Category Archives for Rugby

Lions Down Under: The British Lions Tour 2025

British Lions Tour 2025 To Australia: A Rugby Rivalry Renewed.

The tourists last visited in 2013 and, under the leadership of Warren Gatland, emerged victorious. Will they be able to repeat this feat in 2025? At the time of writing, the Lions record stands at; 660 games, 494 wins, 32 draws and 134 losses.


Who Are The British & Irish Lions?

So before we focus on the British Lions Tour 2025 that will be upon us soon enough, let’s look back at the history.

The British & Irish Lions is a rugby team that is made up of players from England, Wales, Scotland, and Ireland. The team is selected every four years to tour one of the major rugby-playing countries, such as South Africa, New Zealand, or Australia.

The first tour by the British & Irish Lions took place in 1888, when a team made up of players from England, Scotland, and Wales traveled to Australia and New Zealand. The team played 35 matches in total, winning 14 and losing 21.

The Lions have since toured many countries and have had mixed results. They have had some successful tours, such as the 1971 tour to New Zealand, where they won the series 2-1, and the 1997 tour to South Africa, where they also won the series 2-1. However, they have also had some unsuccessful tours, such as the 2005 tour to New Zealand, where they lost the series 3-0.

In recent years, the Lions have toured in Australia(2013) and New Zealand(2017). The British & Irish Lions secured their first series victory in 16 years in the most emphatic fashion in Sydney as they defeated Australia 2-1 in 2013. So when the British Lions Tour 2025 is underway, can they repeat this outcome once again?

The British & Irish Lions led by Warren Gatland proved to be formidable opponents for the All Blacks, the reigning two-time world champions, in an exciting three-match Test series that exceeded expectations. Despite losing the first Test at Eden Park, the Lions fought back and won the second Test in Wellington, just as they had done in 1993. They then returned to Auckland and tied the third and final Test, resulting in a tied Test series, a feat only previously achieved in the 1955 Tour of South Africa.

In 2021, The British & Irish Lions faced the daunting task of traveling to South Africa for their Tour amidst a global pandemic. Despite the challenges and uncertainty, the team managed to stage the Tour successfully and delivered some thrilling performances. The opening match in Cape Town was a nail-biter, with the Lions ultimately coming out on top with a 22-17 victory. However, they were unable to maintain the momentum and lost the second game 27-9.

The series was decided in the final Test, which was a tense and closely contested match. The Lions put up a valiant effort, but ultimately fell short, with the South Africa team securing a 2-1 series win with a 19-16 victory. One of the key moments in the final Test was when 37-year-old fly-half Morne Steyn, who came off the bench, kicked the winning penalty, just as he had done in the second Test in 2009.

It was a memorable Tour for both teams and fans, and despite the loss, the Lions can take pride in their performances against a formidable South Africa team. Next on the fixture list is the British Lions Tour 2025 down under.

Top Point Scorers

Throughout the British & Irish Lions’ history, spanning over 100 years and 660 tour matches, several players have made their mark in the record books by scoring a significant number of points. The top 5 point scorers of all time for the Lions are:

  1. Andy Irvine: 281 points
  2. Phil Bennett: 236 points
  3. Bob Hiller: 214 points
  4. Gavin Hastings: 192 points
  5. Barry John: 188 points

These players have left an indelible mark on the history of the Lions, and their contributions on the field will always be remembered.

The Lions and the All Blacks and the Legendary Tour of 1971

Greatest Series

In 1974, the British & Irish Lions traveled to South Africa and created history by becoming the only unbeaten Lions tour in the post-war era. The team, captained by Willie John McBride, recorded an impressive 21 wins out of 22 matches, with the only draw coming in the final test after the series had already been secured.

Many consider this team to be the greatest to ever play the game. Their success can be attributed to the exceptional talent of the players, as well as their strategy known as the “99 call,” where all team members would gather to retaliate if they felt the opposition was getting too physical, fighting fire with fire. This added a new dimension to the game and further cemented their legacy as one of the greatest teams in the history of rugby.

