The 6 Nations were all in action yesterday and it turned out to be not too bad with 4 sides winning.
Excluding England, the games were all close with the total points difference for the other 5 matches adding up to just 22 – 12 of which were in the Ireland v All Blacks match in Dublin.
Despite the closeness of the results it is reasonable to say that the gap between the Southern and Northern Hemispheres is a lot narrower than the one that existed at the World Cup semi-finals last October
The biggest shock yesterday was Italy turning over the Springboks 20-18 underlining just how far South Africa have fallen since the WC. In the semi -final they lost to the All Blacks by a mere 2 points. They finished up third after beating Argentina by 24-13.
Turns out a year can be a really long time in International rugby!
Wales and Scotland needed last gap kicks to beat Japan and Argentina, games they could easily have lost.
The big one was in Dublin – Ireland went down to a very abrasive All Blacks, who were smarting from the Chicago defeat. NZ were lucky to only get two yellow cards but showed why they are the World Champions.
Ireland suffered more injuries and failed to breach the AB line – they will, however, be a right handful in the 6 Nations!
England scored 9 tries but will be more concerned about the three soft ones they conceded.
Having said that, Eddie Jones will doubtless be pleased with the obvious strength in depth that the team now have – plus the news that Maro, Manu and George Kruis are all to start playing again in the next few weeks.
I would have given the ‘Man of the Match’ to George Ford – his control and passing was exceptional and he nailed the myth that he can’t tackle too!
Of my 6 predictions I got 5 right – the one I was pleased to cock up happened in Rome – full marks to Connor O’Shea and Mike Catt