Thursday 15 March 2007

St. Patrick's day

This is gonna be awesome, screw the parade, Ireland may actually win the six nations for once. On a day that features all three of the last round matches Ireland open proceedings at the stadio Flamino against an Italian side on a bit of a high following their first back to back victories in the six nations, sorry the first time they've managed to win two games in the six nations full-stop. Despite losing our wee talisman Paul O'Connel to injury to be replaced by the donkey that is Mick O'Driscoll the Irish should have no difficulty in dispatching an albeit confident Italian side. Then again I thought the exact same thing about the Scottish game... but the Italians have lost Mauro Bergamasco and Canale to a citing order and injury respectively and in a team devoid of depth in every position bar the front row for some reason, that's a huge blow for ze Azzurri. On an ideal day Ireland turn up determined to thump the Italians after that shocker in Murrayfield and Italy disintegrate without Bergamasco as we put up 50 points on them and win the tournament. Worst case scenario... well technically Italy can still win the whole six nations....

The second game on the bill is France versus Scotland in Paris... I really don't think anything short of divine intervention is gonna stop the French from racking up a cricket score against this beleaguered Scottish team. Yes, plucky Scotland drove Ireland close but with fairness it was more because we chose, for some insane reason, to lower ourselves to Scotland's standards. The Irish midfield exposed their backline badly at times, seemingly scything through at ease whenever they felt like it. Whereas we didn't finish them off, France are going to be ruthless. Losing to England, the joke team of this six nations, would've hurt that French pride so I'm expecting a backlash against Scotland. Being in Paris, I predict a massacre... but I'm hoping I'm wrong and Scotland do their trick of kicking penalties and somehow boring the French team into submission. I have a feeling that unless Ireland set the bar hilariously high by walloping Italy by 50+ points the six nations will yet again belong to the damn frogs.

The last game of the tournament is Wales against England in Cardiff. By the final whistle in the other two games this could well be just a formality. England, presuming Ireland and France both win, need both of their tournament rivals to win by only three or four points for them to even have a chance of clinching the championship in Wales. That being said they'd still need to win by 40/50 points against the Welsh to then win the tournament on points difference which I really don't see happening. The English are sticking with the same pack that beat the French and have made two changes to their backline, Cueto comes in for Lewsey at full-back and Tait comes in for the injured Tindall at outside centre. Despite the resurgence England seemed to show against France this match is still gonna be very tight. The Welsh'll be determined to go out with at least one win, and they're obviously not gonna want to lose to England in Cardiff. The English are looking to re-establish themselves as potential world cup contenders and will be looking to make an example out of a floundering Welsh team, who are staring the wooden spoon in the face.

All things considered its gonna be an interesting Paddys day, with three teams potentially able to clinch the six nations on the last weekend. I still believe England don't have a snowball's chance in Hell of winning it and if they did it'd be the greatest injustice ever witnessed in world sport, ever. The fact that Italy could win the whole thing is something I find hilarious but highly improbable, they'd need to beat us by c. 80 points. It is really between France and Ireland, and although my heart says we'll do it... my brain says we're gonna bottle while the French'll tear Scotland a new one in Paris. I hope I'm wrong...

1 comment:

David said...

Yeh macka, I hope i'll get to see this game, its exciting. I think that there are too many things going against us. Firstly, we're missing POC who has been a real leader in the last two games. It also really weakens our pack and since we are playing one of the best packs in the world, that is not good at all.

Also, Ireland never put a lot of points on italy, especially in Rome. They've always kept it tight for most of the game. Also, irish teams in all sports are fucking rubbish are racking up the big wins, we just aren't clinical enough. Also, we have seen the irish team bottle once already when the championship was there to be won.

Also, we have an early kick off, which means we have no idea how many points we'll need. Early games are always drab and have no atmosphere.

Italy are much better than Scotland

France are playing at home and will know what they need. They are the most clinical team in europe. There is no way they are not destroying Scotland.

Which all means that Ireland are going to have to show the controlled fury and intensity they had against England to pull off the type of score they will need. They have shown they are capable of doing it, but i'm not confident they have a strong enough mentality.

This is a game for Neil Best imo. Come on Ireland!