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Massive try saving hit by Israel No.8


Rupeni Caucau try and nice assist

Saturday, March 17, 2012

Wales win Grand Slam after tense battle with France in Cardiff

Wales beat France 16-9 to claim the 2012 Six Nations title, and their third Grand Slam in seven years. Wing Alex Cuthbert scored the only try of the game, while Leigh Halfpenny kicked 11 points.

Elsewhere, Scotland picked up the Wooden Spoon as they lost 13-6 to Italy at the Stadio Olimpico. Scotland coach Andy Robinson will more than likely face the chop after having lost five from five.

At Twickenham, England gave Ireland a bit of a St Patricks Day hiding as they beat them 30-9, more than likely securing intermim coach Stuart Lancaster's position.

We'll get clips and highlights over the best bits from the Six Nations, Super Rugby, and everywhere else, over the next few days.

Congratulations to Wales on a deserved win. What are your thoughts on the day's results?

Posted at 6:46 pm | 51 comments

Viewing 51 comments

mars March 18, 2012 12:21 am

Well done to Wales. Commiserations to scotland. England have a promising young side but what happened to Irelands scrum? they didn''t have any problems with it in any of the other matches!

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WelshOsprey March 18, 2012 12:53 am

Dan Lydiate was immense, well deserved grand slam
Don't know what the hell happened to ireland though

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stroudos March 18, 2012 10:32 am

I'll tell you what happened to Ireland: Alex Corbisiero. I've been going on about what a quietly effective scrummager he is for a while and he really proved it yesterday. Having said that, England's scrum dominance really came about when Mike Ross went off - Tom Court just couldn't find a way to deal with Corbisiero. England's whole front row did well to recognise that area of weakness and capitalised on it. I felt a bit sorry for Court by the end of it, he was totally destroyed.

That forward dominance brought back lovely memories for the England fan though!

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Dave March 18, 2012 12:59 pm

What happened to Irelands scrum? The man mountain oconnels and his manic aggression wasn't there! It just goes to show how much O'Connells role in the scrum is understated. Not having a forwards coach for the majority of the six nations also would have thrown them off a bit. Will be great for Ireland when Strauss is eligible to play for Ireland next year.

Fair play to wales, and I definitely can see England on the rise. A young squad with a lot of passion and pride in the jersey. As an Irish man myself it pains me to say it! but they will be a force to reckon with for the next few years

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donkeyballs4000 March 19, 2012 1:32 pm

Not sure if you understand how scrums work. Paul O'Connell isn't a tight-head prop. There isn't much he could have done.

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LDN March 19, 2012 2:30 pm

O'Connell? Are you missing the point? It was entirely due to Mike Ross going off. He was struggling from very early on. He has proven time and again that he can get the measure of an opposing scrum, albeit on some occasions he needs to review the situation at half time.

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Fettsack March 18, 2012 2:45 am

Another weird performance from the french, some great moves but no tries, some stupid mistakes but no following punishment. The welsh played a simple game of rugby and deserved the win once again. Superb performance from Lydiate indeed!
Italy finally playing a full 80 minutes match and it pays off! Their determination and powerful forwards rugby was enough to win a game despite their quite poor back line.

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SCHULL KRUSHER March 18, 2012 4:47 am

What happened to Ireland?
Fatigue, injuries, frostbite and some poxy ref in the first game.......well done Wales...by the hair on your chinny chin chins..

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flyingpepper March 18, 2012 6:46 am

Well Done Wales, especially when you considered a couple of years ago they were nowhere, in some guide of no-mans land after their last grand slams.

Feel for Scotland, someone has to come last, but some of their players look very promising. But they do really need to sort out their fly-half.

For a change as an Englishmen, I am going to hold on my judgment of how good or bad their performance was.

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Oceansnz March 18, 2012 7:40 am

Sorry to be a troll, but one thing I've enjoyed about football award ceremonies is how quickly Seth Blatter and other corporates try to get off the stage and out of the winners photo. Those guys above just stood there without trying to leave at all.

