With just one round of games remaining this year, we take a look at what we’ve learnt from the penultimate round of Six Nations games;
1.Wales look to be on the up at last
The Welsh performance against Ireland this weekend was nothing short of magnificent. Whilst there are still a lot of areas to improve on, it is the best Wales performance in some time. They were outstanding in defence against a relentless (if slightly limited) Irish attack and went forward with conviction, making the most of their chances.
2.Ireland need to consider a more expansive midfield
Whilst Ireland have been solid for the most part during this years Six Nations, what they really lack is a spark in midfield. Part of this comes down to the structured game plan, however given the way they struggled to break down the Welsh defence, Joe Schmidt may need to consider a slightly different combination for next weeks game.
3.Scotland are exciting but remain far too naïve
This year Scotland have probably been the most exciting team to watch in the entire Six Nations. The problem however is that they struggle to know in which areas to play expansive rugby, and in which areas to play the percentages. Until this changes they will continue to struggle to compete with the top sides in the Six Nations.
4.England remain consistently inconsistent
England fans will probably never have felt so frustrated after a victory given how many points their side left out on the field this weekend. There is plenty to be very positive, however on too many occasions, poor decision making by key players resulted in a failure to convert clear chances as players were gripped by white line fever.
5.Italy are well behind the top four sides
Italy may site in fifth position right now, however they look further behind the top four sides than Scotland do. They were comprehensively beaten by a poor French side this weekend after failing to score a single point at home. They need to finish on a big performance this coming weekend against Wales.
6.We are currently witnessing the worst French side of all time
Long gone are the days of exciting French rugby, instead we are witnessing one of the most turgid, one dimensional sides in the history of rugby. Phillippe St Andre seems to have coached any flair out of a side packed full of talented players which has left the French looking ineffective, although it has yielded limited results.
7.This is possible the most boring Six Nations in recent memory
The one positive for this years tournament is the fact we go into the final weekend with four teams still mathematically able to claim the title. Beyond this however the rugby for the most part has been pretty dire with several games seeing just one or two tries scored during the full 80 minutes.