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Stephen Jones - 6N Predictions

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    Stephen Jones - 6N Predictions


    The Sunday Times January 28, 2007



    Reach for the stars

    Stephen Jones

    The RBS Six Nations begins on Saturday with Ireland as favourites — but not by much

    If success in the RBS Six Nations is down to peaking at the right time
    then England’s Joe Worsley is timing it to perfection. During the
    heroic Wasps win over Castres last weekend we knew we were seeing
    something special. Yet a sober analysis of Worsley’s staggering
    30-tackle performance (almost all a combination of anticipation,
    athleticism and sheer power) reveals nothing less than the greatest
    defensive performance I have seen.



    Ah, but what does it signify? A messianic harbinger of England
    resurrection? Or just a bunch of decked Castresians? Suddenly, others
    are on the charge for England. Leicester, of course, with Martin Corry,
    Harry Ellis and Julian White among those on stunning form as mighty
    Munster were well beaten in a seething match. Gloucester beat Leinster
    on the same weekend, and both English teams exposed shortcomings in the
    Irish sides.

    Ireland’s once-assured status as favourites is waning a little.
    Scotland look monumentally unimpressive on paper without their two best
    forwards. Wales have yet to prove conclusively that they have real
    substance to go with their style. Italy may improve again but will fall
    short. And provided she was a fly-half or a prop, your grandmother
    would get a game for the annoying French. Should the rest of the cast
    suddenly be afraid of the beleaguered English? There has been more on
    the credit side for England. There was the dynamiting of the idea that
    England are at a horrendous disadvantage, that Ireland’s players (and
    others) are better cared for. Statistics emerged last week that players
    of the six nations have played roughly the same number of games this
    season, and it was Ireland’s squad session that was cancelled because
    of a lack of fresh players. England will go into the tournament with
    fewer key players missing than either France or Scotland or Italy or
    Wales.



    England’s surge of hope seemed to continue through the week. Brian
    Ashton, if the rumours are true, is about to reveal a team to play
    Scotland that is big, old and pragmatic. Not small, young and
    airy-fairy, as was the team in the autumn. He is talking about the
    overwhelming need to win a match, not that barmy concept of seeking
    “performance” (in others words, losing). He is talking of playing men
    in specialist positions — of Magnus Lund as a proper openside; of Mike
    Tindall as a proper focal point, with the titanic Worsley restored on
    the blindside.



    One proud England weekend in the Heineken Cup and a few media
    conference bites may not amount to much. England will probably have to
    throw in young Toby Flood at fly-half, will have to gamble that Andy
    Farrell’s thin grasp of rugby union realities survives the
    international blast; and England’s lineout will operate on a wing and a
    prayer. But they have three games at home and will surely be two for
    two after their matches against Scotland and Italy. They will be
    emphatically better in 2007.



    So now you have to tear it out of me whereas once it slipped off the
    tongue like velvet stout, but my money is still on Ireland. Just. It is
    hard to see them winning their coveted second Grand Slam, but there is
    a confidence in Irish ranks deriving from their performances against
    New Zealand last summer, their thrashing of Australia in the autumn and
    the authority of inside back trio Ronan O’Gara, Gordon D’Arcy and Brian
    O’Driscoll.



    The Croke Park factor, the thunderous impetus that will surely be given
    to the team when France and England arrive in the impressive Gaelic
    cathedral inside a supercharged fortnight in February, could render
    sporting strengths and weaknesses an irrelevance to the final result.



    And yet, seven of the Munster pack taken to the cleaners by Lei

    #2
    I predict that Joe Worsley, even before the game is played, will be S.Jones's MOTM in Englands first game !

    Eejit ! [img]smileys/lol.gif[/img]

    Comment


      #3


      Ah yes, two English clubs (full of foreign players, including quite a few Irishmen in the case of Leicester) beat two Irish sides and suddenly England are looking good and Ireland are crap.[img]smileys/lol.gif[/img]

      Comment


        #4
        i read the article on the plane yesterday and his snidy comments about the french, in particular, but also the welsh are jade goody-esque. perhaps mr jones should apply to be on big brother where his right wing nationalist views would be very welcomed by channel 4
        If the lessons of history teach us anything it is that nobody learns the lessons that history teaches us.

