6 3 mins 9 yrs

Because Friday night is Music Night: the big one

Week 2 of the 6 Nations is here. Tomorrow Scotland is at home to Italy. After their sensational win over France in Rome last week I fancy a buoyant Italy to do it again in Edinburgh. Straight after is France v Wales in Paris. It’ll be a different French team from a week ago, particularly with Thierry Dusautoir returning. After Ireland’s win in Cardiff last week Wales are on an 8-game losing streak. They’ll make that 9 tomorrow.

Then on Sunday afternoon it’s the big one: Ireland v England in Dublin, which is always a special fixture. It’s forty years this weekend since England played in Dublin despite Wales and Scotland pulling out because of the Troubles. Brendan Gallagher has a nice piece about it in The Telegraph.

When England went to Dublin two years ago we were roughed up, beaten up, pushed back, trodden on, had our shorts pulled down and our arses spanked. Last year at Twickenham a fresh, new look England demolished the Irish scrum. The first one went badly for Ireland and that was as good as it got. It was a crushing, prompting Brian Moore to say that England had manshamed the Ireland pack. Cian Healy, Rory Best and Mike Ross will be thinking “not again”.

So what of Sunday? If England again dominate the scrum then we’ll win because Farrell win kick the points and Ireland will find it hard to retain ball. Ireland is strong of course in the back row, and if they’re sharp at the breakdown (like two years ago) it’ll be very tough for England. Still, England’s back row has been none too shabby for a while now and it could be a right tasty 80 minutes on the deck. England by 1 would be enough for me. Bring it on.

Bring on the music too, I hear you say. It’s been a while since we heard from the great man, so let’s have some Rory –

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  1. “Brendan Gallagher has a nice piece about it in The Telegraph.”
    Which all goes to prove that the real reason the rest of the British Isles dislike us is not because we are the overpowering, overweening, arrogant bastards they like to think we are; it’s because we English are the most easy going, fair minded and good natured conquerors that anyone could hope for.

    Today the Agit8eds were in their local branch of a popular budget supermarket. Mr Agit8ed got talking to a gentleman about paint and the went on to discover the man was Welsh to his core. We discussed Rugby and I admitted to the gentleman that we Agit8eds got more genuine pleasure from a Welsh win than an English win…
    And that’s how we true Englishmen are. We recognise talent and commitment wherever it comes from, and that’s why we went on to build the British Empire. Because we needed the talents of the Welsh and the Scots and the Irish. Without them we wouldn’t have done it.
    I want Wales to win tomorrow. Italy to beat Scotland (but I won’t mind if Scotland win) and England to beat Ireland -but I don’t much care either way.

  2. I didn’t pay all that much attention to Rory’s guitaring, all I could think was: Bloomin’ tight drumming, you could set your clock to that.

  3. See I really don’t think England dominate the scrum the same way (maybe they will but there is nothing to say they should). Of the 3 English front row forwards who started in the last match of last season against Ireland only 1 will start tomorrow. It comes down to individual matchups and in the scrum you only need to get an advantage in one of those matchups. Mike Ross got hurt last year which meant you had Alex Corbisiero taking on an out of position Tom Court and he ripped him to pieces. Corbisiero is hurt and I don’t think that Joe Marler will get the same out of Mike Ross that Corbisiero got out of Tom Court.

    I think (again could be wrong) that if either side is going to put the opposing front row under pressure it will be Ireland putting England’s under pressure.

  4. Seamus –

    Possibly it’ll be Ireland going forward. I’d have played Hartley given last year, but Corbisiero is injured. Tom Court had a nightmare when he came on but Mike Ross was going backwards in the first half.

    In the end it’s which tight five is tightest and smartest and has its timing right. It’s not all about strength.

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