2019 Six Nations Preview Round 5

Six Nations 2019 Round Five Preview

As St Joan of Armatrading sings “We’re down to the round, down to the round (five of the Six Nations)” and we still don’t know who the champions will be. Luckily, Dr Claws Cat knows whom to ask…


“Hi James, you appear to have changed your password on your laptop, can I have your thoughts on the last round of this year’s six nations?”

“Well, yes, I do understand that I’ve said some awfully mean things about you over the years…”

“Quite, and I do appreciate that you’re really upset…”

“Well, I’m not sure that’s anatomically possible, but if you just…”

Damn it. That means I’m going to have actually attempt to do this properly, and at the time of writing it appears that no bastard (bar England) has even bothered to create a hideously ugly social media jpeg for me to crib team information from. Nevertheless, here we go, the last preview of this year’s tournament.

Sat 12:30 Italy v France

TV: ITV (UK), FR2 (France), Virgin Media (Ireland), DMAX (Italy), NBC (USA)
Venue: Stadio Olimpico, Roma
Referee: Matthew Carley (ENG)

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Forza Italia! Just for old time’s sake, do it again…

This is my favourite sporting day of the  year and, in unsurprising and totally related news, also my favourite drinking day of the year. And it kicks off with the Rugby equivalent of a shit sandwich.

I’m not for a moment advocating relegating Italy, but this has been another grim tournament for them. Despite early flashes of credibility, they’ve been given a righteous beating by England, again, and look to be making little, if any, progress.

Then there’s France. I’m not understating this when I say that this incarnation of the French side are an absolute disgrace to French Rugby. I want a French side where the forwards are terrifying—men born out of time that would have been right at home on an ancient battlefield swinging a bloody axe into somebody’s face or hefting menhirs while wearing blue and white trousers—and where the perfectly coiffed backs don’t so much run as glide, only taking time out from blowing kisses at the pretty girls in the crowd to dot the ball down over the line. Then celebrating the score with a fly Gitane under the posts.

Instead we’ve got this collection of abject cretins who don’t seem to give a toss, aren’t able to master the basics of the game, and are prone to at least one awful howler per match (and they’re lucky if it’s just the one). To make things worse, they also seem to have the tactical awareness of a pack of howler monkeys on a LSD binge. They are, quite simply, merde.

Pardon my French.

If there’s a Dog above, and he’s interested in any justice in the world, then Italy will administer a well deserved kick to le derrière collectif. Sadly, no matter how much I want Italy to stuff France right up their proverbial holes, my head says that they’ll win. At least Brunel can take les fecking positives from that.

Prediction: France by a few in a match that’s probably best forgotten.

Sat 14:45 Wales v Ireland

TV: BBC & S4C (UK), FR2 (France), Virgin Media (Ireland), DMAX (Italy), NBC (USA)
Venue: Principality Stadium, Caerdydd
Referee: Angus Gardner (AUS)

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Will Wales get revenge for last year and the GS to boot?

Following on from a horrible first match, we’ve got what will quite likely be a horrible second match. At least for me.

What the hell has happened to Ireland? They’ve gone from being the All Greens, readying themselves to wage terror and despair on the hearts of all Northern Hemisphere rugby fans, not to mention making even New Zealand a little bit wary, to Six Nations also-rans. Some inexplicable selections v England, and some lackluster efforts from a rightly-heralded side have left them looking at a probable third place in the table. Nevertheless, they did justly kick the absolute tar out of those frauds in blue last weekend.

Then there’s Wales. Being a right-minded Englishman, I absolutely begrudge Gatland’s team winning another Grand Slam. Yet the bastards are ruthlessly efficient and have won all their games without putting in a full 80 minute performance. Scotland gave them a scare last weekend, but it’s worth pointing out that they still, without playing well in the second half, came away with a win. Is the Fat Man right? Have they forgotten how to lose? I most sincerely hope not.

Were this in Dublin, I have to say that I’d fancy Ireland. They have improved with every game, and Wales have had long periods in every match where they’ve been second best. But it ain’t. So, I’m going to have to gird my loins, grit my teeth and congratulate the Welsh on clinching another Grand Slam in the Gatland era.

