Six na­tions winds up

Matamata Chronicle - - Sport -

Over the week­end, the last games of this year’s Six Na­tions matches were played.

Italy and Scot­land bat­tled for the wooden spoon with both teams hav­ing lost all their pre­vi­ous matches.

In front of a packed house in Rome, Italy man­aged to grind out a 13 to 6 win over Scot­land.

Italy man­aged an early penalty through the boot of Chris Bur­ton, which shortly af­ter was nul­li­fied by Dan Parks’ goal kick.

The key mo­ment of the game was when ref Alain Rol­land sent Scot­tish player Nick de Luca to the sin­bin.

Italy cap­i­talised on the one-man ad­van­tage to cre­ate a nice try scored by Gio­vam­bat­tista Ven­ditti.

This was the only try of the game.

Italy have been com­pet­i­tive in al­most all of their matches this year, just los­ing to Eng­land by four points and push­ing France hard, even though the score line may have in­di­cated oth­er­wise.

Scot­land will be dis­ap­pointed not to have achieved any wins which only com­pounds their mis­ery af­ter last year fail­ing to make the World Cup Quar­ter Fi­nals for the first time ever. I bet Scot­tish coach Andy Robin­son can feel the noose tight­en­ing.

Wales achieved their sec­ond Grand Slam in four years un­der the guid­ance of for­mer Waikato and All Black hooker War­ren Gat­land.

In front of a pas­sion­ate and sold- out crowd at Mil­le­nium Sta­dium in Cardiff, Wales faced France in a must-win con­test for them to claim the ti­tle.

A poignant mo­ment be­fore the game started was the minute’s si­lence to hon­our the mem­ory of for­mer All Black and NZRU chair­man Jock Hobbs.

The game was a tor­rid af­fair with both sides show­ing tremen­dous re­solve in de­fence in the early part of the match.

France took the early lead with a penalty, to which Wales replied with a try to young winger Alex Cuth­bert cut­ting through the de­fen­sive line and breez­ing in un­der the posts. Half­time 10-6 to Wales. The sec­ond half was tight with the only scor­ing com­ing through penal­ties – Wales kick­ing two to France’s one, which was in the end the dif­fer­ence be­tween the two sides.

I have been re­ally im­pressed with the form of the Chiefs dur­ing the early rounds of Su­per Rugby.

Aside from their first- round loss to ta­ble-top­ping High­landers, (no, I’m not jok­ing), they have beaten the Blues, Cru­saders and Brumbies.

De­spite in­juries to key play­ers such as Bren­don Leonard and Toby Smith, many new tal­ents such as Taw­era Kerr-bar­low, man­moun­tain Ben Tamei­funa and lock Brodie Ratel­lick have been rev­e­la­tions.

All three of these play­ers are prob­a­bly the form play­ers in their po­si­tions in the com­pe­ti­tion.

Right now the Chiefs sit sec­ond on the New Zealand ta­ble and fourth over­all. To all the naysay­ers who say that Sonny Bill Wil­liams is just a show­man and ev­ery­thing he does is for him­self, take a look at his in­di­vid­ual per­for­mances and the huge con­tri­bu­tion he is mak­ing to the back­line. No­body in the game can off-load like he can. Sure, peo­ple have al­ways been able to off-load but SBW al­ways man­ages to free his arm and get a good pass away. It is so great to see ev­ery player in the 22 do­ing their job.

The for­ward pack has been un­real the way they have dom­i­nated. Their per­for­mance against the Blues and Cru­saders packs, both filled with All Blacks, was out­stand­ing.

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