England’s six Nations dominance has been established after beating France 24-12 in the TikTok Women’s Six Nations.
The World cup is on the horizon.
A seething black force waits in a land far away. A force undergoing change. A force with new leadership. A force determined to regain the premier position in World rugby. Winners of 5 of the last 6 World Cups.
Such is the determination of New Zealand rugby to retain the No 1 spot, proven men’s World cup winners Wayne Smith and Graham Henry have been drafted in to help prepare the Black Ferns.
Across the Tasman the Wallaroos warmed up with a test win against Fiji 36 – 19, in Brisbane. The flair and fluency of the Wallaroos contrasts with the technical competency of the Black Ferns.
England’s domination of rugby in the Northern Hemisphere has reverberated throughout the Southern Hemisphere.
What does a fourth successive Six Nations win for England mean? Do we now have 3 levels of play in the Northern hemisphere? England are firmly in front, France just below, with Scotland, Ireland, Wales, and Italy on an equal level. The final round of results would suggest so.
If this is true, then time is short for the sort of improvement necessary for Europe’s level 3 nations to be a threat at the World Cup.
Technical competency is vital if you want to win big! (Quality execution of the basics)
World cups are won over a series of games and then you must win the final. Squad depth is important. The team you start game one with is unlikely to be the one you finish the competition with. Therefore, the entire squad must be technically competent. We saw in the recent Olympics how accurately, and over distance the New Zealand women’s sevens squad were able to pass the ball.
England’s armoury will be dissected piece by piece with most attention being paid to stopping their driving maul. The role of the second man at the tackle contest in attack and defence will also receive attention.
The “chop” tackle will be used, off quick line speed in defence, to stop attackers generating speed.
England’s set piece hiccups of yesteryear have been eradicated, so they will start favourites for this year’s world cup.
France will offer a more adventurous playing style and if they can win their own set piece ball comfortably may be a danger.
Fiji are Fiji and, on their day, can bewilder opponents with their unorthodox, flamboyant approach. It is however high risk and prone to immediate counterattack if the ball is spilled. Australia and New Zealand will feed off this weakness.
So, the big four will contest the semi-finals, England, France, Australia, and New Zealand.
The professionalism of Women’s rugby across all Nations should guarantee continued improvement. There must be a supply line of players. Carefully constructed junior technical programmes and competitions, will equip players with the technical competency to move up to compete at a higher level.
Record crowds are watching women’s rugby. Increased sponsorship is sure to follow.
The Tik Tok women’s Six Nations is now firmly established in the rugby calendar, BUT it needs to be a series of competitive games if it is to maintain credibility and crowd support.
Coaching thought: “What you do affects others in the team. Go forward together.”