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Six Nations 2024, Round One Analysis

In a bizarre round one of the 6 Nations, (a) France implode and Ireland remind us how well the game can be played; (b) Italy outscore England 3 tries to two and lose, just and (c) Sam Costello plays quarterback in the first half and Wales squeezed the oranges 27-0 down.

Check out Mike’s analysis of round one of the Six Nations below.

Ireland v France (17-38)

My thoughts when watching Ireland was, “wow this lot can play.”

The style which first became apparent on the successful tour to New Zealand is now embedded throughout the squad. Ireland ticked many boxes. They play comfortably on the advantage line, with patience, composure and build pressure. Ireland wins quick ball and contests every ruck. Player awareness is more evident, and they make positives decisions under pressure.

Running those very slight changes of angle proved an effective weapon, highlighted by Tadhg Byrne’s try.

“I remember when the Dutch introduced total football and we all marveled at the way they played.” Irelands style could rescue the rugby Union product and win some doubters back.

There is quality off the bench and how many forwards in the other 3 teams would get a place in the Irish pack?
France have issues, but they’ve always had issues! If they can keep 15 on the pitch, they will probably beat Scotland. Le Garrec is a class player at scrum half.

As a coach about to embark on a coaching visit to Europe and England, my adrenalin is flowing, and fast.

Italy v England (24-27)

A few good bits, lots of average bits, some promising young players introduced, but England were outscored by 3 tries to two.

The half time talk improved the defensive urgency and line speed, but props in phase play should not defend outside the second rows. If it’s slow ball, there is time to interchange. Always good to have a Kiwi in the back row. Earl is not a No 8 and he and Underhill barely got mentioned.

I would expect changes at 8, 7, 10, 12 next week. Steward may go or we get a backs coach who can use him in phase play attack. With some very promising young players, selection and blending will be the issue. I hope Borthwick has the courage to play them.

Wales v Scotland (26-27)

Whoever decided Sam Costello should stand 15 meters behind the ruck and punt the ball high and downfield needs sectioning! Every Welsh player was in front of him!

Welsh tactics ensured Russell would be the first pick for the Lions. Under no pressure he is a delight to watch. He has vision and the technique to back it up. His weight of pass and timing is sublime.

The way to play against Russell is to go man to man. Sacrifice a back row forward from the unit and go man to man. Hunt him down wherever he goes.

The content of the half time oranges needs testing. Wales came out like men possessed and Scotland became transfixed. Wales decided to return to honoring their forefathers and give rugby union a go. Sadly 26 points was not quite enough, but at least they might beat England next week.

My tips for next week:

Ireland by a lot.
England by a kick.
France by a try.

About Mike Penistone

Mike has coached at all levels of the game, from under-7's through to elite international players at the highest level, in both the northern and southern hemispheres. A few notable positions include serving as Head Coach for Great Britain Students (Rugby League), Head Coach at Nottingham RUFC and Head of Elite Player Development at Leicester Tigers Academy. Mike also served as the U21's Coach at the NSW Warratahs and Director of Coaching at Eastern Suburbs Sydney. He continues to coach across the globe running his consultancy. Check out his website: here. View all posts by Mike Penistone

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