We have good old look at how it’s going so far for al the teams in this year’s Six Nations
What’s going well? – Elliott Daly, the defence, Jedi mind-tricking opposition into dropping the ball or missing touch, Eddie’s press conference trolling.
Needs more work – Scrum-half decision making, playing well for more than ten minutes at a time, understanding rules of rugby. Tom Wood’s entire hair strategy.
Effort – Started the tournament well in the face of some lost colleagues and they continue to try hard in all endeavours, particularly in defence. They are to be commended for never being afraid to ask questions about things they don’t understand even when it will cause them worldwide public embarrassment.
Achievement – Three wins is reward for all their defensive efforts so far and the Grand Slam remains a possibility. However, they are no further on than a year ago in terms of their play and game awareness as displayed by the how incredibly flummoxed they were in the face of Italy doing something that required England players to actually think.
What’s going well? – Connor Murray and Sexton remain best half-back paring in Europe
Needs more work – The back three containing the many inexplicable caps of Keith Earls, pound shop Zoolander Rob Kearney and the general shambles Simon Zebo . The lineout.
Effort – Ireland are a capable lot who let themselves down by not trying hard enough in the opening weekend against a Scotland team they were capable of beating. They have since knuckled down to the task at hand
Achievement – Lost 1, won 2. After the defeat in Edinburgh they have casually trampled all over Italy and then taught France what something called a gameplan in the rain looks like.
What’s going well? – The breakdown and backrow is fully over the Dave Denton years and is looking destructive and canny again. Stuart Hogg continues to be ridiculous and after years of stunted creativity they cannot stop scoring tries.
Needs more work – Conceding tries is still an issue and the scrum is too often like a septic tank on wheels. Alex Dunbar’s comedy kicking out of hand.
Effort – While all teams try hard what is most heartening about Scotland is that they apply most of their effort to attack. It has paid off on one level in that opposition teams will have to score at least three tries to beat them. It has not paid off in that this still looks a likely outcome too often.
Achievement – Two great wins at home over Ireland and Wales. Their only loss was in France where the scrum problems were apparent but they also lost a number of players to injury. Had the injuries and related disruption not happened in Paris it is not outlandish to state that they could’ve been three from three going into the final two rounds.
What’s going well – Liam Williams, Ross Moriarty and Sam Warburton are showing well, beyond that the tournament is a bit like one of those YouTube epic fail compilation videos but with less laughter.
Needs more work – Selection, creativity, gameplan, discipline, Alun Wyn Jones’ captaincy. Other than that it’s going fine for interim management buffoon Rob Howley.
Effort – Wales continue to try hard with limited ambition and nous, embodied in Ken Owens who deserves far more for his incredible efforts for his team than the dreck around him. Wave after wave of players running straight at a defence for no reward does, in fairness to the players, require a great deal of effort.
Achievement – Lost 2 against anyone decent, won 1 against Italy. Next up are Ireland and France, both of which present about as much hope for Wales fans as John Lacey correctly interpreting a scrum collapse.
What’s going well? – Louis Picamoles is a wrecking ball at eight and some va-va-voom is present in their play after the many years of hideousness under Phillippe Saint-Andre.
Needs more work – Gameplan, in that they don’t have one. That is unless you call repeatedly and aimlessly passing it laterally to the player next to you and saying “you have a go now” a gameplan.
Effort – There’s plenty of buzzing about and passing from the backs and the forwards are giving it plenty of wellie in the tight. But effort can only take you as far as your fitness allows and some of the French pack in particular look like they’ve escaped from fat camp on the first night.
Achievement – Bullied a victory at home against a depleted Scotland, ran a misfiring England close in the first week and were comprehensively out-thought and outplayed by Ireland. If you look beyond the odd flourish that’s been added, it could be argued that they remain a poor side.
What’s going well? – Sergio Parisse as per usual, but also his back row partner Simone Favaro. Their ability to bamboozle the ruck.
Needs more work – Resilience. It all appears to be going well until they concede, after which their heads drop faster than aristocracy in the French Revolution. The continuing lack of selection of Michele Campagnaro in the centre. Luke McLean, who remains ever-present as the unflushable turd of Italian rugby.
Effort – They are fired up right up to the point they concede their first try, after that there a varying levels of effort from “can’t be arsed” through to “if I have to”. Apart from Sergio, who appears to be powered by a combination of unicorn dust and rocket fuel.
Achievement –Before they England match they looked to be having their worst year ever, before their ruck shenanegans gave them back a modicum of self-respect. However, they’ve still lost all three and there appears little chance this trend will change.