Prediction: I can barely bring myself to type this. Wales by 5.

Sat 17:00  England v Scotland

TV: ITV (UK), FR2 (France), Virgin Media (Ireland), DMAX (Italy), NBC (USA)
Venue: Twickenham Stadium, Lahndan
Referee: Paul Williams (NZ)

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Should auld acquaintance be forgot…

Ordinarily at this stage I’d be passing the drunkenness event horizon heading into the heart of the black hole of completely plastered. However, this year, I have a horrible feeling that having witnessed the rugby equivalent of a car crash, followed by the rugby equivalent of watching a gang of thugs kick a nativity scene to smithereens, there’s a severe danger of sobriety. It’s now up to England and Scotland to at least provide some entertainment in an otherwise grim day[*].

[*] Unless Ireland have beaten Wales, obvs.

 
England look so much better than they did this time last year. And they’re at home. Scotland, a nation blessed with the depth of a teardrop on a hot skillet at the best of times, have been ravaged by injury with an absolute plethora of their best players unavailable.

Eddie has shown a penchant for bosh this year, favouring the bulk of Te’o and a revitalised Manu in midfield in the last match (he’s not stuck with this though), while Scotland are struggling to find anyone with Scottish blood fit enough to put in the backs. Russell is back, and they are so, so much better with him at ten than the alternatives, and they can call on the 138th best Outside Centre in the world, so it’s not all doom and gloom. However, England have also, when at their best, used a laser guided kicking game, and the makeshift Scotland back three of Some Kid, Some other Kid and Yet Another Kid Playing Out of Position are in for a torrid afternoon.

Ignoring all the mind games / bad blood / mean Scots said `orrible things to poor wee George garbage from last year, let’s see what Science has to say about the likely England team (as it’s the only one published at time of writing):

Starters
Elliot Daly: out of position. Shit
Jack Nowell: stupid hair. Thinks he’s a flanker. Shit
Henry Slade: Having to play at OC because he’s not good enough at FH. Shit
Manu Tuilagi: Made of glass. Shit
Jonny May: only runs sideways. Shit
Owen Farrell: red card waiting to happen. Shit
Ben Youngs: small and fat. Shit
Ben Moon: Ain’t not Mako. Shit
Jamie George: Makes me miss Dylz. Shit
Kyle Sinckler: Thinks he’s a dinosaur. Shit
Joe Launchbury: Ain’t no Maro. Shit
George Kruis: Ain’t no Dave. Shit
Mark Wilson: who? Not even a household name in his own house. Shit
Tom Curry: about 12. Shit
Billy Vunipola: alright, he’s good.

Replacements
Luke Cowan-Dickie, (Lost his mullet. Shit.); Ellis Genge (plays for Tiggers. Shit.); Dan Cole (Was good about a decade ago. Shit.); Brad Shields (couldn’t hack it as an all black. Shit.); Nathan Hughes (just shit.); Ben Spencer (at least he’s not Danny Care. Shit.); George Ford (a fecking munchkin. Shit); Ben Te’o (Aspiring to be the new DCB. Shit).

So, Scotland by 20. It’s Science.

Real Prediction: Feck science. England by 12. I think Scotland aren’t as bad as all that, while England aren’t as good as all that and thus the bookies have been a bit generous.

Thanks to Cat for the peerless (and Haskless) predictions! May they all come to pass (except for the Italy and Ireland ones…)

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Ireland U20s have already won the competition and look for
the GS against Wales on Friday night.

Weekend TV Rugby fix

Free to air channels in bold.

Friday 15th March

06:35 Chiefs v Hurricanes, SR (Sky Sports Action)
08:45 Brumbies v Waratahs, SR (Sky Sports Action)
17:10 Stormers v Los Jaguares, SR (Sky Sports Action)
19:45 England v Scotland, 6N-U20 (Sky Sports Action, Mix)

Saturday 16th March

04:15 Sunwolves v Reds, SR (Sky Sports Arena)
06:35 Highlanders v Crusaders, SR (Sky Sports Action)
12:30 Italy v France, 6N-MEN (ITV, FR2, Virgin Media, DMAX, NBC)
13:05 Lions v Rebels, SR (Sky Sports Arena)
14:45 Wales v Ireland, 6N-MEN (BBC 1, S4C, FR2, Virgin Media, DMAX, NBC)
17:00 England v Scotland, 6N-MEN (ITV 1, FR2, Virgin Media, DMAX, NBC)
19:30 England v Scotland, 6N-WOM (Sky Sports Action/Mix)