27 JULY 1974: SOUTH AFRICA (6) 13, BRITISH & IRISH LIONS (10) 13 (Ellis Park)

The starting line-up for the final test match of the 1974 British & Irish Lions tour of South Africa was as follows:


Ian McLauchlan
Bobby Windsor
Fran Cotton
Willie-John McBride (capt)
Christopher Ralston
Roger Uttley
Fergus Slattery
Mervyn Davies


Gareth Edwards
Phil Bennett(C)
John Williams
Ian McGeechan
Andy Irvine(T/P)
JPR Williams
Dick Milliken

The team was mostly composed of players from Wales, Scotland and England, and the captaincy was led by Willie John McBride. This team was considered one of the greatest teams of all time and their performances during the tour are still remembered today for their skill, strength, and determination.

Although as Irvine put it in the book Behind the Lions: “What we have done is left a wee scope there for another team to go one better than us. The challenge is still there!”


Best Ever Lion?

I’ve watched rugby for decades and these are my top 12 nominations for the best ever Lion. How many of these would get into the British Lions Tour 2025 squad if they were still available?

  1. Martin Johnson – The captain of the 1997 and 2001 British & Irish Lions tours, Martin Johnson was a towering figure in the world of rugby union. He was known for his leadership, physicality, and ability to inspire his teammates.
  2. Gareth Edwards – Often considered one of the greatest rugby union players of all time, Gareth Edwards was a key member of the 1971 and 1974 British & Irish Lions tours. He was known for his vision, passing, and ability to create tries.
  3. Barry John – Widely regarded as one of the greatest fly-halves of all time, Barry John was a key member of the 1971 British & Irish Lions tour. He was known for his kicking, vision, and ability to control a game.
  4. Will Carling – Captain of the 1989 and 1993 British & Irish Lions tours, Will Carling was one of the best centers of his generation. He was known for his leadership, physicality, and ability to create opportunities for his teammates.
  5. Brian O’Driscoll – Widely considered as one of the greatest centers of all time, Brian O’Driscoll was a key member of the 2001, 2005, 2009 and 2013 British & Irish Lions tours. He was known for his leadership, vision, and ability to create opportunities for his teammates. The former Ireland centre remains one of the biggest stars of recent memories.
  6. Jason Leonard – The long-serving England prop toured with the Lions four times, making a total of 21 test appearances between 1989 and 2005, the most by any British & Irish Lion. Jason Leonard was also part of the British & Irish Lions squad for the tour of South Africa in 1997, he is one of the most capped English player of all time.
    He played as prop, and was known for his strength and durability. He appeared in all three test matches and helped the team to secure a 2-1 series victory over the Springboks. He is one of the most successful and respected players of his era and his contribution to the Lions’ success on that tour was significant.
  7. Willie John McBride  – Who holds the record for the most appearances for the British & Irish Lions, with 17 caps across five tours (1962, 1966, 1968, 1971, and 1974). He captained the team in 1974. He is considered one of the greatest locks of all time and one of the most famous players to have worn the Lions jersey.
  8. Jonny Wilkinson – Wilko may have only played in two full tours but still managed to make 16 test appearances as part of the Lions team due to his incredible work ethic and skill level. The former England fly-half is one of the most iconic figures in British rugby history. His solid kicking skills, accurate passing and unshakeable courage earned him legendary status among rugby fans around the world.
  9. Gavin Hastings – Scotland’s legendary full-back was on two trips with the Lions (1989 & 1993) and made 15 appearances for them during this time. The Scottish full-back captained the Lions to their decisive victory over New Zealand in 1993 and was one of the most dependable players on some contentious tours.
  10. Phil Bennett– Much loved Welsh scrum-half Bennett was a member of both the 1974 and 1977 tours, featuring in 13 tests along the way. Phil Bennett is a former Welsh scrum-half who was a member of both the 1974 and 1977 British & Irish Lions tours. He was known for his leadership, vision and ability to control a game. He was widely considered one of the best scrum halves of his time and his performances on the Lions tours helped to cement his place in the history of the game. He was famous for his sidestep, that helped him to create space and opportunity for his teammates.
  11. Jason Robinson – Known as ‘Billy Whizz’ due to his electric pace, Robinson was a key component in England’s 2003 World Cup triumph and a feared presence on both sides of the ball with the Lions. Jason Robinson is a former English Rugby Union player who was part of the British & Irish Lions squad on the 2001 tour of Australia.
    He was known for his speed, agility, and ability to score tries, earning him the nickname “Billy Whizz.” He was considered one of the best wingers of his generation, and his performances for the Lions on the 2001 tour helped to establish him as one of the most exciting players in the game. He was famous for his sidestep and ability to beat the defensive line, and he was a real threat every time he had the ball in his hands.
  12. Andy Irvine – A gifted attacker and goal-kicking wonder, competed in three British & Irish Lions Tours, including the historic 1974 victory in South Africa. Two years after his international debut against the All Blacks, the attacking full-back forced his way into the Test squad, although on the wing, for the series-clinching third Test in Port Elizabeth.


