It was a Six Nations that showed improvement for Andy Farrell’s Ireland side as they finished with a rare victory in Twickenham. Ireland are now starting to look like a more fluid, well-oiled machine than they have since the departure of Joe Schmidt with the complex arrangement of offloads and player movement in order to break down the opposition. When it is working it is a joy to behold.
There is no better example of this than the first try against England where Ireland slowly breakdown a shellshocked England side before working it wide for James Lowe to go over for Ireland. Andy Farrells men have also showed a resilience that has been absent from the side for some time, where in situations in the past Ireland would have rolled over they now come roaring back. This was shown when England made their comeback to level the match Ireland stuck to their gameplan and wore down the 14 men of England and dominated the final stages of the game to win.
For other countries, this Six Nations has been a mixed bag. France look like a sleeping giant who has finally waken up and look set to be one of the World cup favourites in 2023. They cruised to victory in every one of their games in the Six Nations and are a young squad with the majority of their squad being under 25, it is a scary time for the rest of the teams in the Six Nations.
England struggled this year with their new system as they only managed to score three tries outside of the game against Italy. The losses to Scotland and Ireland at home look worrying and the new system looks lost on the players who look a shell of their former selves.
In fairness, no team looks a shell of their former selves more than Wales, who went from last years champions to giving Italy their first win in 7 years. There will need to be a self-examination in the Welsh camp if they are going to do anything of note in next years World Cup.
Scotland managed to hold onto their winning streak against England in the Six Nations as they had a lot to be happy with in this tournament. Giving Wales their only win of the competition will sting but they showed that they have the ability to compete with the big dogs and will look to push on in next years competition.
Italy have finally won their first Six Nation match since 2015 as they proved me wrong in validating their place in the competition with their win against Wales. They competed well against Italy and Kieran Crowley may just be the man to led them to a higher level of rugby as their young players mature and improve.
Overall, it was a competition to remember not only Ireland having a record win in Twickenham, but also Italy breaking their famine and watching England struggle warms many Irishmans hearts.