion we was a decent child and didn’t consider we was an idiot,” he says softly. Watching him sight during North Sydney Oval in a latter stages of a tour, it was apparent how many he gained from his time during Sexton’s elbow. “He’s a illusory actor and we got on with him unequivocally well. We spent a lot of time together and usually saying how players like that work day-in, day-out is a many critical thing. He final people know their jobs and get it right. we had large honour for him before we even started. we usually have some-more honour for him now.”

It was a same with O’Connell and O’Driscoll, quite in a tour’s final days when a latter was forsaken from a third Test lineup. “If that had happened to anybody else, they could have left into a large sulk. It usually showed his knowledge that a organisation was initial for him. No matter how he was feeling, he done certain he didn’t impact anyone else and still combined to a group. That was a large thing for me, examination him as a chairman and a player.”

He was equally tender by how O’Driscoll and O’Connell prepared so earnestly for games even during such an modernized theatre of their careers. Such courtesy to fact is now customary use within a England stay as well. Catt, Stuart Lancaster and his father have all been stressing a need for their fly-half to be some-more than usually a goal-kicking stone if their organisation is to do a aggressive potential. The upshot has been a nifty show-and-gos that caused both a French and a Scots problems and a building attribute with his inside centre Billy Twelvetrees. With a sneaking using hazard of Danny Care and a importance on a positive, two-sided aggressive strategy, hostile defences can no longer simply lay and wait for England’s midfield to run true during them.

Little consternation Farrell sounds so upbeat, his 21 caps (he is already in a tip 10 English points-scorers of all time) potentially usually a start. “It’s not that we didn’t suffer it before though it’s good saying it come together. It’s beguiling saying what we are doing in training being put into place on a pitch. Everyone’s bargain a fact … for me it’s about creation as many scold decisions as possible.”

Playing alongside Care – “I’ve desired it” – has helped, too. It is easy to forget a span had never started a Test together before to this championship. They will need to be during their best, however, to mangle a clever pivot between Sexton and a in-form Conor Murray. “I consider removing to a half-backs is a large partial of any large game,” stresses Farrell. “But it’s not usually about [getting to Sexton]. We need to make certain we uncover them what we do rather than a other approach round.” On Saturday evening, Sexton might onslaught to recognize a quiet, roughly bashful child he was education usually 9 months ago.

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Six Nations: ‘Toughest loss’, says Matt Scott

CALCUTTA Cup improved strike Matt Scott tough though he tells Iain Morrison Scotland can be redeemed in Rome

THERE are a good many reasons to enviousness a veteran rugby actor his life and lifestyle, his money, his Jaguar and his holiday house, though versus adult to a press customarily days after carrying your backside kicked by England in front of millions is not one of them.

After several days of much-needed rest and rehab, for his essence and suggestion as most as his smashed body, Matt Scott still looks a small bombard shocked. He was behind during Murrayfield final week for some additional training, you’ll be gratified to hear, instead of removing a prevalent week off forward of a idle weekend in a Six Nations.

The centre’s first-ever start for Scotland came in a blue moon win over a Wallabies in Australia dual summers back. If that was a high point, final weekend was a low. Scott has been nipping over a 20-0 improved all week and, if he has finally managed to get it down, it’s satisfactory to contend that a Calcutta Cup opening still sits undigested and nervous in a array of his stomach.

“We got to a Heineken Cup semi-finals [with Edinburgh] in my initial deteriorate as a pro. You kind of think, ‘Oh, what’s all a bitch about, this being a veteran rugby player’s all right!’” says Scott. “But it’s a aged cliché, you’ll have some ups and downs, some genuine highs and some utterly thespian lows, and I’m utterly philosophical about a whole thing now. This is one of those lows and it’ll make me a improved actor for it.

“Personally, it was a toughest detriment we have been concerned in for a series of reasons. There was a concern of a game, a arise and a build-up. It is a diversion that your friends and family take some-more seductiveness in, so we don’t unequivocally wish to let them down.

“I found it tough to get over a game. Usually, I’m utterly a certain impression though we was flattering down for a integrate of days. we didn’t pronounce to my silent and dad, we customarily hid divided and kept myself to myself, that is substantially not a good thing to do.

“There was no grave sit-down [after a game], it was all flattering quiet, everybody customarily gets on with it, though it was a unequivocally terrible atmosphere. A dark atmosphere.

“There’s some-more to life than rugby, though we take it all unequivocally personally. For me, it was a initial knowledge like that we had had. we have not been concerned in a outcome where there has been such courtesy and inspection from a media and public. You kind of feel obliged for that.”

That isn’t a customarily thing. Scott was out of position for England’s initial try and missed a tackle on Jack Nowell for their second. He isn’t a form to arm himself with excuses though final Saturday was his initial start in any compare given branch out opposite Japan final November, when he pennyless his hand. It is a magnitude of Scott’s station within this patrol that he was frogmarched behind into a front line with customarily 15 mins opposite Ireland by approach of preparation. It is covenant to a revengeful inlet of Test-match rugby that he unsuccessful to paper over a cracks in his game.

“It was a tough one to come behind to, unequivocally tough customarily defending, defending, defending,” says Scott. “It customarily felt like we were doing that a whole game.

“To be fair, they had something like 20 set pieces in a 22 and we customarily conceded dual tries. It showed good solve that we didn’t concur some-more than that.”

Scott might be clutching during straws though there wasn’t most else to keep anyone’s spirits afloat after Saturday’s match. And that same solve that Scotland showed in a final entertain will be indispensable in Rome in subsequent week’s Wooden Spoon decider opposite Italy.

