Rugby Kicks on to the Six Nations
The QBE Autumn Internationals are over, the southern hemisphere teams have put their markers down for the World Cup in 2015 and everyone’s focus in the north is on the Six Nations championship in 2015.
It’s been a season of subtle changes and small, morale boosting victories and everyone is putting a positive spin on their performances.
We heard a great summary on BBC Radio 4’s Today programme from former England captain Stewart Moody who was being quizzed by sports news legend Garry Richardson.
Ireland has a lot to celebrate, comfortably winning their matches against South Africa and Georgia, and beating Australia 26-23 to remain undefeated in their autumn games.
‘Ireland, above all the home nations sides, certainly performed the best, the consistency of their forward players… I think they’re probably in the favourite spot going into this campaign,’ said former England captain Stewart Moody, speaking on BBC Radio 4’s Today.
England haven’t exactly shone, but neither have they been obliterated (that honour surely goes to the USA for losing 68 points to New Zealand). Having won against Australia at the end of November, England have gained a significant boost to morale, despite a disappointing campaign.
Moody described the game as a ‘banana skin’ which ‘could have been a tricky one and I think that now that they’ve left that game, after having seen the guys after the match at the weekend they’re actually in great spirits and they can leave the Autumn Series with a win under their belt.’
Wales have had a varied autumn series, winning against South Africa and Fiji by small margins, losing fractionally to Australia, and managing to score only half as many points as the All Blacks in their game at Cardiff’s Millennium Stadium.
Their opening match of the RBS Six Nations is in Cardiff, against England at 20:00 on Friday 6th Feb. As a guide, flying time to Cardiff is about 60 minutes from London.
A strong win against Tonga and a decent lead over Argentina will likely put Scotland in good spirits, with one loss to – you guessed it – New Zealand in the middle of November.
‘Scotland have come on leaps and bounds, certainly in the last three that I’ve seen them play and that sets up the Six Nations quite nicely,’ Moody told Today.
Although France didn’t feature in this series of internationals they managed to beat Australia 29-26 and Fiji but lost to Argentina, a team they find hard to overcome. In the European leagues their domestic teams are doing very well and, with rugby becoming more popular in France, a trip to the Parc des Princes in Paris well worth it.
Wales and Scotland will the the two visiting teams this season and it is a 90 minute flight from London. We recently organised a surprise birthday trip to Paris for 15 people, you can read about it here
The Hemispheres Will Collide in the World Cup
As far as the bigger picture is concerned, the Southern hemisphere teams may have something to worry about as the balance of power seems to be levelling out. Northern hemisphere teams won 6 matches to the Southern’s eight, with a total points tally from those matches coming out at 309-324 respectively.
Could the time of Southern dominance be drawing to a close? Unfortunately for team morale across the globe, the All Blacks of course remained unbeaten in all of their matches. England came closest to beating them, losing by just 3 points; hopefully enough to keep New Zealand on their toes.
However the dice fall, it looks like we’re in for a tense Six Nations tournament where everything is to play for.
If you would like to follow your team around the Six Nations – we also fly to Paris it is only 90 minutes from London – our Operations Team can organise the whole day or weekend for your. Call them on 01256 635000 or use the contact page.
For fixtures and the lates news visit the official site: www.rbs6nations.com