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stroudos March 18, 2012 10:28 am

Nothing troll-like about that mate, completely agree. The RBS lot were loving it weren't they? For his many faults, Blatter has always been good at getting out the way and letting the champions celebrate properly.

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Pretzel March 18, 2012 2:31 pm

Not sure what you expect, the RBS is a business and they sponsor the tournament... Of course they're going to stand there and get photos taken... What would be the point in spending money on the sponsorship if they weren't going to use the event as a huge public relations day?!?!?!

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stroudos March 18, 2012 3:48 pm

With very few exceptions (Richard Branson & Steve Jobs maybe), there is little or no benefit to a brand to be made from parading around the individuals who run the company. In this case, where the bosses of RBS are almost universally despised, these guys should have the decency to realise that their sole role in the trophy presentation is to hand the thing over and piss off. We even had the stadium announcer calling out the RBS sponsorship manager's name as if he'd just scored the winning try. No-one watching knows who he is, nor do they care. By the way, as a British taxpayer and therefore part-owner of RBS, I've got as much right to be on the stage lording it up as Pickering does. The photo at the top of this page is quite sickening really, as it's not about the sponsor of an event, but about a few individuals with a misplaced sense of self-importance.

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paimoe March 18, 2012 4:03 pm

I like the cut of this posts' jib

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Pretzel March 18, 2012 11:25 pm

I never said they should be up there, considering what they did to the banks etc, but again, it is a business, they paid the cash for the sponsorship and therefore the business representatives go up there. Having your face up there with a 6 nations grand slam team promotes the company, brings about photo opportunities, they get placed around the offices and give people with an interest in rugby a sense of "wow thats the bank for me."

Let's not forget that most businesses rely on morons to part with money. So RBS does exactly the same.

The reason no one cheered when his name was called out was probably more of a rebellion against the RBS rather than being down to not knowing who he is.

Look at the trophy its covered in RBS ribbons, the pitch has RBS written on it, the medals have RBS... it is all about publicity. "We are the friendly face of RBS". As I said before, I don't deny its bullshit, but it is to be totally expected.

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stroudos March 19, 2012 11:04 am

"Having your face up there with a 6 nations grand slam team promotes the company, brings about photo opportunities, they get placed around the offices and give people with an interest in rugby a sense of "wow thats the bank for me"."

Time to upgrade your marketing textbook I think mate...

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Pretzel March 19, 2012 1:18 pm

It is a crude example but being up there promotes their company.

You asked in a previous video about McDonalds sponsorship. Yeh its a moronic sponsor especially for a rugby team but since when do business turn down opportunities to get a name out there?

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Oceansnz March 19, 2012 6:07 pm

True mate, but we need to remember that the brand name is plastered everywhere in that scene. So, not sure if the need for the company representatives to be there was necessary. Of course they want to be there, but good form should suggest they take off.

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Pretzel March 19, 2012 7:06 pm

Totally agree Ocean, I don't deny that it is probably somewhat demeaning to have put in years of training, countless pain through injuries etc, huge amounts of effort to get to where you are, and then to stand there raising a cup and having an idiot next to you enjoying it as much as you are having done nothing.... (in the rugby sense). But as I said its a photo opportunity, its publicity, it's a talking point among business partners... (it is also a bit pathetic, but I can't expect any different).

But Stroudos you mention Pickering "lording it up" he is the chairman of the WRU (or was the last time I checked) so surely he has a strong case for a place on that stage for his part in "guiding Welsh rugby".... or so all these Rugby Unions think...

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stroudos March 19, 2012 8:25 pm

Oops. Hadn't heard his name before and just heard "chairman of RBS", rather than "chairman of the RBS six nations". Be that as it may, as chairman of the tourny/WRU, Oceansnz's original comparison with Sepp Blatter is all the more relevant.

A couple of the others were RBS execs though weren't they? If not, this whole thread is pointless.

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Pretzel March 18, 2012 11:38 pm

For the record, I am not arguing that they shouldn't have hung around, it is more of a "well what else do you expect, they aren't going to miss a photo opportunity like that."