Two years ago, Andy Robinson roughly quiescent after Scotland unsuccessful to spin adult in Rome and went on to remove 13-6. It was a informed story with a Scots losing 6 of their 12 lineout throws, including a integrate of aggressive chances late in a game, and handling to make customarily 76 per cent of all their tackles. Last weekend’s execution rate of 80 per cent opposite England was marginally improved though still a prolonged approach off a winning percentage.

That has a dark significance, given a tackle execution rate is customarily seen as a flattering accurate barometer for a altogether mood of a squad, with low tackle execution equating to a low morale, though Scott insists otherwise.

“We set a smallest aim of 90 per cent,” says Scott. “I consider it [the problem] is some-more technical. If we didn’t consider a players were giving 110 per cent, I’d contend so.” He wouldn’t, of course, though for ideally fair reasons. “I don’t consider there is any emanate with a genius of a players. Just to be around them before a diversion and realize how ardent everybody is and how pumped adult everybody is, we meant it’s unequivocally a technical thing.

“I was substantially concerned in both of their tries and people contend we didn’t wish to make that tackle though it’s customarily not a case. If people knew what it’s like out there… Everyone is giving their all. we would never doubt a passion of a players.”

The Stadio Olimpico will be tighten to a 73,000 capacity, not slightest given a Italians smell blood and a Roman throng has always enjoyed a good massacre of a innocents. The Azzurri aim a Scottish compare any year and, while they have mislaid their final dual encounters, a hosts have not been beaten by Scotland in Rome given 2006. Moreover, Scotland’s miserable improved dual years ago will be on everyone’s minds, if customarily given a opening was roughly accurately a same as final weekend’s show. Scott was there on a day though customarily as a travelling reserve.

“I indeed remember going into a sauce room thereafter and there were boys crying. Everyone was customarily totally gutted and it was customarily a terrible place,” recalls a centre. “That’s because we mentioned pressure. The whole concern of that arise and a vigour of it being a Wooden Spoon decider customarily got to everyone.

“I consider there has customarily got to be a genius that we know we can play good rugby. Our certainty has taken a bit of a hole though a large importance this morning was ‘everyone get a grin on their face’. It’s hopefully going be a good day in Rome. It’s not going to be a complicated pitch. It’s not going to be lashing down with rain. Fingers crossed, we play with a bit of confidence, perplexing to put them underneath vigour with a ability rather than perplexing to catch their pressure.

“We customarily can’t be bogged down by violence ourselves adult too most after a England game. We’re used to it, it’s veteran sport. This happens week in, week out. We lose, we work out because and concentration on a subsequent game. That’s all we can do really.”


Rome record


SCOTLAND have not won in Rome given 2006 and have won customarily dual out of 7 in a Italian collateral given a Six Nations began.


2000: Italy 34 Scotland 20

Diego Dominguez, pictured, was a tormentor-in-chief, with Italy’s Argentina-born event kicking 29 points as Italy done a winning crawl in a Six Nations.


2002: Italy 12 Scotland 29

Scotland took a magnitude of punish dual years after when Brendan Laney enjoyed his excellent hour in a Scotland jersey, scoring 24 points.


2004: Italy 20 Scotland 14

Matt Williams’ Scotland crumbled in Rome en track to a Wooden Spoon. Roland de Marigny kicked 5 penalties for a hosts and Fabio Ongaro combined a try. Simon Webster’s late try was a small satisfaction for a Scots.


2006: Italy 10 Scotland 13

With Frank Hadden in charge, Scotland enjoyed their best-ever Six Nations campaign, winning 3 out of five. The customarily divided feat came in Rome interjection to Chris Paterson’s resolute late penalty.


2008: Italy 23 Scotland 20

A last-minute dump idea from Andrea Marcato cursed Scotland to improved though they avoided a Wooden Spoon on points disproportion interjection to an progressing win over England.


2010: Italy 16 Scotland 12

Pablo Canavosio scored a customarily try of a diversion though Andy Robinson’s Scotland dodged a Wooden Spoon interjection to a smashing win in Dublin and a dirty home pull with England.


2012: Italy 13 Scotland 6

Italy switched bottom from Stadio Flaminio to a bigger Stadio Olimpico and enjoyed a deserved win that left Scotland with a Wooden Spoon after 5 defeats.

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England confronting home law opposite Ireland and Wales in Six Nations

England pierce from a potato domain before famous as Murrayfield to their home during Twickenham, a site that before being bought by a Rugby Football Union in 1907 was used to favour cabbages, for a subsequent dual rounds of a Six Nations. The venue for subsequent year’s World Cup final will be a plcae for 11 of their 18 Tests before a start of a contest and their fixtures conflicting Ireland, subsequent Saturday, and Wales in a subsequent turn will yield an poison exam for a hosts.

Twickenham is not be as unyielding as it was in a buildup to a 2003 World Cup, won by England – they went into that contest carrying won 22 uninterrupted Tests during domicile – yet a group in white do not remove there often, and when they do it tends to be by a single-figure margin. Australia, New Zealand and South Africa have won during Twickenham in a Stuart Lancaster era, yet a initial dual southern hemisphere giants have also lost, while a usually side to delight there in a past 3 Six Nations was Wales in 2012.

Even yet England have usually dual home matches in this year’s championship, dual victories would be a poignant landmark. In cabbage terms, a immature of Ireland and red of Wales have finished so many softened during Twickenham than any of a other teams concerned that a final time home advantage was done to tell conflicting a Celts in a same debate was behind in a days when a usually doubt asked about visiting sides was how many they would remove by.

Not given 2002 have England degraded Ireland and Wales during Twickenham in a debate and, in a past 10 tournaments, they have been obliged for 5 of England’s 6 defeats during home: a Irish in 2004, 2006 and 2010, and a Welsh in 2008 and 2012. The softened 10 years ago finished a run of 14 uninterrupted home victories in a championship during a ground.

