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The RBS Six Nations Blog

MAJOR INJURY CRISIS! (18th Feb. 2010)

 

Injuries are always a big part of any Six Nations, and two weeks in, and we’ve already got a number on our hands. Plus, what d' ya know?, there has been two suspensions as well. Just to help you keep on top, here’s our handy guide to who’s fit and who’s taken a hit.

 

England: Phil Vickery pulled out of the entire tournament, Tom Croft should be back in a few weeks or so, Rikki Flutey returned last week after pulling out of the Wales clash. Andrew Sheridan is still in the squad, but has been injured since October and won’t be back until the final round.

 

Scotland: Thom Evans is in hospital, and is having a second operation on his neck following going off in the 35th minute of the game against Wales on a stretcher. Record point-scorer Chris Patterson also went down, and is also out for the tournament. Just to cap things off, Rory Lamont will be out too. That’s an entire Back Three injured. Oh, and Euan Murray refuses to play on Sundays because of his religious beliefs.

 

Wales: Front-Row forwards Gethin Jenkins, Gareth Williams and Matthew Rees will all miss the France game, Scrum-Halves Mike Philips and Dwayne Peel are both returning from injuries for their clubs this week, while lock Alun Wyn Jones is out of the tournament altogether. Andy Powell, the first-choice Blindside Flanker, was dropped from the Wales squad for drink driving a golf buggy down the M4 naked. Erm, yeah.

 

Ireland: Rory Best is just returning from injury, first start in a while for Ulster this weekend, while fellow hooker Jerry Flannery has been suspended for the entire Six Nations campaign for kicking a Frenchman last week. Lions fullback Rob Kearney has been ruled out of the game against England in a fortnight.

 

Italy: Craig Gower has taken a bash to his leg, and although it’s not enough to keep him out of the game, he’s not taking the kicks at goal because of it. Sergio Parisse, the usual captain and star player, is still out injured.

 

France: France is certainly lucky, as besides the 50-week gouging banned pair of Parra and Attoub, they have no real injury setbacks. Plus their top of the table at the moment. Great to be French, eh?

 

Kick-Off! (25th January 2010)

 

Hello! Now, you may remember last year when we covered the biggest annual event in Rugby, the Six Nations. While it was hardly wall-to-wall coverage, it was pretty deep, and we understand many of you enjoyed it. And so, we’ve decided we’ll cover this years’ Six Nations and our coverage is starting now, a few weeks early, but while we won’t be going into too much depth too soon, you can expect a look at each countries squad over the next few days, with our eye being cast over England and Wales’ picks before too long...

GENERAL

Shaney and Lee Byrne Bowe

IRELAND

Ireland 29-11 Italy (6th Feb 2010)

 

We’ll tell you one thing, right here, right now: This does not look like we have a back-to-back Grand Slam winning team on our hands in Ireland. A largely uninspiring and dull game, it was far from the rout expected. The moment that Trimble burst down the wing and Heaslip found his way over, we thought it may just turn into a 40-point drubbing, but, nope, Ireland scored one more try in the first half, through, Tomas O’Leary touching down. Italy did strike back, Kane Robertson charging down a kick from Rob Kearney and scoring in the corner.

 

O’Gara kicked perfectly, but besides that there was nothing more to take out of it for Ireland. Italy, however, defended fairly well and made a couple of good attacks of their own. Hopefully they’ll begin to find their feet at last in this tournament.

 

 

Ireland Squad (30th January 2009)

 

Ireland have named a stupidly large squad for the Six Nations, although this does involve the Ireland A team (Who play the England Saxons tomorrow) as well. Rory Best is recalled, despite not having played this season, while nine uncapped players are in the squad, in the form of Dan Tuohy, Declan Fitzpatrick, Fergus McFadden, Kevin McLaughlin, Devin Toner, John Fogarty, Brett Wilkinson, Chris Henry and Leicester Winger, Jonnie Murphy. Brian O’Driscoll is once again named as captain.

