NWR 6N 2021.

Scotland played very well and definitely deserved to win (by even more) but England were very poor.

Eddie starting 5 Saracens players who haven’t played in 9 weeks and clearly weren’t match fit did not help. Time to shake it up a bit, he’s not picking the in form players and it’s been an issue for some time (just papered over by scraping wins). England have rarely looked good with Farrell at 10 and he was poor again yesterday.
 
Not sure I’d blame Farrell at 10 for yesterday’s mess. They simply didn’t establish any forward platform from which to mount an attack of any kind. Any time they got in a position to do so they gave the ball away either with missed passes, knock ons, penalties or line outs missed. Nothing any fly half could have done yesterday when all he would have been doing was tackling.
 
Not sure I’d blame Farrell at 10 for yesterday’s mess. They simply didn’t establish any forward platform from which to mount an attack of any kind. Any time they got in a position to do so they gave the ball away either with missed passes, knock ons, penalties or line outs missed. Nothing any fly half could have done yesterday when all he would have been doing was tackling.
I agree in some senses that he had little to work with most of the time but it doesn’t really stand up as an argument when you look at how poor his kicks were, and the overlaps he flat out ignored on several occasions. His worst performance in the shirt by some distance - we’ve had rough forward platforms before and he’s done far better.

I was very skeptical of the Saracens contingent playing ahead of the game and unfortunately my concerns came to pass. Two months not playing is not a viable option at test level.

England must move on from Billy - he’s not effective in the new game of much more dynamic 8s. I remember EJ bemoaned him for being a poor trainer when he first joined as coach, indicating that he only gained fitness by playing.....! His place in the squad is not justified versus the wealth of top class options we have now.

Scotland played well and the score line is not at all representative of the game as has been said already, but there was some maddening decision making too which made it really frustrating. I fall into the camp of it being a pretty dour game - few people will rewatch that in full in a hurry in my opinion. The first round of the 6N rarely hosts a classic game.

A plucky performance by Wales so far - I’m quite enjoying this contest.
 
Well played Wales. Two great tries made sure they took advantage of having the man up. A moment of lunacy by O Mahony, he it's not like him.

A great response by Ireland making a game of it after the incident. But Wales played Ireland at their own game at the break down and made the man up count. Two classic Welsh tries and more effective defence gave them the game.
 
In a purist sense it wasn't a particularly good performance by Wales despite how entertaining the tooing and froing was - that punt at the end of the game to gift posession was mind boggling, only eclipsed by the next punt into the dead ball zone! It's interesting, lots of games this weekend, club included, have had some really below par decision making on an individual level. I do wonder how much effect the removal of a crowd has when normalising one's mindset for matchday thinking.

Scotland are surely odds on favourites to batter Wales next weekend, and I expect a confident France are going to completely dismantle a nervous Ireland. I anticipate an unconvincing win from England against Italy from an EJ selection devoid of ambition for change.
 
I suspect many a Scotland fan was having kittens when instead of just going through the phases with a minute left, they needlessly went for a drop goal which went belly up, and could easily have ended up being a try for England! But Scotland deserved it, no question.
For some strange reason :rolleyes: it is seen as a badge of honour for a Scotsman to score anything against England. ;)
 
Plenty of good young players in England ...why keep the old guard and not give time to the next generation to develop before next WC?
I don't think the recent additions have shone, so I'd not be as hopeful it would be a good time to add youngsters. Perhaps England need to get their coaching team settled again first, then look ahead to the direction they want to take the team, and who will be part of it. That will need a focus on the next generation.

What feels certain, is the likes of Sinckler and Underhill will be welcomed back when available. No-one has made a case in their absence. Launchbury might have been one player they were wanting to look beyond, but I think he'll be back in the fold when fit as well.

Meanwhile France feel like very strong candidates for a Grand Slam. They might now feel Scotland pose a genuine threat, but Wales, England and even Ireland won't be giving them great concern.
 
Difficult to say - but perhaps there is a way of outlawing what I call the hippopotamus charge into a well established ruck. My concern is player safety. Most people on the opposing side of the ruck will be low, sometimes with their head down, and rarely in a position to fend off or avoid a shoulder first flying entry, so the game needs to ensure that dangerous head contact is minimized. The aftermath of serial concussions is shocking and has to be addressed.
 
True Dan, but I think there needs to be a rule change to stop players going into an established ruck from a distance, off their feet, and shoulder first. That never ends up well and is just dangerous - every time.
At least the ref’ing decision for both red cards was consistent. The win was there for the taking still by the Scots. I think Wales are not that special but some how have managed 2/2 wins which has to be commended.
Rees-Zammit’s try was a touch of genius, hard to believe he is 20 years old.
 

Tom Cannavan

Administrator
Scotland's first try was an absolutely beautiful thing to watch, and i am still not sure how a 17-3 lead was overturned, but no denying the young Welshman's talent or that there was not much in it by the end of 82 minutes.
 
Looked like the scots were pretty hard done by with the red card.
It was exactly the same situation as O Mahony, coming in at pace and clearing away. In O Mahonys he rode from right shoulder onto head, the momentum of going in at pace created that inability to control the area of impact. In the Scottish players impact, the Welsh player from the actions another Scot actually started moving upwards. So Fagerson was going in at a potentially dangerous height, which got even more dangerous.

The bottom line is you can't go charging in and clearing out like that anymore , the margins of error are too high. It is down to coaching to develop techniques to take this out of the game.