Back then, England did not usually flog Six Nations opponents in front of their possess supporters, they tore them apart. Wales conceded 156 points in their 3 matches during a period, Ireland 130 and Scotland 107; Italy leaked 120 points in their dual visits and even France went for 48 in 2001. Lancaster’s group are rising from a theatre where visualisation is formed on feat rather than a demeanour of it: a 20-point win during Murrayfield final Saturday over suddenly pacifist opponents stirred introspection rather than celebration.

“We let Scotland off a offshoot too many times and did not modify many opportunities into points,” pronounced a England captain, Chris Robshaw. “We were in their 22 some-more than a scoreboard showed and we will not get as many chances conflicting Ireland. We are in a flattering good place after a initial integrate of games and we now have dual matches during Twickenham. We are unfortunate to put on good performances for a supporters.”

England’s biggest Six Nations feat in a Lancaster epoch came conflicting Ireland dual years ago – 30-9 – usually violence a dual 20-point margins over Scotland this year and last. Four of that starting lineup are expected to take a domain subsequent Saturday – Owen Farrell, Dylan Hartley, Dan Cole and Robshaw –with one of a dais that day, Mike Brown, featuring in match-day squads this year.

There has not usually been a turnover of players in a past integrate of years, yet a change in emphasis, and while England still have a ability to take on teams during forward, as they did in a London sleet in 2012 to overpower a Irish, they have turn some-more adventurous.

“Back then, a defensive appetite was unequivocally high and we had a lot of enthusiasm, yet we were lacking in bargain and execution,” pronounced a flanker Tom Wood. “We are removing to a theatre where a aggressive diversion is improving, along with a ubiquitous shape, and as people we have a many softened appreciation of given situations and a relations in a team, such as reading any other’s physique denunciation and all else. We are removing a softened believe of one another. we came off a domain in Scotland unequivocally unhappy given we left during slightest 15 points out there: we need to get all right conflicting Ireland.”


Owen Farrell personifies England’s burgeoning confidence. One of his predecessors in a fly-half jersey, Rob Andrew, once pronounced that it took 20 matches to come to terms with a final of ubiquitous rugby. There was something automatic about Farrell adult until final autumn, skilful during implementing a gameplan, yet delayed to conflict to what was in front of him. His try conflicting Australia, exploiting a counterclaim that was flapping across, awaiting him to pass rather than run, was a seminal impulse for a immature Saracen.

“Owen’s removing a lot some-more support from Billy Twelvetrees now,” Lancaster said. “That second chairman organising a back-line is holding some of a vigour off him and it gives us a two-sided attack. Another thing is a change that Mike Catt [the conflict coach] and his father [Andy Farrell] are carrying on him. Mike is removing him to do lots of work on scanning, saying space and varying a speed during that he runs to a line.

“Owen used to be 100mph in counterclaim and attack, yet he is a lot some-more stoical now and is saying a pattern maturation a lot some-more clearly. The line-break he done usually before half-time during Murrayfield, when Luther Burrell scarcely scored a try, was a good example; he is removing players using good lines off him and, after doing a show-and-go, he went by and slipped Luther a ball. His ubiquitous diversion government – when to flog and when to pass – has improved. It is down not usually to experience, yet design.”

Ireland will plea England’s aggressive intent, not usually with a container able of winning possession, as they showed conflicting Wales when they corroborated adult clever set-pieces by statute a breakdown, yet a resources of expertise behind, where their triangle of Jonathan Sexton, Gordon D’Arcy and Brian O’Driscoll is one of a many gifted in ubiquitous rugby.

England are chasing a initial Six Nations hat-trick in a tie given 2000 and it is some-more than 3 hours given they conceded a try to Ireland. More than that, they need to waken Twickenham conflicting a storms that will blow in during a World Cup. Ireland’s subsequent revisit after Saturday will be on 5 Sep in 2015, a final diversion before a start of a contest reduction than dual weeks later.

“We are a formidable side to play conflicting home or away,” Lancaster said. “Our defensive work-rate, organisation, line speed, joining and expostulate to work tough for any other make us tough to flog anywhere. Other than Wales final year, we have not been beaten by some-more than 10 points in 20-plus internationals.

“We are during a conflicting finish of a scale to Ireland in terms of Test-match experience, yet we are not daunted given we have self-belief.”

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Six Nations 2014: Owen Farrell is tough adequate to take a lead

“I unequivocally like a proceed England are personification during a moment,” pronounced Wilkinson, who was benefaction during a two-point detriment in France a fortnight ago that was followed by a 20-0 win in Scotland, while Ireland kick a Scots and Wales with points to spare.

“The whole thing looks plain and professional,” he added. “I’m looking during any actor and they seem to know where they’re ostensible to be and what they’re ostensible to do when they get there. Not personification like robots, nonetheless carrying A and B options and doing it darned well.”

The Irish are formidable to read, not since their formula make no sense, as a late Milligan referred to, nonetheless since final week’s confinement of Wales’s fortifying champions astonished everybody who pigeon-holed their coach, Joe Schmidt, as married to artistic rugby and insisting on any actor being means to pass.

Ireland finished large tackles, gathering tough in a kick and deployed their expensively gifted Lions fly-half Jonny Sexton especially to belt a round downfield. “Ireland have got that glow of a Grand Slam possibility, when any diversion is do or die,” pronounced Wilkinson. “England know if they kick Ireland they competence win a tournament. And they are during home.

“If England are critical about their possess World Cup subsequent year, they’ve got to put a pen down in this diversion that says, ‘This is where we belong, and here we don’t lose’.”