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moddeur March 18, 2012 10:48 am

On the current state of affairs, game style makes it that:
- Ireland is the new Scotland
- England is the new Wales
- France is the new England
- Wales is the new France
- Scotland is the new Italy
- Italy is the new Ireland

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Colombes March 19, 2012 10:53 am

agree,
st-andré will have to mix his "english" way with the "french" touch
all an identity to create
rdv in 2015 for the results

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Guy March 18, 2012 12:20 pm

France fell into their own sword: playing with the roof open, a more slippery ball, didn't work out for them at all.
I believe France made more mistakes because of this decision and it is due reward for their negative and not well-executed gameplan.
First half made me wonder how the hell France got in the World-Cup final anyway. Second half was better and definitely more exciting.

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Sankeor March 18, 2012 4:46 pm

What are you talking about ? France doesn't play like Fidji.
Playing with the roof open did not penalize France more than Wales, and I actually think it was a good decision, forwards have always been a reliable and competitive asset in the french team.

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Sankeor March 18, 2012 5:04 pm

What I do not understand is WHY Saint-André decided to start with Yachvili and Beauxis. To me they definitely seem to be the match winners he would call on the field in the end of tight games to kick dropgoals, whereas Parra and Trinh-Duc seem more able to "kickstart" the team and boost the it during the whole game (and imo they are the true 9 and 10 of the team).
And why the hell did he call Trinh-Duc (who never play 15) to replace Poitrenaud, whereas he could have put Beauxis (who played 15 a lot with the Stade Français) or even Palisson (who also frequently play 15) ?? And then he called Parra to replace... Beauxis ! What the f*** ?! And Parra decided to kick the penalty in the end instead of going for the lineout and the try (?!). I don't understand those decisions. Even the decision to keep keep Rougerie as centre and sending off Mermoz (Mermoz doesn't make those defensive mistakes and I think he's as good in offense) is just incredible.

So in conclusion, Guy, I wouldn't say that France's main mistake was to play with the roof open... no.

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Guy March 18, 2012 6:57 pm

Not saying it was their MAIN mistake. Anyone that favours running rugby would have let the roof closed. France wanted to play kick-and-chase, hoping that a slippery pitch and ball would not suit the Welsh, and did that very poorly.

Leaving the roof open, which was France's decision, did do no good to anybody. Especially not to themselves. France can be very dangerous with ball in hand. They just seem to lack self conficende at the moment and they should get rid of some dead wood.

I did feel sorry for Saint Andre. He seemed hopeless in some shots and I believe he is a genuine nice guy. Hope he will be able to turn things around for France.

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Pretzel March 18, 2012 11:32 pm

Haha. As we know there was a time where a lot of French players ended up in trouble through either silly things or faults of their own, and it was claimed there was a conspiracy against the French.

Now I feel the conspiracy has gone further, they have employed 2 completely ridiculous fools. Lievremont who couldn't keep the team the same for more than 1 game and now Saint-Andre who again picks some questionable starting line ups.

Even though I'm neither a French nor a Wales supporter, I was disappointed to see the French line-up. Beauxis should not have been picked ahead of Trinh-Duc (definitely not at 10!!) and I would have brought Yachvili on later in the game and started with Parra who seems to be playing well (generally).

As for Rougerie, maybe stick him on the bench and bring him on later in the game to do some offensive damage (if the score is working well for France.)

Hopefully they can pick their game up in the future as I always (or used to) enjoy watching France play.

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kadova March 19, 2012 2:26 am

Another Frenchie here.
First, congrats to Wales, they deserved to win. France made far too many mistakes.
I do agree with you, i don't understand the choices of the coach. Apart from Rougerie, who i suppose was there to support our new player Fofana, as they're from the same club and used to play together. So there was no place for Mermox. I hope now Rougerie doesns't play for France anymore unless he's able to play as well as before.
I don't mind Parra in 10, that happened in 2010 and at the RWC, and Parra was playing 10 until about 3 years ago when he was switched to 9 because of his frame (and this is why he's a kicker).
The decision for the penalty came form the french captain Thierry Dusautoir. I hav eno explanation for the moment, mayube they were expecting to score a try after that. France usually scores tries from returned kicks (i.e. not from direct attacking play).

