<h1> Irish champions with fairer system </h1>
@@@@SPAN>By Paul Ackford, Sunday Telegraph
@@@@/SPAN><div style="float: left;">@@@@SPAN>Last Updated: @@@@SPAN style="color: rgb(0, 0, 0);">12:11am GMT@@@@/SPAN>25/03/2007@@@@/SPAN></div>
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And so to, absolutely, the final thoughts on this season's Six Nations.
If the championship had used the system of four points for a win, two
for a draw, one for losing by a margin of seven points or fewer and one
for scoring four tries, which is in place in every other major rugby
competition around the world, then Ireland would have sneaked it and
Wales would have grabbed the wooden spoon.
final table would have looked like this: Ireland 19 points, France 18,
England 13, Italy 9, Scotland 5 and Wales 5, with Scotland finishing
above Wales by virtue of their victory at Murrayfield in the match
between the two countries.<div><div>advertisement</div>< src="http://www.telegraph.co.uk/core/NetGravity/mpu.js" =""></div>
would then have got rid of all the controversy over the staggered
kick-off times on the final day with Ireland coach Eddie O'Sullivan
complaining that his players were disadvantaged by participating in the
earlier match. Once Ireland had won the game and scored four tries
there would be nothing more they could have done.
Most missed player?
Gareth Thomas who was ruled out of Wales's first three matches because
of a ban following his involvement in the Trevor Brennan affair. Mad as
a March hare is 'Alfie' Thomas, but he is a man with real stature
across the European scene and he does bring substance to the Welsh
side. It was also heartening to see Thomas go up to Mike Catt and offer
a consoling pat as the England captain limped off with a recurrence of
his hamstring injury.
Most infuriating double act?
The BBC's Brian Moore and Eddie Butler. The bulk of what they offer is
outstanding - lively, opinionated and informative - but am I the only
one who cringes when they start to bicker over interpretations and come
over all jingoistic? Disagree by all means, gentlemen, but don't let it
become the distinguishing feature of your commentary.
the England coaching team adept at managing games as they unfold? Easy
to be smug after the event but, in the Wales match, why was Shane
Geraghty brought on to replace the injured Mike Catt when the more
experienced Jamie Noon, an out-and-out centre and club partner to
Mathew Tait, was on the bench? And why, when Joe Worsley went off
crocked, did Martin Corry not move back to No 8 to shepherd Tom Rees
and James Haskell, two young flankers who were struggling?
Most worrying trend?
The indifferent standard of officiating in the championship. It started
on the first weekend when television match official Donal Courtney
awarded Jonny Wilkinson a try against Scotland that simply wasn't,
continued when Chris White got in an awful muddle about ending the
Italy/Wales fixture and finished on the final Saturday when Courtney
stood by and allowed Sean Lamont to be sin-binned against France when
it was brother Rory who committed the foul. There were also too many
instances of referees "going upstairs" for a verdict over the simplest
of touch downs.
Least likely reason for an improvement in form?
for breakfast. That's the difference." England scrum-half Harry Ellis
on the secret behind his scintillating champions