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England hope to cement their 6N GS against Scotland on Saturday

Sunday 17th March

11:30 Clermont v Pau, Top 14 (Sky Sports Action)
13:30 Wales v Ireland, 6N-WOM (S4C, RTÉ TWO)
13:45 Schools Rugby final (Free Sports)
14:30 Northampton v Saracens, Premiership Cup Final (BT Sport 1)
15:50 Toulouse v Lyon, Top 14 (Sky Sports Action)


1,764 Comments On “2019 Six Nations Preview Round 5”

  1. Many thanks to Cat (who sportingly put up with being blagged into doing this final round preview…) Great stuff!

    3
  2. Glad to see Beirne get a start for us. He should help POM make Wales’ ball a mess. Pity they’ve move Dillane off the bench for Roux. Ultan’s done really well in his minutes so far.

  3. Ticht, from previous
    Survation currently have Remain on 55% with every voting district in Scotland, Norn Irn and Wales in favour of Remain.

    I suppose the longer it goes on (and on), the more informed people become.
    And more baseless optimism is debunked, like “the easiest deal in the history of deals”.
    Did he actually believe that when he said it?

    1
  4. @tompirracas>

    Please note that Papua New Guinea is NOT on the EU’s tax haven blacklist:

    European Union governments adopted a broadened blacklist of tax havens on Tuesday, adding the United Arab Emirates and British and Dutch overseas territories in a revamp that tripled the number of listed jurisdictions.

    The 28-nation EU set up the blacklist in December 2017 after revelations of widespread tax avoidance schemes used by corporations and wealthy individuals to lower their tax bills.

    EU finance ministers added 10 jurisdictions to the updated list. They are: the Dutch Caribbean island of Aruba, Barbados, Belize, the British overseas territory of Bermuda, Fiji, the Marshall Islands, Oman, the United Arab Emirates, Vanuatu and Dominica.

    1
  5. Good words Cat.
    But as much as I’d like France to get DOMINATED on Saturday, the bastards do not play at home as you say. Game is in Rome. And it’s Parisse’s last home game too. Another incentive for Italy? Oh! Please let it happen.

    Also, as much as I regret it, “derrière” is not feminine, as it obviously should be.

    6
  6. At m y folk’s place obviously – going through all the stuff and making sure everyone gets the things they want etc…
    Came across a pile of old CDs – was working discs that I’d given Mother so she could listen to what I was up to in the car.
    Stuff that I never kept – rehearsals and demos and that.
    Anyhoo, I’ve put a couple from about 2006 up in the Listening Room – you get to hear my playing very exposed…

    And that’s the same woman on banjo and violin.

    AoD Listening Room

    15
  7. The Italy aren’t progressing line isn’t really fair.

    3rd equal on tries scored, and if they had kept England to the same kind of scoreline as they did Ireland and Wales, they wouldn’t have conceded more tries than France and Scotland.

    Plus, instead of scoring boring close range tries like Ireland they’ve been running them in out wide with backs, which is far more morally correct.

    1
  8. @Flair99>

    Both my fault Flair — I added the correct venue to the heading but didn’t catch it in the text. And Cat had derrière correctly gendered as well — could have sworn it was feminine and didn’t check…

    Thanks for pointing out the gaffes, I’ll change them now.

  9. Sag, what’s the second tune called?

    I should know it as it’s one I play, but for the life of me I cannot remember the title of it.

  10. And just in case I left any room for doubt above I want Italy to utterly ravage France.

    I just don’t think it will happen.

  11. Just been reading through the previous blog and saw the reference to a poll which had Labour 7% ahead. https://www.aodrugby.com/aod/2019-six-nations-round-4-poll/comment-page-22/#comment-675424

    I thought this was a bit strange (because I usually see the polls on Twitter and hadn’t picked this up), and it didn’t come up on any recent search on the Mirror or Survation sites.

