Six nations winds up
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.