Wilkinson won a Slam once, in Dublin in 2003. He has begun coaching during his club, Toulon, in credentials for his retirement from playing, and in Paris he held adult with his former team-mates, now England’s backs coaches, Andy Farrell and Mike Catt. Midfielders all, and what an area of change it will be subsequent Saturday.

“Sexton’s a outrageous competitor,” pronounced Wilkinson. “When I’ve played conflicting him, we can hear him – he’s never happy, he final a outrageous volume of everybody around him, and is a large personality in that Irish team, some-more so now that guys like Brian O’Driscoll are removing to a latter theatre of their careers. Sexton is in an extraordinary position, in good form.

Of Sexton’s conflicting series in a England ranks, Owen Farrell, a former No 10 said: “He is younger, and he’s building into that role. He’s had a tough tour to start with, underneath a outrageous volume of inspection over who should be starting. He’s dealt with that enormously well, and not customarily that nonetheless he’s finished a kicking and never let himself down in that respect. Hopefully now he’s benefiting from carrying a structure in place where he can say, ‘I’ll do this, afterwards this’ rather than full-frontal panic.”

But there is counsel in Wilkinson’s assessment. “Owen has immature backs around him and there’s no one there, we think, who’s means to tell him, ‘This is what we’re doing’. When we assimilated that England group during 18, we had Jeremy Guscott, Mike Catt, Paul Grayson and Matt Dawson. I’d make decisions and they’d say, ‘No, we’re not doing that’, and I’d say, ‘Fine’. At his age [Farrell incited 22 progressing this month], that’s a ruin of a responsibility.

“I remember confronting New Zealand during Twickenham in 2009 [aged 30 and with 72 caps]. we was irritable about it nonetheless we told myself we didn’t have a right to feel like that since there were younger guys in that group looking to me. So we finished it my impulse to say, ‘Follow me, I’ll make a decisions’. Owen has had to say, ‘I don’t have a right to be nervous’, even nonetheless he is. That’s tricky. I’m admiring it since his mental toughness is over where we was during that age, to say, ‘Sod it, let’s get on with it’.”

The rugby-loving Milligan’s proceed to wing play was formed on evasion: “If a 16st actor was about to locate me we customarily attempted to hit on or step into touch.” Now, with England’s Luther Burrell and Billy Twelvetrees around, that 16st actor can be a centre.

Ireland’s O’Driscoll and Gordon D’Arcy are not of a same grievous measure nonetheless they are a world’s many capped centre partnership, and conflicting Wales they were focused, unflashy and dominant.

“Twelvetrees is Mike Catt-ish,” pronounced Wilkinson, “he’s knocked about during No 10 and will know what Owen Farrell is going through. He can contend to Owen, ‘Just give this one to me’ or ‘You go right, I’ll go left’, as Catty used to do for me. Twelvetrees can also pound a round up.

“Then you’ve got your athletes outside, your Burrells. He is going to take defenders off we since he’s got footwork, he’s got strength, he’s got a handoff, he’s got ability to pile-up by tackles.

“The pivotal there is experience. The risk for England lacking knowledge is a miss of cohesion. O’Driscoll and D’Arcy have seen any eventuality on a rugby field. England have to make adult that disproportion by bargain of a gameplan, articulate to any other and adhering together. There’s no reason because that England midfield shouldn’t go in thinking, ‘Why are they going to mangle us?’

“Ireland have a lot of faith and passion and drive, and I’ve felt a full rage of that in a past, when it doesn’t matter how structured we are, if these guys keep using during you, eventually you’re going to go backwards. It’s roughly over human.

“England need to say their bargain and fortify nonetheless get tighten to relating Ireland’s passion and ferocity. They need to glow it adult to accommodate a Irish guys conduct on, to even out that personification margin – afterwards compare gameplan for gameplan.”

Key contests during Twickenham

Mark McCall was a centre for Ireland in a 1990s and played twice conflicting England during Twickenham. Now executive of rugby during Saracens, who have 6 players in a England patrol for subsequent week’s match, he picks a pivotal areas of confrontation:


It all flows from this. Ireland’s container haven’t come adult conflicting anything like England’s yet. Ireland won’t be means to kick them like they did conflicting Wales. The English have 6 tip ball-carriers. Their set-piece needs to improve, and substantially will.


Ireland this deteriorate rest reduction on a throttle tackle. They’re going lower. If we choke-tackle a large man like Luther Burrell and get it wrong we find yourself 5 metres behind a gainline. They will chop-tackle a large group early and get over a ball.


England’s counterclaim is a best. The some-more round Scotland had, a worse it got for them. But Joe Schmidt’s too crafty for that to happen. Ireland have a accumulation that won’t concede England only to come off a line and pound Ireland behind a gainline.

Kicking game

Schmidt’s so clever; nobody saw what was entrance conflicting Wales. If England dump players behind to negate a kicking diversion Brian O’Driscoll, Gordon D’Arcy and Johnny Sexton will put a round into opposite channels where there are weaknesses. Either way, Jonny May’s positioning will be tested.

Generating momentum

If England have to play with normal set-piece ball, and play off three-second rucks, do Billy Twelvetrees and Burrell have a nous and knowledge to do what D’Arcy and O’Driscoll can do? D’Arcy gets over a gainline with shining footwork, O’Driscoll is a master kicker.


Peter O’Mahony is attack nonetheless Ireland have mislaid a game-changer in Sean O’Brien. Remember that try in France, when Billy Vunipola got a round behind in dual hands after a hand-off and afterwards finished a right pass? It was unusual skill. He is a game-changer – if he’s on a front foot.

