Tuesday, 26 February 2013

Six Nations - round 3


Six Nations is very interesting this year. After beating France at Twickenham 23:13, England is the only undefeated team in the tournament. The English led by a superb captain Chris Robshaw, took their chances better than their rivals. They showed great composure and made very efficient subs from the bench. Manu Tuilagi deserves a special mention as he injured his ear in the first minutes of the game. Young player refused to leave the pitch and decided to finish the game. He was one of the best players! He needed 19 stitches after the final whistle, though. 
It was the third straight loss for the French. They are at the bottom of the table and their poor performance is a surprise for rugby fans as well as the experts. It’s even more interesting considering the fact that France didn’t win the wooden spoon since 1957. This time, however, the team seems to be in the crisis so everything can happen.

Wales is currently on the second place, after the win over Italy 26:9 and still has a chance to defend the title. Leigh Halfpenny had another great game. He kept the scoreboard ticking by kicking penalties and caused a lot of problems to the rivals’ defense. Italy definetely lacked the leadership of Sergio Parrise. 

Scotland beat strong Irish team in Edinburgh 12:8. It was a surprising win as the visitors’ statistics were much better. They had more possession and territory. Ambitious Scots managed to steal the victory and still have a chance to win the whole Tournament.

Below is the current table:



Sunday, 10 February 2013

Six Nations - round 2

Nobody has expected such beginning of the Six Nations. The French, who before the start of the tournament were the contenders to the Grand Slam, are the only team with no win after two rounds! French players were not only worse than their opponents, their body language suggested that they didn’t want to play. If you look at Frederic Michalak’s game, you will know what I mean. Wales won at the Stade de France 6:16 which is still a great achievement even considering the fact that they played with underperforming hosts. Therefore, the Welsh stopped their bad luck run and still have a chance to defend the title (at least in theory).

 Scottish supporters were very nicely surprised by their team performance. Brave Scotts outplayed Italians in Edinburgh 34:10. The hosts played very well, especially in defense, they were very determined and dominated their rivals. Interesting and effective attacks let them score four tries. The most impressive was the one scored by Stuart Hogg after a 90-meter run.

After bearing Ireland 12:6 in Dublin, England is the only undefeated team in the tournament. The game was close, neither of the teams managed to break the opponents defense. All points were scored from the penalty kicks. The key to England’s success was Owen Farrell’s kicking accuracy as well as team’s good discipline in the breakdowns, especially in the first half.

The rivalry in the tournament will continue in two weeks’ time when Italy meets Wales, England France and Scotland plays with Ireland.

Saturday, 9 February 2013

Blog’s first birthday

I celebrate first birthday of “Rocky writes about rugby” blog today! The last twelve months have gone very quickly but I enjoyed them a lot. What started as a small project developed into something much bigger and attracted a group of dedicated readers. Blogging in two languages gave me a chance to reach dozens of thousands readers all other the world. To name just a few, there are rugby enthusiasts from UK, USA, New Zealand, Poland, Czech Republic, Argentina, Russia, and South Africa.

I would like to thank for all positive feedbacks that I received. They are very encouraging for me. In my posts I have touched on many rugby related topics. I introduced my rugby pins collection, I interviewed one of the best Polish rugby players, I wrote some match reviews but, above all, I tried to cover rugby events which were most interesting to me.

Some prestigious media have noticed the blog. My posts were published on the official Sale Sharks website and top rugby community “rugbyunited”. The pleasure which I found in blogging surpassed my expectations. I enjoy writing about rugby very much - it gives me a lot of pleasure and satisfaction. I am very glad that the blog is becoming more and more popular every day. I would like to thank everyone who supports and helps me and I promise that I will try even harder to raise the bar higher and make the next year more productive.
 
I already have some ideas for the future development; some new, interesting projects are on their way. However if there is something which I’m missing or something that I should write more about, please don’t hesitate to let me know. I will consider every suggestion ;)

rocky.flanker@gmail.com
twitter: @RockyFlanker

Tuesday, 5 February 2013

Six Nations - round 1

The first weekend of Six Nations is over. We saw some interesting, high level and exciting performances.

In Cardiff, Irleland won with Wales 22:30. Visitors began vigorously. In the tenth minute Brian O’Driscoll broke through the defensive lines creating a great opportunity, which was then  grasped by Simon Zebo who scored a try. Jonathan Sexton added points from conversion and later penalty kick. Another fantastic try was scored by Cian Healy. Rory Beat charged down the kick and began the counterattack. The true hero was however Simon Zebo who displayed his exceptional skill. The winger received a difficult pass. As he couldn’t catch the ball, he kicked it with his heel and it landed right in his hands. All this happened at high speed and under great pressure from the rivals! You don’t get to see such situations often! More points were scored from the kicking tee by Sexton. After half time, Brian O’Driscoll, who was chosen man of the match, added another five points to the scoreboard. At this point Ireland was winning 3:30. The remaining minutes of the game belonged to the hosts. They managed to make up the point deficit to 8 points.

In the second Saturday's game England beat Scotland 38:18. The visitors could only stand for 20 minutes - the rest of the game was clearly dominated by the hosts. In the absence of Manu Tuilagi, Billy Twelvetrees - Gloucester’s center - got the chance to play. His debut was very successful - the young player scored a try. Apart from him, the points were added by Chris Ashton, Geoff Parling and Danny Cave. Stuart Hogg from the Scottish team deserves a special mention as well. Stuart Lancaster has reasons to cheer not only because of winning the Calcutta Cup. The game with Scotland showed that the English team has great potential and what’s more important a number of young ambitious and talented players within their ranks. It means that such stars like Manu Tuilagi or Chris Ashton can be replaced by other equaly good team members.

A surprise in Rome as Italy beat France! Not many expected this. The French team looked much better on paper than its rivals but as one of my coaches says "the game doesn't win on its own”. The hosts were determined and played an ambitious and consistent game. The French lacked a game plan and the leader who could motivate the team successfully. As I mentioned in my previous post, the French team is unpredictable. Within a week they can give two completely different performances. Therefore, I wouldn’t write them off too early. Congratulations to the Italian team who can now enjoy another victory with the elite rugby team. Rome is becoming a fortress where even the best struggle to win. Italian win is definitely going to add a spice to the rivalry.