Joe Schmidt (picture http://bit.ly/1aIjTW4)
Sundays win over England is easily one of the most satisfying wins of recent years. There was France in Paris last year, there was South Africa and Australia in the Autumn, but this was rich in flavour, with notes of yeah boy! We seemed to cope pretty easily with everything England had to throw at us, and it was them that were struggling to make ground or play with any fluency. There was a mighty shift from the loose forwards, especially the young guns Murphy and O’Donnell, epic performances from O’Connell and Best, MOTM for Henshaw, and brilliant from Murray and Zebo. But the MC was Jonny Sexton, kicking out of his skin, controlling and directing the game, and putting in some mean tackling of his own. Let’s face it, Ireland have the best coach in the world now in Joe Schmidt. England just wilted under the pressure, and with a few exceptions, mainly Billy Vunipola and Alex Goode at the back, they were out of ideas. They are missing players, put Courney Walsh, Mike Brown and Manu Tuallagi back in and they’d be a lot more competitive, but that’s for a another day, for now it’s Ireland s turn to savour a sweet, sweet victory.
And Ireland’s ladies also beat England, what a weekend!
Scotland will up in the Hague for committing war crimes against a perfectly innocent win against Italy. They tortured the poor win, and their fans, until it expired in the last minute of the game – that after leading 10 nil after 10 minutes. It was easily their worse performance of the tournament,, and while Italy weren’t exactly in scintillating form themselves, they at least made less mistakes.
Wales played out a smart win in Paris, keeping it tight and strangling the life out of the French. France played like they’d been introduced to each other for the first time shortly before kick off. I was going to say that I was surprised with how easily, Wales beat France, but really, nothing is surprising about France anymore. All set up perfectly now for the Millenium stadium in two weeks!
Saturday, February 28
Scotland 19 - 22 Italy 14:30
France 13 - 20 Wales 17:00
Sunday, March 01
Ireland 19 - 9 England 15:00