Ireland with compliments, France with honours, Italy donkey cap… Tournament report cards, team by team

The Tournament, which ended on Saturday, was full of lessons. With just over five months to go until the World Cup, Europe’s elite nations are not all at the same stage.

The good students and the bad ones. The Six Nations Tournament concluded on Saturday 18 March with Ireland triumphing over England. Number one in the world, Clover’s XV honored its status as favorites, signing the fourth Grand Slam in its history, ahead of the Blues, reigning champions. The selections now begin the countdown that should lead them to the World Cup in France (from 8 September to 28 October). Here are the report cards for each team:

Ireland: Congratulations from the jury

Clover’s XV is surrounded by certainties. Grand Slam in the pocket, he impressed. With a well-oiled squad, combining power and game intelligence, Ireland look like an insoluble puzzle for their opponents. Scotland and France believed they could compete, Italy had their teeth broken there, Wales were blown away at home and England also succumbed to the men in green. Andy Farrell’s protégés performed their rugby, not only picking up five wins but also four bonuses up front. Almost perfect.

Grégory Alldritt during the Crunch between England and France in London, March 11, 2023. (ANDREW COWIE/AFP)

France: praise

A defeat against Ireland, after 14 successes in a row, and doubts begin to arise around the XV of France, especially after a messy specimen brought back from Rome (29-24). But on 11 March in London, Antoine Dupont’s troop rediscovered its genius and its status as favorites in the World Cup, after a brilliant and historic victory over England (53-10). In retrospect, this defeat in Ireland may have served more than anything else. To disperse England at Twickenham, for example. The final victory over Wales keeps hopes high for the big end-of-year event. Because a second place with only one defeat, in an edition with three away games, is nothing.

Scotland: Efforts…

Once again, the XV du Chardon moves forward. Again, it seems to show his limits as well. Despite their best finish (third) in the tournament since 2018, the Scots look unable to break through their glass ceiling. The new selection figures are useful little by little, but they still seem dependent on the individual companies. The victory against the Welsh bears the seal of Finn Russell, the one against England owes much to the power of Duhan Van der Merwe, the one against Italy to the efficiency of Blair Kinghorn.

England: Get to work!

Accustomed to the leading roles, the XV della Rosa played donkeys. Beaten twice at home, the English are no longer scary. First defeated by the Scots, they exploded against the French, who hadn’t won at home since 2007. The final result is long overdue. We had to go back to grassroots rugby to win against the Italians and Welsh. New manager Steve Borthwick’s paw is not yet visible. The final defeat in Dublin against the Irish slams was not enough to restore their image. Owen Farrell symbolizes, like some managers, an English team that can’t take it anymore. To move forward, we will need to redouble our efforts.

Andy Farrell is disappointed during the England-France match in Twickenham (London), March 11, 2023. (ANDREW COWIE / AFP)

Wales: very insufficient

Warren Gatland, coach of the four tournaments he won between 2008 and 2019, is back to restore his country’s image for this tournament. But nothing has changed for Porro XV. He bowed four times without appearing to be level. The context of the federation’s crisis didn’t help and the players came close to going on strike against England. Former reference in defense, semi-finalist of the last 2019 World Cup, the Welsh team is only a shadow of itself. In five months, can Warren Gatland get his band back on track?

Italy: shortcomings

Italy finished last in the tournament, with the wooden spoon as a bonus. For the seventh time in the last eight editions. But not everything is to be thrown away Blue Team. Ireland and France were frightened by an organized team which was fun to watch. Italy can count on a generation involved in an ambitious project. Unfortunately, Kieran Crowley’s players backfired in their ways against the Welshman, squandering many opportunities. They were also too limited against the Scots.

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