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Pretzel March 18, 2012 2:55 pm

Firstly congratulations to Wales, definitely the best team of the tournament and they looked the most tidiest team too. I am glad to see Wales get some silverware in their cabinet. I think they ran the risk of all talk but no key results. Also being such a young team they will have time to expand and grow and hopefully gain some good depth too. Have to start looking for a decent replacement for Adam Jones though, he is getting on a bit and it would be nice for them to have someone coming through the ranks who can slowly take some of the load off him.

Moving onto France: I think their negative style would have been fine if the whole team was playing that game plan. They seemed to be slow chasing the kicks, the kicking was loose, or always seemed to be straight into the hands of a Welsh player. If the game play didn't work then alter it. Halfpenny proved time and time again he wasn't afraid of the high ball, but France continued to kick it to him.

Ireland - Struggled through injuries I guess. Even though Mike Ross didn't look like he was going to completely cope with the England pack. Maybe POC was needed?

Scotland - All promise and nothing to show for it. The team seemed to be on the up in the middle of the tournament with some brilliant close results, but their last few games were just terrible. They seemed to be away from the "staying calm" plan back to their usual "force the final pass" plan and it was just scrappy!

England - Looking more positive, still a few alterations to be made I think, Botha seems a bit wooden personally, but maybe he does a lot of behind the scenes stuff.

Italy - I get the impression that by the time they sort out their dodgy backline, their solid pack will be retiring... so they'll end up having a good backline and a dodgy pack...

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cheyanqui March 18, 2012 11:52 pm

To me,

France,
1st) Why did Parra kick for goal? France were down seven points, and knew that they needed a try and a PK to win (a converted try would only draw).
Where the penalty was awarded, the general choices are either kicking for goal or scrumming (it was in the middle of the pitch, so the lineout probably was not on). As the Welsh were scrummaging well, the scrum was not an option.
So to me, the thre easy points on account made sense. Score them, and then get a try (converted or not) and you win.

2nd) The choice at #10 - I don't really rate Beauxis that much. A decent drop goaler, but he's so limited in his toolkit (vs Trinh-Duc), that more talented teams (i.e. Test squads, compared to mid-table Top 14 squads) never let him get a clean strike. Outside of drop goals, Trinh-Duc is a vastly superior runner, and a marginally better kicker for space.

France / Ireland
IRE-FRA both poorly miscalculated playing their make up game towards the end of the tournament. By not playing it right away, they ended up playing four matches in a row. Both teams suffered in their final matches. And France in particular plays on confidence -- and that draw vs Ireland seemed to spell the end of their effort.

Wales
Not much to say other than well-deserved -- they played the the positive game of rugby for quite some time now. Dare I use a wendyball ball team and call it the "jogo bonito"?

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brawnybalboa March 19, 2012 12:06 am

I think the two most crucial statistics of this campaign was the Points Conceded and Tries Conceded by Wales (58 and 3 respectively). Any side that gives up an average of 11 points per game, and less than a try per game will have a good chance of winning themselves.

Although in reality Wales were lucky to Win against Ireland, they were by far the most consistent side. They did not blow anyone away or play "sexy rugby". They played a patient attritional game plan and expected to pull away in the final 20 minutes from sides, and we saw this in coming from behind against both England and Ireland to win.

It is up to Wales to go down under and prove that they can compete and beat a SH side.

As a side note, it will be interesting to see how this England side plays over the next 12 months. From the Welsh game onwards they were easily the 2nd best team in the tournament.

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Pretzel March 19, 2012 2:42 am

Can someone explain the numbers on the back of the Welsh players shirts when they're warming up??? When they wear what looks like t-shirts (can't remember exactly) as they warm up there is a number on the back, however I have no idea what this corresponds to, for example I saw one of the backs with "4" on the back of his t-shirt. Any ideas?

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P March 19, 2012 6:31 am

Squad numbers? When you play at that level, you get a squad number each season.

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Oliver March 19, 2012 8:47 am

well, congrats to the Welsh!

