We can safely say that the Rugby World Cup will be epic. Enough teams have worked out that high intensity attacking rugby will be the only way to win. Some sides are fine-tuning their approach and we saw that this weekend. One or two others are yet to start…
When Ireland won at Twickenham in their first match following England’s Rugby World Cup triumph in 2003, we joked that only Ireland could peak the best side in the world after the World Cup had ended!
Just as we are all ruminating on the right structures to give England rugby success, some fascinating takes have appeared in the press on the England coaching job by Rob Baxter and then Mark McCall.
I said it was complicated and in a whole generation of English rugby, only three groups have ever been really successful and all three had the same characteristics.
Rugby romance, drama and crass stupidity at the close in Cardiff was a stunning feature of an ultimately predictable Six Nations as France and Ireland were streets ahead of the rest. I am not one for shouting at the television, and hardly when Wales is playing Italy.
The 2022 Six Nations Championship lurched into its final weekend with no shortage of drama. I say that because there was immense frustration as well as variations on the level of discipline needed to succeed at this level.
It may not have been a World Cup but Ian Foster, the All Blacks coach, emphasised that they want to win every match. If other teams, including most notably England, needed to understand the levels they need to attain, look no further than Lansdowne Road on Saturday.
Some say that Ireland is God’s own country and certainly the rugby gods smiled on them with a clean sweep of European wins this past weekend, a triumphant National team this autumn and the good news goes on, it’s no coincidence.
As if the drama of England’s near miss over the All Blacks two weekends ago wasn’t enough, the Springbok’s two tries (one disallowed) in overtime eventually killed off a valiant French challenge in Paris. But more was to come as Ireland finally lived up to a favourite’s billing by downing the men in Black last Saturday evening and installed themselves as the team to beat next year in Japan.
The Rugby world has been so busy this season it has been hard to keep up. Here is what has caught my eye so far