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France harlot Kayser ruled out of Six Nations

France harlot Benjamin Kayser will skip a rest of a Six Nations after pang a critical knee damage in Clermont’s 16-13 better to Grenoble.

Kayser partially ruptured his right knee vinculum during a Top 14 encounter, that will perplex France trainer Philippe Saint-Andre after he asked clubs not to margin players who started in both Six Nations games opposite England and Italy. Clubs had not been happy with a ask and Clermont might good have suspicion that Kayser was excellent to play as he was usually a deputy for a 30-10 feat over Italy.

“Injured during a finish of a Grenoble match, Benjamin Kayser suffered a prejudiced detonation of a inner vinculum of his right knee,” Clermont pronounced in a statement.

“The damage will see him ruled out of movement for between 5 to 6 weeks and move to a beforehand finish his seductiveness in a Six Nations.”


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Wales contingency continue a charge adult front in Six Nations strife with France

The greeting in Wales to better in Dublin has been as unrelentingly doom-laden as a weather. Black-cloud midfield mournfulness during a detriment of Scott Williams and a stability unavailability of Jonathan Davies have coincided with gale-force lashes to a half-back hides of Mike Phillips and Rhys Priestland. Camp Gatland, a training trickery in a Vale of Glamorgan a few miles west of Cardiff, was built as a breakwater from a bleaker elements of a Welsh sporting knowledge though a strong fringe walls have taken a pounding.

The difficulty with storms so broad-fronted is that they lay rubbish to everything. It might good be formidable to find a partner for Jamie Roberts in a centre and it is loyal that Phillips was (again) held in possession and Priestland during times wore a demeanour of a fly-half seized by doubt, though a problem lay in numbers smaller than 9. That is 1 to 8, a forwards.

Adam Jones, a tighthead indication of candour, carried his rugged support above a wall in a week and pronounced (to paraphrase): “We had a good out-of-date hammering adult front. What went wrong will be put right.”

The genuine repairs to a fortifying champions was inflicted during a line-out. There were unchanging steals on a Welsh chuck and terrible shifting retreats before a pushing mauls that followed protected catches on a Irish. Ireland’s lineout set adult all else: a accurate kicking diversion of Conor Murray and Jonathan Sexton; immature control, verging on a absolute, of a relapse area.

Now, building a counterclaim opposite a rolling beat is a technical exercise, a matter of anticipating a right mix of common response and a infiltration of people into a entertainment swarm, unfortunate a compactness. This is what pouring income into chosen comforts is all about – marker of all probable threats, exercise ad nauseam of all responses. Nothing should come as a nasty surprise. Camp Gatland exists to lift Wales to preparedness on all fronts.

Last summer Camp Gatland left a breakwater of a Vale and became a peripatetic Lions seminar around Australia. No doubt a manager and his Welsh players took caring not to exhibit all their mysteries though a best players from 3 other countries still had an extended discernment into a ways – into a heads – of a Six Nations champions of a past dual years.

It is frequency startling that somebody as courteous to fact as a Ireland coach, Joe Schmidt, should have revelled in sifting a impressions of his Irish Lions until he found a indicate of weakness. Ireland out-prepared Wales.

France come subsequent for a smashed Welsh. Their coach, Philippe Saint-André, as a former manager of Gloucester and Sale, understands a place of a Lions in a hearts of English-speaking rugby players, though he has adequate on his image perplexing to conduct his quintessentially French unit that he will substantially not have time to flow over a spilt secrets of Camp Gatland.

France, like Wales, have beaten Italy. Wales were off-colour in their victory. France, interjection to a spacious 10 mins after half-time, scored 3 tries, cumulative a outcome and Wesley Fofana became a consternation of a championship, in precisely one of a places where Wales are ill during ease, a centre. Add all that to a opening feat over England, a usually other group in a Six Nations that a French provide with anything coming respect, and it would seem that, if they can widen their courtesy camber to, say, a entertain of an hour, all will be good and they will sojourn on march for a title. If they can be worried to know anything about a Lions, it is that in a seasons that follow a tour, they, a French, win a Six Nations.

There are few obstacles in a approach of French reason. Last year Wales used France as a initial stepping mill to recovery. Victory in Paris led to a second uninterrupted title. The year before, Wales used France as a finishing hold to their grand slam.

France do not have a pushing beat of Ireland to harm Wales. Their scrummage, so prolonged feared, came off second best to Italy. They like a doing skills of Dimitri Szarzewski during hooker, though he lacks a set-piece technical inclination of Benjamin Kayser. For 60 mins opposite England they looked flattering typical everywhere. And a fun that came with a dual victories might have been dampened by a lapse of some of their series to bar colours this weekend. The Top 14 clubs and a Fédération Française de Rugby are still squabbling over entrance to players.

At some theatre on Friday night underneath a sealed roof of a Millennium Stadium in Cardiff, Fofana and Louis Picamoles will start or finish moves that bluster to blow their opponents away. It always happens and is smashing to watch. Perhaps it will be a night for Brice Dulin during full-back to arrangement his adventurous as a counter-attacker.

But will 10, 15 or even 20 mins of note be enough? Wales are in Camp Gatland, where it is doubtful a manager will produce to a deplorable breeze and make changes. Phillips has a story of excelling opposite France. Jamie Roberts, whoever plays alongside him, can hindrance Mathieu Bastareaud and cut down Fofana.

Such players’ numbers are, however, too high to be of primary importance. You do not need a collection of chosen credentials to dig to a heart of a matter. Forwards, those between Nos1 and 8, need elementary reminders of what they suffered in Dublin. And an even easier instruction: “Put it right.” Adam Jones has promised. And in Adam, doom-laden Wales contingency still trust.

