The Ashes was an unmitigated disaster from start to finish. Of course, the team and the selectors will learn from their mistakes, and while the ODIs are a little more tightly contested, they just serve as a reminder of what could have been. At this moment in time, we’re in dire need of the restoration of some good old national pride and cricket just isn’t doing it for us.
We need something to cheer about, and we could do worse than to tune into the Six Nations. Yes, rugby isn’t quite our sport of choice, but like we said, we’re in need of something to shout about.
In the current Six Nations’ odds, England are the favourites, and you must admit, they’re looking sensational. Even to the casual rugby fan, which includes a lot of us here at the club, the England team didn’t look like they got out of 2nd gear in the autumn internationals yet they still destroyed Australia (yes!).
So, what can we expect from the England camp during these Six Nations? Well, the thing we’re most excited about is seeing Jonny May’s blistering, pace-ripping opponent to shreds. Never heard of him or his record-breaking speed? Then let us enlighten you. Last year in a rehabilitation speed test, May clocked 10.49 metres per second over 40 miles. Yes, you read that right. If he kept that speed up over 100 miles, he would break Usain Bolt’s world record. Now if that’s not a good enough reason to tune into the first match against Italy, we’re not sure what is.
England certainly looks like the team to beat this year, but Ireland will likely run them close. And as much as we’d rather see Eddie Jones’ side seal the championship as early as possible, there’s something rather appealing about a St. Patrick’s Day showdown. The Irish will come to Twickenham for England’s last match, which could end up being a title decider. It has the hallmark of a classic encounter, and a ball hasn’t even been kicked yet.
Scotland could be the surprise package as their autumn internationals suggest they’ve turned a corner. However, we can’t see them edging past England over the course of five matches. The Welsh are always capable of a going on a barnstorming run, and we get the feeling that the fate of both teams hinges on that all-important first game. A game which incidentally just so happens to pit the Welsh against the Scots in Cardiff.
Italy are Italy. They play with a lot of heart and never give up, but while they won’t win the championship, they are capable of the odd upset, which could have a significant bearing on the final table.
As for France, we’re not quite sure how things will go with them. They’ve put six uncapped players in their squad, and they have a new coach who only joined the national setup recently. The chances are they won’t have had enough time to gel as a team under the new management.
All of this points to another race between the England and Ireland, but we have to say, and perhaps we’re a bit biased here, we can’t see our boys dropping any points. So, forget the cricket for a couple of hours over the coming weekends, and warm up your singing voice. Because the rugby is coming and we’re all singing for England and a spot of national pride.