As a French fan, I hope we take note and start NOT replacing our important players, especially number 9/10, after ONE bad game. I personnaly like Parra at 9, TrinDuc at 10, they're still young and should be given time with "les clés du camion" as we say.

France has much more depth than Wales and I'm actually beginning to wonder if that might be part of our problem. The positive thing for me is les Bleus kept their chin up and made the Welsh work for that Grand Slam! They came really close to that elusive try a few times....

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Curates_Egg March 19, 2012 11:04 am

Probably the worst 6 Nations since Ireland won a Grand Slam in 2009. The only team that actually tried to play rugby got the wooden spoon. Wales won with bish-bosh up the centre. England game second with a cynically slow ruck strategy.

Both teams look to have some really exciting young players for the future. Hopefully, they will be a little bit more ambitious with their rugby in the summer tests.

As for France and Ireland - two teams going backwards.

As for Scotland, its a real shame their games were littered with such a high amount of errors, as they played nice rugby at times.

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WelshOsprey March 19, 2012 1:10 pm

Hilarious
Wales won with superior defence and solid attacking play
England came second with passion and some great running rugby
Scotland came last because they were the worst team in the competition
Simple

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mise March 19, 2012 12:51 pm

Well done Wales - deserved the championship.

Not sure a Grand Slam was deserved: France weren't bothered after the draw and loss so it was a damp squib at the end.

Ireland are a bit of a conundrum at the mo. Missing two captains and a scrum half is never easy, but Kidney's had to absolutely have his arm twisted to bring new ppl in.

Specifically on the scrum: Ross seems to have been injured from earlier in the match so was struggling for a while anyway. But he has shown that he can lock down a scrum for Irl and Leinster, so once he was injured and then off Irl was screwed. Don't think O Connell makes much of a difference in the scrum (in fact I've seen him yellow carded, and Dougie feckin howlet brought into the scrum, against Northampton (!), on the five mt line, against the head...and Munster won that scrum!).

The issue is tighthead plain and simple. Ireland have no plan B for tighthead. And our Schools game is not producing them , because they don't allow youths to push back more than 1 mt in a scrum. That's the core problem - right there. The second core problem is the (understandable) policy of prioritizing Irish team players over players playing abroad. (A bit like NZ not even considering players who play in Europe. even if they are stuck). Mike Ross himself could not get a game for Ireland when he played for Quins in the Eng Prem. While I'm more or less in favour of prioritizing Irish team players, in that situation, we needed to draft him in (about 2) years earlier. (when majority of Irish players played in Eng Prem, years ago, we were AWFUL, so it makes sense, most of the time, to focus on making Irish club teams strong. But on occasion, it is a rule that needs to be broken.)

Good news of Strauss - didn't know that. English team was well pepperred with the colours of the globe eh? Italian, South African, German, south sea islands....and the biggest player base in the world?

Eng will always be there or there abouts with that range.

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guesting March 19, 2012 2:44 pm

Always makes me laugh when Grand Slams are derided. According to some, there hasnt been a 'vintage' 6N's since 2003 when England last won it, according to the Irish, they've been cheated out of wins whilst studiously ignoring their blatant deficiencies ( and it chokes them up to lose to Wales, dont believe the Celtic cousins bit, they despise us and cant work out that they keep winning Heineken Cups yet have lost to Wales 3 on the bounce - nobody mentions that Wales were quite plainly immensely fitter than both Ireland & England in the last 10/15 mins of both games!) At least the Scots, Italians & French are honest about where they are and what needs to be done. As for us Welsh, the Irish & english claim we're arrogant, well apart from some idiots, we really arent. Most of us are hoping we kick on and dont let it all fall apart as it usually does.

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Pretzel March 19, 2012 7:19 pm

I don't think many people have really laid claim to the fact that their team (Irish or English) deserved the 6N trophy over Wales???

I mentioned it is nice for them to get some (DESERVED) trophies in their cabinet after having produced some very keen rugby players who have yet to win many trophies...