So although there are great players named above, the title goes to the points machine Andy Irvine


In the ten games leading up to that Test, he had scored over 100 points, and with his try in the final drawn Test, he finished the Tour with five tries and 156 points, a record tally for a Lion in South Africa.
He was similarly prolific in New Zealand three years later, where he equalled Malcolm Thomas’ 1959 record for most points in a single game on Kiwi soil by scoring 25 points against the Hanan Shield Districts, including an amazing solo try. His five tries against Wanganui/King County was also a new record for the most tries scored by a Lions full-back in a single game.

He joined the South Africa Tour late in 1980 but ultimately featured in three of the four Tests. He also earned 51 caps for Scotland and upon his retirement, his 301 Test points were a world record. Still the Lions record points-scorer with 274, he served as the tour manager on the 2013 Lions Tour to Australia.


British Lions Tour 2025 Prices.

As of yet, there are no prices for British Lions Tour 2025 tickets or hospitality available.

Fixtures For British & Irish Lions Tour 2025.

Once the British Lions Tour 2025 fixtures are available, we will post these with the dates, kick-off times and also TV schedules.

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Six Nations 2023 – Week One

The Six Nations 2023 Has Arrived

The 2023 edition of the prestigious Six Nations tournament commences with a scintillating series of fixtures on Saturday. A hallmark of the competition, this year’s Six Nations promises to be one of the most fiercely contested in recent memory.

To start the day’s proceedings, Wales, galvanized by the return of their celebrated head coach Warren Gatland, play host to the reigning world champions Ireland in a match that will be broadcast live on BBC One.

Later in the day, Steve Borthwick will take the reins as England’s head coach for the first time, as Scotland travel to the hallowed turf of Twickenham Stadium.

The opening weekend of the tournament concludes on Sunday, when an Italy side in the midst of a resurgence will welcome the defending Grand Slam champions, France.

This comprehensive guide provides all the information necessary to fully appreciate the 2023 Six Nations, including the channels where you can watch the opening matches and a succinct overview of each game to prepare you for the weekend’s enthralling rugby action.

Wales vs. Ireland

Wales vs Ireland, 2.15pm, Principality Stadium, Cardiff (BBC & S4C)

Predictions for the highly anticipated Wales vs. Ireland match are difficult to make given the formidable strengths of both teams. The return of Warren Gatland as head coach of Wales, following an 11-year successful stint and subsequent poor performance in 2022, has inspired the team and resulted in the selection of an experienced squad with a mix of veteran leadership and youthful talent.

However, Ireland’s status as the top-ranked team in the world, combined with their history of consistent performance, make them a formidable adversary. Despite their recent victory drought in Cardiff, Ireland’s solid lineup, led by captain Johnny Sexton and including the reigning World Rugby Men’s Player of the Year Josh van der Flier, cannot be underestimated.

It remains to be seen which team will come out on top in this high-stakes encounter if Wales can get out of the blocks quickly and cause an upset.I think Ireland will dominate this opening fixture and set the benchmark for their tournament..  Fat Lad Says; Ireland by 16+ points

Calcutta Cup England v Scotland 

England vs Scotland, 4.45pm, Twickenham Stadium, London (ITV)

As the Six Nations 2023 tournament begins, the upcoming match between England and Scotland is particularly interesting. Both teams come into this match with different managerial and player dynamics, with Steve Borthwick making his debut as the head coach for England and Gregor Townsend’s tenure as the head coach for Scotland ending after the World Cup.

England arrives at Twickenham amidst anticipation as fans wait to see if Borthwick can turn their fortunes around after a disappointing performance in 2022. Meanwhile, Scotland arrives with the Calcutta Cup in their possession and the confidence of having claimed a historic win at Twickenham during their last visit to London. Despite Scotland’s recent victories in the Six Nations, England is considered the favorite. However, their former scrum-half, Danny Care, acknowledges that the outcome is uncertain.

