Sunday, 19 March 2017

6N17: Week 5

All over for another year. Not a bad championship. All bar Italy can make some noise on the world stage and a fresh Italy side are nowhere near as inept as some patronisingly paint them - by the end of the tournament their resources (physical and mental) had been stretched tissue thin and they lost easily to a decent Scots side who gave their departing coach the send-off he deserved.

The France v Wales fixture came to a demeaning ending with a superfluity of added time and some dodgy looking behaviour from the French doctor. Had France yet mastered the art of scoring points they would have been clear before the comical denouement. Those criticising the performance of referee Wayne Barnes are miles wide of the mark - he is a prisoner of the laws and the directives and the botched application of video reviews.

And what of England? Eddie Jones was sane and generous in defeat. Ireland were both disciplined and ferocious - the game's hardest trick to master. Well done.

What do I draw from all we have seen over the past couple of months? This: France remain a generous 16/1 to win the next World Cup. They have made their first baby steps to recovery and if they can ally precision to their gargantuanism that is an interesting betting proposition.

Oh and amidst all the ballyhoo, don't forget - England won the championship. That counts. 

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