 

Ireland squad: Rory Best (Belfast Harlequins/Ulster), Isaac Boss (Ballymena/Ulster), Tommy Bowe (Ospreys), Tony Buckley (Shannon/Munster), Tom Court (Malone/Ulster), Sean Cronin (Buccaneers/Connacht), Leo Cullen (Blackrock College/Leinster), Gordon D'Arcy (Lansdowne/Leinster), Ian Dowling (Shannon/Munster), Keith Earls (Young Munster/Munster), Stephen Ferris (Dungannon/Ulster), Declan Fitzpatrick (Belfast Harlequins/Ulster), Jerry Flannery (Shannon/Munster), John Fogarty (De La Salle Palmerston/Leinster), John Hayes (Bruff/Munster), Cian Healy (Clontarf/Leinster), Jamie Heaslip (Naas/Leinster), Chris Henry (Ballymena/Ulster), Marcus Horan (Shannon/Munster), Shane Horgan (Boyne/Leinster), Denis Hurley (Cork Constitution/Munster), Shane Jennings (St.Mary's College/Leinster), Robert Kearney (UCD/Leinster), Fergus McFadden (UCD/Leinster), Kevin McLaughlin (UCD/Leinster), Johne Murphy (Leicester), Donncha O'Callaghan (Cork Constitution/Munster), Paul O'Connell (Young Munster/Munster), Mick O'Driscoll (Cork Constitution/Munster) , Brian O'Driscoll (UCD/Leinster), Ronan O'Gara (Cork Constitution/Munster), Tomas O'Leary (Dolphin/Munster), Sean O'Brien (Clontarf/Leinster), Eoin Reddan (Lansdowne/Leinster), Mike Ross (Clontarf/Leinster), Donnacha Ryan (Shannon/Munster), Jonathan Sexton (St Mary's College/Leinster), Peter Stringer (Shannon/Munster), Devin Toner (Lansdowne/Leinster), Andrew Trimble (Ballymena/Ulster), Dan Tuohy (Ballymena/Ulster), David Wallace (Garryowen/Munster), Paddy Wallace (Ballymena/Ulster), Brett Wilkinson (Galwegians/Connacht).

WALES

Wales 20-26 France (9th March 2010)

 

If you looked at the 20-0 scoreline to France, you'd think there was no way back in for Wales. Youd' think they'd been totally outplayed, and hadn't done anything of note. And yet, come the 60th minute, Leigh Halfpenny had just dived over in the corner, Stephen Jones had kicked 8 points, and France had Morgan Parra sent to the Sin Bin. "Not again..." cried the whole of Europe. Well, excpect the Welsh who where so busy cheering on their Shane that nobody noticed the groaning overseas.

 

The game started badly for Wales, with Pallison latching onto Hook's pass for an easy run-in under the posts. Parra kicked the conversion, and then two penalties, to give France a 13-0 lead, and that was before a bit of endever from Wales was punnished, as Shane Williams attempted to offload inside his own 22. Francoi Trinh-Duc snatched it from the hands of Wales lock Luke Charteris, to get himself in line for an easy conversion.

 

However, come the second period things began to come off to Wales. Where as France hadn't done a lot, Wales had began things but made errors at crucial points. But this was not the case now, as Jones banged over 2 penalties, before a flowing move saw winger Halfpenny go over in the corner, superbly converted by Jones. In the build up to the try, Parra was sin-binned, so France were down to 14 men. However, they didn't conceed, but scored 6 points, with replacement Freddy Mishalack kicking two penalties, so it didn't get too close for comfort, which it enevitably did, as Shane Williams scored in the final minute for the second week running for Wales, but France kicked it straight out, ending the game.

 

Wales: Byrne; Halfpenny, Hook, J Roberts, S Williams; S Jones, R Rees; P James, Bennett, A Jones, B Davies, D Jones, Thomas, M Williams, R. Jones (capt).

 

France: Poitrenaud; Malzieu, Bastareaud, Jauzion, Palisson; Trinh-Duc, Parra; Domingo, Servat, Mas, Nallet, Pierre, Dusautoir, Bonnaire, Harinordoquy.

 

KN's Star Man: Bradley Davies

 

Wales 31-24 Scotland (13th Feb. 2010)

 

Scotland legend and highest-ever point scorer, Chris Patterson, became the first Scot to ever reach 100 caps (International apperances) at the start of this game, and even though Wales were heavy favourites, it looked like an upset was on the cards, as straight away Scotland flanker John Barcley burst through the Welsh, scoring between the posts, giving Chris Patterson an easy conversion. Stephen Jones did boot a penalty for Wales, but it wasn't enough, recalled fly-half Dan Park chipping through for centre Max Evans to ctach, who grounded and scored the try. Patterson missed the conversion, the first time he's missed in the Six Nations for 4 years. It looked like another Scottish try was in the works, as Max's brother Thom Evans had a run, but Lee Byrne and Ryan Jones hauled him down 20-odd metres short. However, this was it for Evans, as he recieved a knock to his neck, and was carried off on a strecher. He is currently in hospital and has been told he will require major surgery. We at KN would like to wish him and his family all the best.