Ollie Hassell-Collins will make his debut for England while Manu Tuilagi is left out in favor of Joe Marchant. In addition, Owen Farrell, who was initially expected to start at fly-half, will instead fill the role of inside center due to the injury of Henry Slade. For Scotland, three-cap back row Luke Crosbie will start, with the more experienced Hamish Watson excluded, and Finn Russell will start at fly-half with Stuart Hogg returning from injury at full-back.

Fat Lad Says; Tight game this, England by 4-7 points.

Italy v France

Italy vs France, 3pm, Stadio Olimpico, Rome (ITV)

The Six Nations 2023 Sunday meetings return with Italy hosting reigning Grand Slam champions and world ranked second, France. The Azzurri will be buoyed by their win in the tournament last year against Wales and their victory against Australia in the autumn, but facing Les Bleus is a daunting task. Ugo Monye mentioned in a podcast that Italy’s return to the Six Nations has made it “whole again” as there were questions surrounding their place in the tournament.

The Italian side will be led by the talented Ange Capuozzo, who will look to make a mark in the tournament. On the other hand, France, captained by scrum-half Antoine Dupont, are on a 13-match winning streak and are aiming to defend their Grand Slam title and become the first men’s team to do so.

Italy have improved since their 33-0 drubbing by England, but they are not in the same league as France.


Fat Lad Says; France will be too good and will win by 15+ points


Don’t forget to check out the full fixture lists here and enjoy each game as they come around.

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6 Nations 2023 Fixtures

Guinness 6 Nations 2023 Fixtures

We have once again put together details about the television schedules and games. We have the fixture list below and some information as to where to be able to view the games.

Where can I watch Six Nations live?
All games are live on BBC iPlayer, BBC Sport website and mobile app.


What channel is Six Nations rugby on?

The 2023 Six Nations starts on Saturday and BBC Sport has live coverage and highlights across TV, radio and online. BBC One will broadcast live coverage of one game every round, starting with the opening match between Warren Gatland’s Wales and Ireland on Saturday’

What channel to watch my team? 

The current Six Nations TV deal in the UK means BBC and ITV will bring every moment of every tournament between 2022 and 2025.

BBC will show all Scotland and Wales home fixtures, while ITV will broadcast each of the England, France, Ireland and Italy home games.


First Weekend.

Saturday, 4 February

13:15-16:30 – Wales v Ireland – BBC One & iPlayer – BBC Radio 5 Sports Extra

16:45-18:45 – England v Scotland – ITV – BBC Radio 5 Live


Sunday, 5 February

15:00-17:00 – Italy v France – ITV – BBC Radio 5 Sports Extra

6 nations 2023 fixtures


Round 1

Saturday 4 February

Wales vs Ireland, 2.15pm, Principality Stadium, Cardiff (BBC & S4C)

England vs Scotland, 4.45pm, Twickenham Stadium, London (ITV)

Sunday 5 February

Italy vs France, 3pm, Stadio Olimpico, Rome (ITV)

Round 2

Saturday 11 February

Ireland vs France, 2.15pm, Aviva Stadium, Dublin (ITV)

Scotland vs Wales, 4.45pm, Murrayfield Stadium, Edinburgh (BBC & S4C)

Sunday 12 February

England vs Italy, 3pm, Twickenham Stadium, London (ITV)

Round 3

Saturday 25 February

Italy vs Ireland, 2.15pm, Stadio Olimpico, Rome (ITV)

Wales vs England, 4.45pm, Principality Stadium, Cardiff (BBC & S4C)

Sunday 26 February

France vs Scotland, 3pm, Stade de France, Paris (ITV)

Round 4

Saturday 11 March

Italy vs Wales, 2.15pm, Stadio Olimpico, Rome (ITV)

England vs France, 4.45pm, Twickenham, London (ITV & BBC)

Sunday 12 March

Scotland vs Ireland, 3pm, Murrayfield Stadium, Edinburgh (BBC & S4C)

Round 5

Saturday 18 March

Scotland vs Italy, 12.30pm, Murrayfield, Edinburgh (BBC & S4C)

Ireland vs England, 5pm, Aviva Stadium, Dublin (ITV)

You can also check these listings on the Radio Times website.