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Setbacks, pain and ire put England’s Danny Care on a highway to Six Nations …

Danny Care has drawn on memories of pain and ire to mortar him behind on to England’s ‘most wanted’ list .

The Harlequins scrum-half has been a pushing force in a initial dual rounds of Six Nations matches, harassing France and Scotland with his trickery.

Prior to those games he had started only one for England in a year, slipping down a pecking sequence behind Lee Dickson and Ben Youngs.

Yet he will be one of a initial names on a group piece when Stuart Lancaster picks his side to face Ireland during Twickenham a week today.

It is a tie to send a shudder adult his spine after what happened in 2009 when his sin-binning in Dublin caused afterwards trainer Martin Johnson to explode.

Johnson crushed his fist on a dais in ire during a steer of Care costing England their possibility of feat by charging fast into a ruck.

That was followed in 2011 by a damaged toe statute him out of his initial World Cup.

David Rogers

Back: Care scores a dump idea during a RBS Six Nations compare between Scotland and England


In hindsight, however, that distress has been a creation of a actor he has become.

Care’s rebirth is a delight for aspiration over adversity.

“The coaches have now put their faith in me,” he said. “It’s a good thing to go out there meaningful they trust in me.

“I demeanour behind to when we was sin-binned in 2009. we don’t consider I’ll ever get Johnno’s face out of my head.

“As for a World Cup it was distressing for me to skip it – so tough to take.

“It didn’t go good for a boys, though I’d have still desired to have been there.

“Representing your nation during a World Cup is all we dream of.”

There have also been off-field issues for Care, 27, along a way, though with a full support of Quins trainer Conor O’Shea he has come out a other side.

“When we go out in an England shirt there’s so most vigour to perform,” he added.

“There’s times I’ve only been given a diversion to come in and make a large impact and substantially attempted too tough and finished adult creation mistakes.

“Experience has taught me you’re a lot improved off only relaxing into it and going out there to play your game.

“That’s what I’m perplexing to do during a moment.”

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Six Nations 2014: England wander as Scotland take back step

Five mins before kick-off during Murrayfield, internal favourites a Red Hot Chilli Pipers chose to perform a masses by blustering out their bagpipe-heavy chronicle of Journey’s soft-rock anthem Don’t Stop Believin’.

It was perhaps, in retrospect, an unlucky choice of tune. Within 10 mins even those Scots who had arrived believin’ – and that wasn’t many – were removal of hope.

Before a half was up, things had got so bad that there was usually dishonesty – during a unfit line-outs, during a disease of penalties, of a panic to flog a turn divided to nowhere on a few occasions it could be snatched behind off a English.

Just 3% of a compare was played in England’s 22. Those are a arrange of numbers that even ageing soft-rockers from San Francisco can know as ugly.

They kept coming. Scotland mislaid 5 of their possess line-outs, missed 27 tackles and conceded 16 penalties. The barbarous parasitic worms that have wrecked a Murrayfield territory hold onto a turn for longer.

These Calcutta Cup contests in Edinburgh’s cold, damp welcome aren’t ostensible to be pretty. They mostly destroy to furnish a try. No-one unequivocally minds, given it is about a ferocity of adversary and conflict rather than honeyed hands and swallow dives.

What they are not ostensible to be is quiet, or a stroll, or an comfortable thoroughfare to unarguable victory.

England’s 20-0 win

on a typically dour Saturday dusk was all those and more. That a domain could have been doubled though too many bitch was both a source of service and pain for a chastened home support.

Luther Burrell dives over to measure England's opening try during Murrayfield

Luther Burrell dives over to measure England’s opening try during Murrayfield

Both Luther Burrell and Mike Brown could have had other tries to supplement to their second in dual championship matches. Replacement scrum-half Lee Dickson slipped with a try-line within reaching distance. Owen Farrell’s capricious balance and aim left 9 points out there in penalties alone.

If that speaks of a small profligacy, it is roughly a usually critique that can be directed during Stuart Lancaster’s men. If

last week in Paris

had been a box of what if and what should have been, this was a matter of what they are: a absolute and enterprising pack, associated to an increasingly sparkling backline, related by a scrum-half in career-best form and a fly-half whose placement and lurch continues to warn his critics.

Not given a excellence days of a decade and some-more behind have England hexed a brazen section with as many intensity and depth. As opposite France 7 days before, Dylan Hartley was accurate and energetic, Courtney Lawes inhuman in a tackle, Chris Robshaw stubborn during a breakdown.

None still were as eye-catching as Billy Vunipola – not usually for his 16 carries, or a approach that defenders seem to rebound off him or get dragged along, even if attached, like rugby’s chronicle of remora fish, though for his unconstrained off-loads: behind of a hand, turn a defender, mind and turn always alive.

It constructed possession during gait for England’s half-backs to relish. Care, usually as he did in Paris, kept that lurch high. Just as in Paris, he nailed a impertinent drop-goal; after his daub and go had led to a try for Brown then, so his run and pass into a pointed run of Burrell brought England’s initial this time.

The backs have not always been a many celebrated success of Lancaster’s reign. With a gait of Jonny May and venerable using of Jack Nowell, a battering force of Burrell, a hands of Billy Twelvetrees and a continued lurch and step of Brown, that might be about to change.

Official compare stats









5 (0)

Scrums won (lost)

6 (0)

7 (5)

Line-outs won (lost)

22 (2)


Pens conceded


72 (1)

Rucks Mauls won (lost)

80 (6)


Possession kicked


111 (27)

Tackles finished (missed)

109 (11)





Line breaks


(provided by Accenture)

Pickings opposite a

revitalised Ireland

in a fortnight are doubtful to be as easy.

