BBC BLOGS - Bryn Palmer

Archives for March 2011

Six Nations 2011 - How was it for you?

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Bryn Palmer | 13:37 UK time, Monday, 21 March 2011

So what have we learned from this Six Nations?

Well, let's take it country by country first, and then we'll have a few awards, and then a team of the tournament.

England are on the up, and deserved to be crowned champions, but still have a way to go before they can be confident of consistently beating the best teams in the world. Their defence and set-pieces were strong, so too their willingness to attack.

France were France, starting and finishing in style but in between failing to go the distance against England, which was understandable, and Italy, which was unthinkable. Powerful but inconsistent, and hampered by Marc Lievremont's selectorial tinkering.

Ireland were scratchy, but produced probably the most sustained passage of high-intensity rugby of the tournament against England. They also found a scrum, and had the best defence. Regrets for sure, but with big players back to form, more to come.

Wales won a game more than last year but still finished in the bottom three for the 10th time in 12 years. They kicked more ball, and conceded more penalties, than anyone. Still have the players to do better, but some serious tactical thinking required.

Scotland should spend less time talking about what they can do, and more time doing it better. They won only one game for the fifth year in a row. More off-loads in the tackle than anyone, but couldn't hang onto the ball. But six tries was twice last year's tally.

Italy could have won three matches, but the one they did was the highlight of the Championship. Until they have greater strength in playing numbers, will always struggle for consistency, but beating France was deserved reward for their contribution.

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England bear scars as Slam hopes go down the pan

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Bryn Palmer | 23:37 UK time, Saturday, 19 March 2011


The distinctive shape of Ireland's shiny new Aviva Stadium has caused some locals to liken it to a bed-pan. England's Grand Slam hopes certainly disappeared down it at an alarming rate of knots.

Some of Martin Johnson's side managed to raise a smile as they were presented with England's first Six Nations trophy since 2003 in their hotel on Saturday evening, after Wales' defeat in Paris.

Once the dust has settled, that might be seen as adequate reward for their improvement over the last 12 months.

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England primed for Dublin date with destiny

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Bryn Palmer | 22:01 UK time, Thursday, 17 March 2011

"I said to them at the start of it, 'This is a great week. It is going to be tense, but let's enjoy it'."

Judging by the mood 48 hours before their Dublin date with destiny, England's players have taken Martin Johnson's words to heart.

The effervescent Chris Ashton is regaling journalists as usual. Shontayne Hape is joshing with Ben Foden about 'bagging' the music of Foden's girlfriend's band The Saturdays.
Steve Thompson is joking about the "bunch of fossils" among the England replacements, and memories of the last time they headed across the Irish Sea on Grand Slam business.

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