141st Calcutta Cup

England kicks off its first Six Nations campaign under new head coach Steve Borthwick against Scotland. The Scots are hoping to win back-to-back games at Twickenham for the first time ever. Borthwick took over for Eddie Jones in December after England’s lackluster autumn campaign ended with boos against South Africa. Scotland has won its last two visits to Twickenham and defeated England at Murrayfield last year. They’re aiming to up their game after finishing fourth in last year’s tournament.

The English team is missing several key players due to injury, but Ollie Hassell-Collins will make his debut on the left wing and Owen Farrell will return as captain, starting at inside center with Marcus Smith at 10. Jamie George is back in the front row after recovering from concussion, and Jack Walker will make his debut as a replacement hooker. Scotland has its own fair share of absentees, including Hamish Watson, but will feature British and Irish Lions center Chris Harris on the bench.

This new era for England will be about banishing the memory of the November boos and making a positive start for Borthwick’s project. Meanwhile, Scotland coach Gregor Townsend is taking a bold approach, including Luke Crosbie, Ben White, and Huw Jones to show a clear attacking intent.


This Saturday’s Calcutta Cup showdown at Twickenham will see England and Scotland face off for the 141st time. New Red Rose head coach Steve Borthwick is hoping to start off with a win, but Scotland will have other plans. With the oldest rivalry in international rugby being tipped on its head since Scotland triumphed at Murrayfield in 2018, the Scots have won three of their five meetings since and even managed a stunning 38-38 draw in London four years ago, where they fought back from a 31-0 deficit.

It’d be an understatement to call this a tough match for England. Scotland’s side is packed with talent, and they’ve already stormed Twickenham once since 1983. They may be missing five Lions squad members, but they’re still fielding a side with a ton of attacking potential. With Ben White starting at scrum-half, and offensive threats like Huw Jones, Finn Russell, and Stuart Hogg, England will definitely have their hands full.

While Scotland has shown they can take down major opponents, they haven’t been able to string together big wins in the Six Nations. The last two years they’ve beaten England in the opener, raising hopes for their first Championship crown since 1999, but then they’ve fallen away. Until they find some consistency, success will continue to elude them.

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Six Nations 2022 Round 2 Results

What Happened In The Six Nations 2022 Round 2

Let’s look at the Six Nations 2022 Round 2 fixtures and results.  February 14th is  Saint Valentine’s day and we know you all love rugby. With the favourites France at home once again, this time facing Ireland this was probably on the paper the fixture of this round. It didn’t fail to disappoint either and was as nail biting as Scotland in Cardiff. The foregone result was going to be England playing at the Stadio Olimpico against Italy. England the week before fell to a late 20-17 loss to Scotland in their opening match but any risk of back-to-back defeats to begin a campaign for the first time since 2005 never looked likely.

Wales 20 Scotland 17

HT 14-14

Dan Biggar’s drop goal completed a memorable win for Wales as the champions bounced back from a sobering opening loss against Ireland. This very tense Six Nations win in Cardiff, which was tied at half time , came about thanks to Biggars 15 point contribution

France 30 Ireland 24

France beat Ireland 30-24 in Paris on Saturday to consolidate their status as favourites for this year’s Six Nations title. Andy Farrell’s men beaten in Paris as Jaminet with 6 penalties and a conversion made Ireland pay for their lack of discipline. France ensured a thrilling Ireland come back from 15 points down fell just short as the hosts held on for a 30-24 victory in a nail biting match, that could have gone either way.

Italy 0 England 33

The Azzurri got the backlash from England, and this meant they are bottom as things go. England stretched their 6 nations record against Italy to 23 wins from 23 meetings.
A man of the match performance from Marcus Smith helped inspire England to a 33-0 bonus-point win over Italy in Sunday’s Six Nations. The half time score of 0-21 once again highlighted the gulf between these 2 teams. Fly-half Smith scored a try and slotted over four conversions.  A great performance too from hooker Jamie George going over in the first half for his 10th and 11th England tries.

Six Nations 2022 Round 2 Results

Final Thoughts.

Italy, who have now lost each of their past 34 matches in the Six Nations and have still yet to beat England in the competition. They are surely going to be the whipping boys again this year. They travel to Ireland in the next round, playing on Sunday 27th February. The 26th sees France on the road, at Murrayfield in the afternoon while the later kick off sees England entertain Wales. Will England start with Ben Youngs, who will break the record for number of caps, beating Jason Leonard’s Test record. Hopefully the break next week will see all teams refreshed and back to full strength.