 

Parks kept the score board tickinhg, with two penalties and a Drop-Goal, putting Scotland into a demanding 24-9 lead just after the half-time break. However, Wales began to strike back, magician Shane Williams creating an overlap, putting Byrne over in the corner. Jones missed the conversion, but it looked like the mommentum wa sbegining to swing. Or, at least it did until Parks kicked another drop-goal, this time from near the half way line.

 

Wales were 10 points down with 7 minutes to go, before Leigh Halfpenny was put into space and ran down the touchline and under the posts, at an incredible speed. Jones kicked the conversion, making it 21-24. Wales then got the ball back, and Jamie Roberts made a break, giving the ball to Byrne, who would have scored, but as he chipped the ball ahead to chase, Phil Godman deliberately tripped him up. He was red carded, and Wales were given a penalty. With 50 seconds left to go, they opted to kick it for the draw, Jones making it 24-24, with 10 seconds to go. The ref ruled there time to be one more  play, and Wales quickly regathered from the restart, and an intelligent kick from Jones to Halfpenny put them 20-odd yards out from the Scottish try line. Alun Wyn Jones drove on, bringing them within 5 yards, but Scotland continued to defend. Blues lock Bradley Davies charged and took five defenders with him, opening up space for Richie Rees to pass to record try-scorer, Shane Williams, who dived between the posts, winning the game for Wales in the 82nd minute. Stephen Jones kicked the conversion, bringing it to 31-24 to Wales. A glorious victory for the Dragons.

 

Wales

Tries: L Byrne, L Halfpenny, S Williams Cons: S Jones 2 Pens: S Jones 4

Scotland

Tries: J Barclay, M Evans Cons: C Paterson Pens: Parks 2 Drop-goals: Parks

 

Yellow Card: S Lawson (62nd Minute) Red Card: P Godman (79th Minute)

 

England 30-17 Wales (13th Feb. 2010)

 

Sorry the report's slightly late, but it's here now. As the centenary game at Twickenham, this match had a lot to live up to. The game began with fly-halfs Jonny Wilkinson and Stephen Jones trading kicks, before the turning point: Alun Wyn Jones' controversial trip. The Wales lock did the stupidist thing of his career, sticking his foot out for England hooker Dylan Hartly to trip over. He was sin binned for this, and during that 10-minute period while he was off the pitch, England scored 17 points, 7 through the boot of Jonny Wilkinson, plus tries from James Haskell and Danny Care.

 

Things began to swing the moment Jones was back on the field, though, as he delivered the scoring pass to prop Adam Jones, who scored for the first time since 2002. The momentium was certainly with Wales, as James  Hook broke through, giving a pass to Tom James, which Wilkinson tapped down, and the ref saw it as a knock-oin from Wales. However, not one to be held back, Hook broke the defense again, slippnig and sliding round 6 different England players, and managing to do the hard stuff himself, scoring a fantastic try. Stephen Jones kicked his second conversion of the match. It was now 20-17 to England, as Wales once again made a dart down field, and Stephen Jones launched a pass to replacent winger Leigh Halfpenny, only for England fullback to intercept it. He gave it to Matthew Tait, who ran the length of the field, before poppnig it to Haskall, who scored his second try. A great result for England, if disapointing for Wales.

 

Wales: Six Nations ’10 Squad (25th January)

 

Warren Gatland’s Wales announced their squad last Monday, with a number of surprise inclusions and exclusions, with teenage Ospreys Kristian Phillips and Tom Prydie (Who has only played 7 minutes this season.) getting the nod over in-form Dragons duo Aled Brew and Jason Tovey. Cardiff Blues forwards Gareth Williams and Deiniol Jones are recalled, while Adam Jones and Lee Byrne return from injury. There are two players based outside of Wales in the squad, both props, in the form of Eifion Lewis-Roberts and Rhys Gill. (Who will get his first cap for Wales.) Mike Phillips and Dwayne Peel (Wales’ first-choice Scrum-Halves) are both out injured, so uncapped Blues No. 9 Richie Rees comes in as the final uncapped player.