The Ireland Wales game was close at the end, but that is the way things go, the Irish let themselves down with poor discipline and the Welsh capitalised on the opportunities given...

The England Wales game again was close but the best team won... "inconclusive" at the end was the correct decision by the TMO...

I don't see (m)any people knocking the Welsh for their 6N Grandslam...

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Colombes March 19, 2012 3:02 pm

Well done Wales! a deserved grand slam for the most prepared team of the tournament.

Wales: Logical victory of the continuity from the fittest team (thx polonia) and youngest backline of the competition. will they able to keep the same philosophy in the following years vs more prepared teams?

France: A deception but finally quite logical. The whole players sometimes seemed tired, without ideas and few injuries (clerc, medard, yachvili) confirmed that France really need to reduce their top14 to a top12. France has a coach and youth to play great rugby. rdv in 1 or 2 years

England: 2 boring games, one defeat, and then 2 good games could save Lancaster place. It shows that england has the mental and talents to reverse games. But i'm quite sceptic with Lancaster strategy. Was it victories from the soul or a new era?

Scotland: If they can just run straight in the defences rather to multiplicate they'll be dangerous. watch out gray, rennie and their backline

Ireland: Still solid, but growing old like France. but do they have new players to suit the shirts of O'connell, BOD & co?

Italy: Always a big challenge to coach a team which clearly have less talents than the 5 others, but the time when u could put 50pts to them is definetly finished

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orford17 March 19, 2012 6:32 pm

Just explain to me how England are above Wales on the IRB World Rankings?

Does not make any sense whatsoever.

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Pretzel March 19, 2012 7:23 pm

Just one of those things, I suppose England won the 6N last year and I suppose they have had a few key victories, (not sure which ones...) so maybe they built up a healthy lead and Wales in this 6N have just reduced the English lead rather than over taken it...

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Geraint March 19, 2012 9:32 pm

Wales came fourth in the World Cup and won a grand slam. We've also beaten England the last two times we've played them, the last one being away from home. Not being anti English at all here (during the Wales game and afterwards they played really well and thoroughly deserved second place) but there's no way they should be above us in the rankings.

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Pretzel March 20, 2012 1:07 am

It doesn't matter if Wales beat England in their last two encounters, the rankings don't work that way. England won the 2003 RWC, they came 2nd in the 2007 world cup. I have no idea where Wales were in those RWC's but Wales came 4th in the 2011 world cup so they beat england on that. But England has been Aus on numerous occasions etc.

If you look at the 2011 rankings in January England were 4th and Wales were 9th...

So Wales have successfully climbed the ranks, but England set up a fair old points difference in the past...

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Pretzel March 20, 2012 1:09 am

Sorry just to add, I meant the rankings don't work that way in the sense that teams don't swap places after being beaten.

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Colombes March 20, 2012 1:10 pm

not a question of "old-points" earned during the world-cups
it's more a question of when it's better to win against which side, points are doubled when u beat a team above you in the ranks.

but yes, as said before, it's quite a mystery to see England above Wales watching these last 6 months

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Pretzel March 20, 2012 1:40 pm

But check out the rankings of Wales in Jan 2011, they were 9th... they have progressed a lot! I don't see how it is any great mystery that England are ahead...So England had a good lead..

In fact I just looked again, 30th of January 2012:
France were 3rd
England were 5th
Wales were 8th

So the tournament has seen England progress to 4th (1 place) and Wales progress to 5th, (3 places)..

So it seems pretty cut and dry doesn't it?

Just now checked 5th of March France were 4th, Wales were 5th and England were 6th... Then England played France and I assume that victory caused England to jump ahead.

I wouldn't worry about the IRB rankings too much.. If Wales keep up their playing against some SH teams then they could well overtake England in the rankings. But until then they'll have to settle for a numerical system putting them in 5th place and a 6 nations trophy and the triple crown in their cabinet along with a grand slam tournament... I doubt the Welsh team worry about the rankings...

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Geraint March 19, 2012 9:29 pm

The one to the left of Warburton is David Pickering, a first class tool who works with a load of other tools at the Welsh Rugby Union. Not sure who the other two are.

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