Scotland rugby supporters are not intrinsic barricade-stormers; better has turn an unwelcome though informed habit. But in a humid Edinburgh air, among a well-heeled and naturally conservative, there was genuine annoy during what their group have become.

Coach Scott Johnson certified thereafter that a scoreboard had flattered his team. He also wryly certified to a unbending neck from looking exclusively during one finish of a pitch, that rather abandoned a fact that his side were as trapped on their possess doorstep in a initial half as they were in a second.

Little that he has finished this week has finished many judicious sense. Despite a contemptible display in Dublin final Sunday, a usually brazen he forsaken was captain

Kelly Brown,

for a compare that was great out for his knowledge and leadership.

Those he did atonement gave him no pardon to do so again. Supporters can pardon singular lapses underneath impassioned duress. Scotland instead finished them continuous and rudimentary.

There was dog-legged defence. There were knock-ons and passes thrown into touch. There were spills, minimal thrills and copiousness of bellyaching.

David Denton, roughly alone among his team-mates, was carrying a decent diversion – some-more carries and some-more metres finished with them than anyone else in a blue shirt. Johnson’s response was to take him off with roughly half an hour still to play.

There have been singular Scottish sides in a past. What they have roughly zodiacally managed to find for this tie is a passion that has been transformative; declare the

rain-soaked conflict in 2000

that both denied England a Grand Slam and dodged a Wooden Spoon, or the

15-9 toil in 2008

that flustered an England group that had been World Cup finalists reduction than 6 months before.

Not this time. Maybe a aged nationalistic certainties have been eroded. Second quarrel Jim Hamilton, innate in Swindon, plays for Montpellier; winger Tommy Seymour, innate in a United States, played for Ireland during under-19 level. The manager is Australian and a forwards manager Welsh.

But these trans-border complications are not disdainful to Scotland, as




own routes into a white jersey illustrate. Once again, usually dual matches into a Six Nations, usually a outing to Italy is expected to mount between them and serve ignominy. New coach

Vern Cotter

cannot start shortly enough.

And England? They will trust there is some-more to come, usually as they might finish this championship woeful that late detriment to France even some-more than they do now.

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Six Nations 2014: Jonathan Davies’s Team of a Week

The second turn of Six Nations matches helped to arrange out a contenders from a also-rans, with Ireland and France progressing 100% starts while Scotland and Italy suffered second defeats.

Ireland followed adult their opening win over Scotland by

brushing aside fortifying champions Wales

with startling palliate in Dublin.

England recovered from their first-day better in Paris with an equally

comfortable feat over Scotland

to boost their possess pretension hopes.

But France sojourn a usually other side detached from Ireland who can win a Grand Slam after

dispatching Italy in Paris.

The misery of Wales and Scotland’s performances see conjunction nation yield any players for Jonathan Davies’s Team of a Week, that facilities 7 who are in it for the

second week running.


England full-back Mike Brown

Rob Kearney had an glorious diversion for Ireland, though Brown played good good again in formidable conditions during Murrayfield. He has carried on where he left off in a autumn: really plain in a air, a hazard when he runs a turn behind and scored a try for a second week in a row.

Did we know?

Brown done some-more metres (114 from 11 carries) than any other actor conflicting a 3 matches this weekend.


Andrew Trimble

Trimble didn’t have too many opportunities though showed what he could do with one side-stepping run off his wing past several Wales players that roughly brought a try, and chased any kick, that was critical in gripping a vigour on, given Ireland’s tactics.

Did we know?

Trimble was left out of Joe Schmidt’s initial 34-man patrol when a new manager took over for final autumn’s Tests. He done 63m with turn in palm conflicting Wales, second usually to Rob Kearney (79m).


England centre Luther Burrell

Burrell might be new to Test rugby though he ran some good lines and was rewarded with another try from a well-timed run on a angle. He scarcely scored again, and seems to be training fast during this level.

Did we know?

Burrell had his initial ambience of general rugby

playing Sevens for a West Indies

(his father Geoff is Jamaican) while he was out on loan during Championship side Rotherham.


France centre Wesley Fofana dives over to measure conflicting Italy

Stamped his category on a diversion in Paris with a good taken try. He also claimed a interception that led to France’s third try, and shielded good when a Italians threatened.

Did we know?

Fofana has now scored 7 tries in 12 Six Nations games given his entrance in 2012. He done some-more metres (95) than any other French actor conflicting Italy, from usually 8 touches of a ball.


England wing Jonny May

May carried a turn good and looked a risk any time he cut behind in off his left wing. An fugitive runner, it will be engaging to see him on a dry day during Twickenham, as he clearly has a gait to difficulty sides.

Did we know?

May was personification conflicting Scotland usually a week after violation his nose conflicting France. He was second usually to Mike Brown in terms of metres done (80) during Murrayfield.


Jonny Sexton

Owen Farrell did good for England again though Sexton put on a tactical master-class conflicting Wales, quite in a initial half. Against Scotland we saw how his using diversion can be a disproportion though a correctness of his kicking kept Wales pinned behind on their heels.

Did we know?

Sexton has nailed 10 of his 12 kicks during idea in this Six Nations (83%). His 333 Test points put him third on Ireland’s all-time list, behind Ronan O’Gara (1,083) and David Humphreys (560).


Danny Care

He usually carried on from where he left off conflicting France a prior week. Knocked over a intelligent early drop-goal, combined Burrell’s try after a forwards had put him in position, and set a dash for England. Also done his satisfactory share of tackles (nine).

Did we know?

Care was

part of Sheffield Wednesday’s academy

before branch his behind on football as a 14-year-old. He finished adult during Leeds, when stream England manager Stuart Lancaster was in charge.