        Comment


          #5
          Mr. S. Jones is Welsh!
          Excellence is hard to keep quite - Sherrie Coale

          Comment


            #6


            Originally posted by McCloud
            Mr. S. Jones is Welsh!

            He is also a Saxon apologist of the highest order!! [img]smileys/lol.gif[/img]

            Comment


              #7
              No, I think he just likes big big boys. The Joe Worsley thing is like a besotted teenager at a Take That concert*

              *Or whatever they look at these days.

              Comment


                #8
                Stephen Jones is Welsh, but doesn't like tobe reminded of it.

                Comment


                  #9


                  Unquote


                  I can put to bed another of the theories I have been harbouring — that the Six Nations will feel like a warm-up for the World Cup. It does not, and any coach treating it is as such will struggle to be in charge when the World Cup arrives. The Six Nations, triumphantly, looms as a titanic battle for the here and now. Anybody dreaming of the future will find themselves levelled with a resounding thump, as if big Joe Worsley had arrived and turned their dream into something altogether more nasty.


                  I love Stephen Jones' Articles least not because they make me chuckle. What team with moderate RWC title aspirations would discard of their coach 6months short of a tournament regardless of 6N results?


                  As for"big" Joe Worsley, let's see how he fares after big Neil Bestturns his dreams into something altogether more nasty.


                  Lets not mince words


                  England-still have everything to prove. Their current RWC champions and have done FA since. They have a new coach who has to win games hook or by crook not with the panache he (ashton) is regarded to possessing. The damage inflicted on the Munster was largely an Italian, mixed with the help of two Dubs a northerner and a couple ofgood showingsby Ellis, Moody and Ollie Smith of only one of those three is starting.


                  Welsh-under a new coach, injured players and the potential of having to start a potentially 3rd choice three quarter line.


                  French-Who knows exactly what, who or when le frog's may turn up or on. In this instance he was right.


                  Italy-Could be a stumbling block for any team. BIG pack, best scrum in the 6N with a solid lineout. They can play simple rugby and frustrate and to a degree bully teams. They will have a scrummaging edge over ireland, scotland and wales (maybe even france) and will batter the ballix out of england in what will be a purist battle in its finest glory.


                  Scotland-missing the talismatic white and a Hogg who isn't playing on fullbore. Backs have a couple of good footballers but their forwards will let them down i fear.


                  Ireland-scrummaging weakness highlighted but then again it is something we have been aware of over the past 4/5 seasons yet we generally manage to hold our own. We have a great back five combination in the forwards and the most experienced and injury free backline out of the home unions and G.Murphy seems to be showing some resemblance of form that he offered pre RWC 2003 leg-break. Shaggy will be a bad loss though.





                  Irelands to lose. And that is the truth.

                  Comment


                    #10


                    I think S Jones makes a good point regarding Horsman; I'd be a bit wary of him taking on Horan after seeing him play last year. Front row though should be ok (but certainly not dominant) against the Jones boys.


                    I think it will be won in the line out. If Ireland can pressurise a potentially sketchy Welsh line-out then I cannot see them coughing up enough ball to lose the match.


                    Ireland to win the possession battle and, hence, the match. But not by much.

                    Comment


                      #11
                      How we all laughed at him [img]smileys/sad.gif[/img]
                      My computer thinks I'm gay
                      What's the difference anyway
                      When all the people do all day
                      Is stare into a phone

                      Comment


                        #12


                        "I can put to bed another of the theories I have been harbouring — that the Six Nations will feel like a warm-up for the World Cup. It does not, and any coach treating it is as such will struggle to be in charge when the World Cup arrives."


                        Well that bit is true. EOS took the 6N more seriously than the RWC and he's as safe as houses .....

                        Comment


                          #13


                          England’s surge of hope seemed to continue through the week. Brian Ashton, if the rumours are true, is about to reveal a team to play Scotland that is big, old and pragmatic. Not small, young and airy-fairy, as was the team in the autumn. He is talking about the overwhelming need to win a match, not that barmy concept of seeking “performance”


                          Itsuncannily accurate in parts[img]smileys/shock.gif[/img]
                          My computer thinks I'm gay
                          What's the difference anyway
                          When all the people do all day
                          Is stare into a phone

                          Comment


                            #14
                            What a waste of a 5000th post. Talking about bloody Stephen Jones. He doesn't deserve that.

                            Comment

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