 

The squad in whole:

 

 

Backs: Gareth Cooper, Leigh Halfpenny, Tom James, Richard Rees, Jamie Roberts, Tom Shanklin (all Cardiff Blues) Dan Biggar, Andrew Bishop, Lee Byrne, James Hook, Kristian Phillips, Tom Prydie, Shane Williams (all Ospreys), Jonathan Davies, Stephen Jones, Martin Roberts (all Llanelli Scarlets)

 

Forwards: Bradley Davies, Gethin Jenkins, Deiniol Jones, Andy Powell, Sam Warburton, Gareth Williams, Martyn Williams (all Cardiff Blues), Huw Bennett, Ian Gough, Paul James, Adam Jones, Alun Wyn Jones, Ryan Jones, Jonathan Thomas (all Ospreys), Matthew Rees, (Llanelli Scarlets), Luke Charteris, Dan Lydiate (both Dragons, Eifion Lewis-Roberts (Sale Sharks), Rhys Gill (Saracens)

SCOTLAND

Paterson sebastien-chabal simon-shaw_1390479c Sergio-Parisse-Italy-Captai

ENGLAND

England 30-17 Wales (13th Feb. 2010)

 

Sorry the report's slightly late, but it's here now. As the centenary game at Twickenham, this match had a lot to live up to. The game began with fly-halfs Jonny Wilkinson and Stephen Jones trading kicks, before the turning point: Alun Wyn Jones' controversial trip. The Wales lock did the stupidist thing of his career, sticking his foot out for England hooker Dylan Hartly to trip over. He was sin binned for this, and during that 10-minute period while he was off the pitch, England scored 17 points, 7 through the boot of Jonny Wilkinson, plus tries from James Haskell and Danny Care.

 

Things began to swing the moment Jones was back on the field, though, as he delivered the scoring pass to prop Adam Jones, who scored for the first time since 2002. The momentium was certainly with Wales, as James  Hook broke through, giving a pass to Tom James, which Wilkinson tapped down, and the ref saw it as a knock-oin from Wales. However, not one to be held back, Hook broke the defense again, slippnig and sliding round 6 different England players, and managing to do the hard stuff himself, scoring a fantastic try. Stephen Jones kicked his second conversion of the match. It was now 20-17 to England, as Wales once again made a dart down field, and Stephen Jones launched a pass to replacent winger Leigh Halfpenny, only for England fullback to intercept it. He gave it to Matthew Tait, who ran the length of the field, before poppnig it to Haskall, who scored his second try. A great result for England, if disapointing for Wales.

Wales 31-24 Scotland (13th Feb. 2010)

 

Scotland legend and highest-ever point scorer, Chris Patterson, became the first Scot to ever reach 100 caps (International apperances) at the start of this game, and even though Wales were heavy favourites, it looked like an upset was on the cards, as straight away Scotland flanker John Barcley burst through the Welsh, scoring between the posts, giving Chris Patterson an easy conversion. Stephen Jones did boot a penalty for Wales, but it wasn't enough, recalled fly-half Dan Park chipping through for centre Max Evans to ctach, who grounded and scored the try. Patterson missed the conversion, the first time he's missed in the Six Nations for 4 years. It looked like another Scottish try was in the works, as Max's brother Thom Evans had a run, but Lee Byrne and Ryan Jones hauled him down 20-odd metres short. However, this was it for Evans, as he recieved a knock to his neck, and was carried off on a strecher. He is currently in hospital and has been told he will require major surgery. We at KN would like to wish him and his family all the best.

 

Parks kept the score board tickinhg, with two penalties and a Drop-Goal, putting Scotland into a demanding 24-9 lead just after the half-time break. However, Wales began to strike back, magician Shane Williams creating an overlap, putting Byrne over in the corner. Jones missed the conversion, but it looked like the mommentum wa sbegining to swing. Or, at least it did until Parks kicked another drop-goal, this time from near the half way line.

 

Wales were 10 points down with 7 minutes to go, before Leigh Halfpenny was put into space and ran down the touchline and under the posts, at an incredible speed. Jones kicked the conversion, making it 21-24. Wales then got the ball back, and Jamie Roberts made a break, giving the ball to Byrne, who would have scored, but as he chipped the ball ahead to chase, Phil Godman deliberately tripped him up. He was red carded, and Wales were given a penalty. With 50 seconds left to go, they opted to kick it for the draw, Jones making it 24-24, with 10 seconds to go. The ref ruled there time to be one more  play, and Wales quickly regathered from the restart, and an intelligent kick from Jones to Halfpenny put them 20-odd yards out from the Scottish try line. Alun Wyn Jones drove on, bringing them within 5 yards, but Scotland continued to defend. Blues lock Bradley Davies charged and took five defenders with him, opening up space for Richie Rees to pass to record try-scorer, Shane Williams, who dived between the posts, winning the game for Wales in the 82nd minute. Stephen Jones kicked the conversion, bringing it to 31-24 to Wales. A glorious victory for the Dragons.