Cian Healy

Angela De Marchi had a clever diversion for Italy though a Leinster loose-head was plain in a scrum, partial of a good Irish mauling section that brought dual tries and was good around a park with several clever charges.

Did we know?

Healy has missed usually one of Ireland’s 22 Six Nations matches given his entrance during a start of a 2010 debate – final year’s diversion conflicting Scotland, after he was

banned for stamping.


England harlot Dylan Hartley

Hartley had another clever all-round game. He was unblemished during a set-pieces, carried a turn good and was partial of an considerable England container that strangled a life out of Scotland.

Did we know?

England had a 100% success rate from 20 line-outs in a 70 mins Hartley was on a margin conflicting Scotland. They mislaid dual out of 4 after he went off.


Italy column Martin Castrogiovanni

‘Castro’ done his participation felt in a initial half conflicting France, popping his conflicting series Thomas Domingo out of a scrum as Italy won a integrate of penalties during scrum-time. His work-rate around a margin was good too [he was Italy’s joint-top tackler with 10].

Did we know?

Castrogiovanni and Sergio Parisse assimilated Andrea Lo Cicero as Italy’s many capped player, personification in their 103rd Tests conflicting France. They are among 5 Italians to have won some-more than 100 caps.


Ireland close Paul O'Connell takes a line-out

He done a outrageous disproportion to a Irish opening after blank a win over Scotland. Instrumental in a dual catch-and-drive line-outs that led to Ireland’s tries, he helped lift a power of those around him.

Did we know?

Despite withdrawal a margin after 54 minutes, O’Connell was Ireland’s third top tackler with 10, behind Jamie Heaslip (12) and Chris Henry (11).


Courtney Lawes

Another widespread arrangement from a Northampton lock, who put himself about to good effect. He was unblemished during a line-out and played a large partial in messing adult Scotland’s turn as well. Also carried a turn good and is starting to demeanour like a actor everybody suspicion he would be.

Did we know?

Lawes has won some-more line-outs (14) than any other actor to date in this year’s Six Nations. He took 11 during Murrayfield, and also carried a turn 11 times.


Ireland flanker Peter O'Mahony

Man of a compare conflicting Wales, he was a widespread figure during a tackle area, where he got over a turn and forced several turnovers and penalties. Was clearly pumped adult for it and did all a nitty-gritty things that authorised Ireland to win so absolutely in a end.

Did we know?

O’Mahony, still usually 24, led Ireland on their North American debate final summer while comparison players were divided with a British and Irish Lions and also took over a captaincy of Munster this season.


England flanker Chris Robshaw

The England captain was partial of a really certain opening in wily conditions during Murrayfield and put in another large 80-minute shift, creation his tackles, joining adult play and marshalling a infantry well.

Did we know?

Robshaw has carried a Calcutta Cup after any of his 3 Tests conflicting Scotland. He done 13 tackles during Murrayfield, second usually to fly-half Owen Farrell (14) for England.


Billy Vunipola

Louise Picamoles put in a decent change for France though this man is usually an overwhelming ball-carrier. He creates yardage by a heaviest traffic, and has copiousness of ability to go with it too. One offload turn a behind of a Scottish actor was high class.

Did we know?

Vunipola carried a turn some-more times (16) than any actor during this weekend’s matches. Only Sergio Parisse (34, to Vunipola’s 33) has done some-more carries conflicting a initial dual rounds of fixtures.

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Six Nations 2014: England better was annoying though Scotland merit Six …

“Sometimes professionalism puts we into this disguise of confidence whereby they
are removing paid on Saturday and they arise adult a subsequent day and they will
pitch adult during Murrayfield currently for a warm-down session.

“There was a duration of time when players would go behind to work on a Monday and
be slaughtered, not usually by a press though by their colleagues during work and be
stopped in a high streets of a limit towns to be asked what went wrong.

“People do sexually caring about a diversion and that is what creates it all the
more sorrowful when there is zero to hearten about during Murrayfield. That is
when people utterly righteously start delving below.”

Hastings pronounced critics were right to doubt a “baffling” selections and
“bamboozling” replacements done by Scotland’s conduct manager Scott Johnson
during a 20-0 better by England.

And while he certified there was a flourishing regard among former players about
the instruction and diversion devise of a stream team, he felt Scotland could
still get out of their “current hole” and be a rival force again
despite flourishing foe for a place during a tip list in destiny years
from other European countries such as Georgia, Portugal, Spain, Russia and

“Let’s be utterly frank, if Georgia came in and took Scotland’s position are
they going to broach 60,000 supporters, a ardent assembly and support
base?” Hasting added. “Quite honestly they are not.

“The Six Nations Championship is well-established. Italy have come in and they
have not accurately set a heather land either.

“But positively Wales, Ireland, England and France are intensely competitive
and during a impulse Scotland and Italy have been personification out in this arrange of
‘wooden spoon’ competition.

“I wish that a cycle will change. When France were initial invited into the
old Five Nations Championship, they did not win it for 20-odd years. So
hopefully a cycle of players will come round, and a coaches come round
and Scotland will improve.

Hastings added: “What a players have got to realize is that there is a
responsibility for them to broach with a unchanging performance. Just as
the Irish players, either they be from Limerick, Dublin or Belfast, are
delivering a passion and core values week-in, week-out. That seems to be a
successful model.

“The Aviva Premiership exposes a England players to a high power game
and nonetheless a Welsh regions are struggling with a conflict with their union
but a actor bottom is there, even if some of them are holding contracts up

“Scotland, with usually dual veteran teams have got to be really clever in
terms of how they are managed and how rival they can be in future
seasons since it is also about pathways as well.”

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