    AFAICT it’s actually from an article on the Mirror website from a year ago — https://www.mirror.co.uk/news/politics/labours-lead-over-conservatives-surges-12165233. The words used and the numbers quoted are identical, and I can’t find another like it (The actual quote is: Survation, which accurately predicted last year’s election result, puts Jeremy Corbyn on 44%, with Theresa May’s Conservative Party trailing on 37% and the Lib Dems notching just 9%.).

    The latest one I can find for Survation is 18/2/2019 which has the Tories on 40, Labour on 36, which is broadly speaking in line with other recent polls (of the last ten polls, Labour has behind in 8, tied in 2. The last time they were ahead was in mid-Jan.)

    This is all sorts of baffling, and dog knows what will happen after this weeks ministerial meltdowns, but there you are.

  12. @sagmog>

    Doh!

    Just about the most famous choon there is.

    Mates inna band used to, hilariously, call it She begs for more.

    I think I got the arrangement I play from a Duck Baker record.

    I say “play”, but not for about ten years, probably.

  13. @sagmog>

    Those choons and arrangements were first and second encore for a festival.
    Going down to just guitar and violin to close the night.
    I think I thought it was “awfentic” or something probably.
    Secretly because I quite liked that arrangement of the choon.

  14. And for those who care about such things – that is my baby Taylor I’m playing/battering fuck out of.

    1
  15. The image of the cat on the phone somehow* fits the one-sided conversation that starts the piece.

    Nice words Cat.

    *Somehow = Mr Brookter selecting an appropriate photo.

  16. @Chekhovian>

    Not a great day for Liberal Party leaders past or present then – footage of David Steel from the Cyril Smith inquiry very depressing on the news earlier.

  17. @ClenchedOne>

    That is horrifying news ClenchedOne.
    I hope that it hasn’t affected you personally, and that your family and friends are safe.

    Edit: ClenchedOne, I’ve just read a little more, and I’d like to add that I hope you stay safe.

    1
  18. Other end of the country to us but we have friends there (who are all ok). Honestly never thought this could happen here, which is apparently one of the drivers for the location…to prove it can happen anywhere. Fuckers!

    2
  19. Kieran Read has posted a pic of his childrens’ school gym where he was in lockdown. He was there to pick them up at the end of the school day.

    I see the lockdowns have been lifted, but it must be terrifying

  20. I spent a couple of weeks in Christchurch in 2002. A more gentle, pleasant “city” is hard to imagine. The loons must not win.

    1
  21. It’s a difficult call to make, but the Chiefs v Hurricanes game is going ahead.

    I hope it’s a belter

  22. Fuck.

    Suavo
    Boomking
    Clenched
    (Avs)
    Anyone I’ve missed.

    Hope you’re all safe and sound where you are.

    In Fucking NZ.
    What the fuck is anyone doing terrorizing in NZ?

    9
  23. Shocking events in New Zealand. I hope that all our Kiwi friends and their loved ones are safe and sound.

  24. Can we put all extremists / fundamentalists who think violence and killing people is some form of solution into a large barrel and fire them into the sun please.

  25. Love to the people whose lives have been destroyed or have had their loved ones senselessly murdered.

    Love to Christchurch.

    Love to New Zealand.

    Love to the planet.

    4
  26. Safe, but sickened by the news of events from Chchch.
    It is 1 of the few places in Aotearoa where there has been a history of white supremacist sentiment but today’s events far surpass what anyone might have imagined. I have nothing but contempt for the perpetrators.

    In other news, LaSuava is being stoic about the head lacerations and fractured right arm sustained when she tripped on a kerb and fell onto the concrete outside our local Countdown supermarket last Sunday. We got to spend almost 5 hours in the Emergemcy Department and have had a ‘fun’ week with her having to languish at home and I try to fulfill the carer role as well as holding down a job. Today’s shower, with 2 of us in there to get her cleaned while keeping her cast dry, gave us both a load of laughs. And there’s likely another 5 weeks of this to go.
    And you poor sods have the Brexit maelstrom. Funny old world, eh?

    21
  27. @ElSuavo>

    Do they know anything about the people who did it?

    Something about the live-streaming of the thing makes it even more sickening. Like some kind of disgusting performance

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