That aside it was a thrilling game to watch. Lee Zammit's second try was a thing of beauty. The run and then move to the inside looked like one motion. The lad has a mature head on young shoulders.

England? Better performance than last week, but still a shadow of their former self. One thing that disappointed for me was Farrell coming over from the wing to get involved in a skirmish in midfield. Not exactly the actions of a captain. Another great wingers try by May. It was definitely the day for them.
 
While it is always tough receiving a red card, the combination of increased player strength and the nature of the contacts leave the lawmakers little choice. I would however be an advocate of returning to rucking as it once was, there was only risk when players got onto the wrong side and got a shoeing for their troubles. It would remove the role of the jackal with all the risk that they have, as any form of neck roll or even crocodile roll is of no value. I also preferred old fashioned scrum engagement as less likely to cause injury to front rows. Remove substitutes at will as well and the game starts to have a more even match up in the tackle in terms of player fatigue. Or we just play sevens.
 
While it is always tough receiving a red card, the combination of increased player strength and the nature of the contacts leave the lawmakers little choice. I would however be an advocate of returning to rucking as it once was, there was only risk when players got onto the wrong side and got a shoeing for their troubles. It would remove the role of the jackal with all the risk that they have, as any form of neck roll or even crocodile roll is of no value. I also preferred old fashioned scrum engagement as less likely to cause injury to front rows. Remove substitutes at will as well and the game starts to have a more even match up in the tackle in terms of player fatigue. Or we just play sevens.

Some good challenges here. Rules makers have to always look beyond the immediate effect and consider what knock-on effects there will be in the game. FWIW I think Rugby lawmakers are better than most sports in this (and decades ahead of the inept FIFA). However the large number of substitutes has encouraged a serious bulking up of players, plus given them the chance to sub a tired player off. The net result is harder hits. It feels like there are more injuries as well - difficult to guess as accurate number, but perhaps 1.5 players per side being subbed off with an injury?

Solutions will be harder, and a complete abandoning of substitutes would in the short term see games decided by those that avoid injury the best. Not ideal for sure.

For me, the focus must be around reducing the short sharp head to head contacts and as well as the issues around the ruck, I'd also want to find a way to reduce the volume of close quarters pick & go moves. Not only are they a major risk for concussion, they're also dull as a spectacle. It's not easy to see the answer, as the consequences would have to be thought through (and trialled). Reducing the subs to (injury?) subs of a prop, loose forward and a single back might help, and props / hookers would once again be asked to train to cover other positions in the front row.

The overall aim of such changes would be to make gaps through tiredness of defences more prevalent, which would force teams to forego bulk in favour of broader athleticism and stamina. A faster game with fewer close quarter hits.

This feels a more natural way to address the issues, rather than trying to restrict the possession time of each attack, as surely that would end up with more kicking (another problem in the game), plus making it feel more artificial. Plus removing the possibility of a 25 phase attack going from one end of the pitch to the other would feel a genuine loss.
 
I think that reducing the number of substitutes and allowing substitutions for injury only would be a good step forward. I've mentioned before that perhaps there should be weight limitations by position, or at least a lightweight league/competitions which would probably be more entertaining than the hippopotamus vs. elephant contests. For instance, you'd almost certainly see a lot less pick and go moves in a lightweight contest. Credit where credit is due as Ian says, the rugby governing body has made some really positive steps towards tackling unnecessary head injuries. I still love the game, but it has to be played in such a way that bad head injuries become a rare thing.
 
It was exactly the same situation as O Mahony, coming in at pace and clearing away. In O Mahonys he rode from right shoulder onto head, the momentum of going in at pace created that inability to control the area of impact. In the Scottish players impact, the Welsh player from the actions another Scot actually started moving upwards. So Fagerson was going in at a potentially dangerous height, which got even more dangerous.

The bottom line is you can't go charging in and clearing out like that anymore , the margins of error are too high. It is down to coaching to develop techniques to take this out of the game.

That aside it was a thrilling game to watch. Lee Zammit's second try was a thing of beauty. The run and then move to the inside looked like one motion. The lad has a mature head on young shoulders.

England? Better performance than last week, but still a shadow of their former self. One thing that disappointed for me was Farrell coming over from the wing to get involved in a skirmish in midfield. Not exactly the actions of a captain. Another great wingers try by May. It was definitely the day for them.
Disagree. Mahony was pretty much a clear straight red card and very very few independent judges would disagree I’d imagine. Yesterday I thought it was yellow and I’m a welsh supporter. I think it was a bit harsh yesterday and very understandable and acceptable last week.
Wales were generally poor for periods of both games and struggled against 14 men both weeks at times. Seems we have found a way to win under Pivac.
 
While it is always tough receiving a red card, the combination of increased player strength and the nature of the contacts leave the lawmakers little choice. I would however be an advocate of returning to rucking as it once was, there was only risk when players got onto the wrong side and got a shoeing for their troubles. It would remove the role of the jackal with all the risk that they have, as any form of neck roll or even crocodile roll is of no value. I also preferred old fashioned scrum engagement as less likely to cause injury to front rows. Remove substitutes at will as well and the game starts to have a more even match up in the tackle in terms of player fatigue. Or we just play sevens.
Don’t disagree in many regards. Some rucking (stamping) was over the top but a one movement clear out I would rather than heads down over or targets for rockets at distance coming in. I am however from a playing era where it was acceptable and encouraged. Progresss has been made and player safety must be encouraged. I don’t want to go back to 1990s rugby when I started but a few elements give some nostalga.
 
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