 

Wales

Tries: L Byrne, L Halfpenny, S Williams Cons: S Jones 2 Pens: S Jones 4

Scotland

Tries: J Barclay, M Evans Cons: C Paterson Pens: Parks 2 Drop-goals: Parks

 

Yellow Card: S Lawson (62nd Minute) Red Card: P Godman (79th Minute)

 

Scotland Vs France Preview (3rd Feb)

 

France: Poitrenaud ; Rougerie, Bastareud, Jauzion, Fall ; Trinh-Duc, (Capt) Parra ; Dusautoir, Harinordoquy, Ouedraogo ; Nallet, Papé ; Mas, Servat, Domingo.

 

Scotland: Paterson; S Lamont, M Evans, Morrison, T Evans; Godman, Cusiter (capt); Dickinson, Ford, Lowe, Kellock, Hines, K Brown, Beattie, Barclay.

Replacements: S Lawson, Jacobsen, Gray, MacDonald, R Lawson, Grove, Southwell.

 

France and Scotland come off the backs of simular international campaigns in the autumn, with Scotland managing their first win over Austrailia in 30-odd years, and France toppling World Champions South Africa. However, both then went on to lose their final game, the Scots to Argentina and the French to New Zeland, so who knows what Murrayfield could bring on Sunday?

 

Record point scorer Chris Patterson earns a recall after being dropped in the autumn for Scotland, while Bastareaud makes a comeback for France.

 

Scotland Squad (30th January)

 

Three uncapped men make the Scotland side for the first time, in the forms of Jim Thompson, Ross Rennie and John Welsh. Dan Parks is recalled to the squad, the Glasgow (And now Cardiff Blues) fly-half having been controversially omitted from the autumn squad. However, it’s not all good news, as Alistair Hogg and Rory Lamont miss out from selection for their country, as does in-form Ospreys winger, Nikki Walker.

 

Backs: Chris Cusiter (Glasgow), Simon Danielli (Ulster), Nick De Luca (Edinburgh), Max Evans (Glasgow), Thom Evans (Glasgow), Phil Godman (Edinburgh), Alex Grove (Worcester), Ruaridh Jackson (Glasgow), Sean Lamont (Scarlets), Rory Lawson (Gloucester), Graeme Morrison (Glasgow), Dan Parks (Glasgow), Chris Paterson (Edinburgh), Hugo Southwell (Stade Francais).

Forwards: John Barclay (Glasgow), Johnnie Beattie (Glasgow), Kelly Brown (Glasgow), Alasdair Dickinson (Gloucester), Ross Ford (Edinburgh), Richie Gray (Glasgow), Dougie Hall (Glasgow), Jim Hamilton (Edinburgh), Nathan Hines (Leinster), Allan Jacobsen (Edinburgh), Alastair Kellock (Glasgow), Scott Lawson (Gloucester), Moray Low (Glasgow), Alan MacDonald (Edinburgh), Euan Murray (Northampton), Alasdair Strokosch (Gloucester).

ITALY

Ireland 29-11 Italy (6th Feb 2010)

 

We’ll tell you one thing, right here, right now: This does not look like we have a back-to-back Grand Slam winning team on our hands in Ireland. A largely uninspiring and dull game, it was far from the rout expected. The moment that Trimble burst down the wing and Heaslip found his way over, we thought it may just turn into a 40-point drubbing, but, nope, Ireland scored one more try in the first half, through, Tomas O’Leary touching down. Italy did strike back, Kane Robertson charging down a kick from Rob Kearney and scoring in the corner.

 

O’Gara kicked perfectly, but besides that there was nothing more to take out of it for Ireland. Italy, however, defended fairly well and made a couple of good attacks of their own. Hopefully they’ll begin to find their feet at last in this tournament.

FRANCE

Scotland Vs France Preview (3rd Feb)

 

France: Poitrenaud ; Rougerie, Bastareud, Jauzion, Fall ; Trinh-Duc, (Capt) Parra ; Dusautoir, Harinordoquy, Ouedraogo ; Nallet, Papé ; Mas, Servat, Domingo.

 

Scotland: Paterson; S Lamont, M Evans, Morrison, T Evans; Godman, Cusiter (capt); Dickinson, Ford, Lowe, Kellock, Hines, K Brown, Beattie, Barclay.

Replacements: S Lawson, Jacobsen, Gray, MacDonald, R Lawson, Grove, Southwell.

 

France and Scotland come off the backs of simular international campaigns in the autumn, with Scotland managing their first win over Austrailia in 30-odd years, and France toppling World Champions South Africa. However, both then went on to lose their final game, the Scots to Argentina and the French to New Zeland, so who knows what Murrayfield could bring on Sunday?

 

Record point scorer Chris Patterson earns a recall after being dropped in the autumn for Scotland, while Bastareaud makes a comeback for France.