If Scotland can upset the French in Murrayfield, this will throw open the title race. My thoughts are that France will be too strong and will have the Grand Slam in mind. England have the chance to bury demons and put the Welsh to the sword at Twickenham.

Finally looking at the Italians who are no one mugs under new boss, the Kiwi Kieran Crowley. The fitness levels seem to have improved a lot and they played ok in these first 2 fixtures against the 2 teams I originally said would be fighting out the title on the final day. As I said here ” Is the deciding fixture this last one being played in Paris? France v England when the draw was made was the mouthwatering fixture for sure.”

With both the English and French looking to have both found great kicking options with Smith and Jaminet respectively, providing both stay free from injuries and both these teams win the next 2 rounds of fixtures, this will add to the excitement of the final match. Could the Grand Slam fail or be won, by the boot of one of these 2 players?  We will see Saturday March 19, KO 20:00, Paris.


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Six Nations TV Coverage 2022

Fixtures and Six Nations TV Coverage For 2022

The Six Nations is back and for all you rugby fans, it’s time to get ready. just to make sure you don’t miss any of the action, our Six Nations TV Coverage guide here, has your back.

What channel will the Six Nations be on in 2022?

If you’re in the States, you’re in luck as NBC Sports will broadcast every match of the 2022 Six Nations in the States. The action will be streamed live on Peacock!

Is the 6 Nations on terrestrial TV?

All 15 fixtures will be televised on terrestrial television, and this year they have been shared between RTÉ and Virgin Media. Ireland’s opening match against Wales will be shown on RTÉ 2, with RTÉ also having the game against England on March 12th.

Every game will be aired live on either the BBC or ITV.

The BBC has lost the rights to broadcast France’s home matches in the men’s Six Nations from 2022 but the tournament remains on terrestrial television after a new four-year deal was agreed up to and including 2025. The two broadcasters began sharing the rights for the championship in 2016.

In previous years, the BBC broadcasted all of Scotland, Wales and France’s home matches – with ITV showing those of England, Ireland, and Italy – but from 2022 all matches in Paris will be added to ITV’s coverage.

Six Nations TV Coverage

Six Nations Rugby 2022

The Six Nations Tournament is held between six European rugby union teams. It is also known as the  6 Nations or simply – The Six Nations. Since 2000 it has been contested annually by England, France, Ireland, Italy, Scotland & Wales. The current champions are Wales.

The Six Nations has a tradition dating back to 1882 when the Home Nations Championship was first played. It was then decided that there should be an annual competition involving all of them to keep interest high – hence the Five Nations Championship came into being in 1910! Since 2000 Italy have been added as a permanent fixture with Scotland making up six teams to play each other once over five weekends throughout February and March every year.

The one to watch in 2022 is going to be Scotland who have been in exceptional form recently and will be looking to add another trophy to their cabinet this time around. Could it be the Calcutta Cup or the Six Nations or even both?


Round By Round Fixtures


Ireland v Wales, Saturday Feb 5, KO 14:15, Dublin

Scotland v England, Saturday Feb 5, KO 16:45, Edinburgh

France v Italy Feb 6, KO 15:00, Paris

Thoughts; The Calcutta Cup fixture, here we’ll see if England can travel to Murrayfield and tame the Scots. As an Englishman, I’m wanting a win for the visitors but the improvement since last year by Scotland could see them sneak this. It’ll be a close game with 3 points the difference in all probability.   France can show their credentials when they beat Italy but by how many points? They’ll either be slow out of the blocks and struggle to dominate Italy or they will hit the ground not just running, but at a spring and steamroll the visiting team.



Wales v Scotland, Saturday Feb 12, KO 14:15, Cardiff

France v Ireland, Saturday Feb 12, KO 16:45, Paris

Italy v England, Sunday Feb 13, KO 15:00, Rome

Thoughts; England have a chance here to establish themselves and need a convincing win in Rome. Ireland in Paris will hopefully be a test of the home side. Wales Scotland will be a close result, again probably 3-5 points difference at the most.

six nations tv coverage


Scotland v France, Saturday Feb 26, KO 14:15, Edinburgh

England v Wales, Saturday Feb 26, KO 16:45, Twickenham

Ireland v Italy, Sunday Feb 27, KO 15:00, Dublin

Thoughts; England entertain Wales and can hopefully come out as winners, but this will be a test for the Wales team for sure. Depending on how the Scots have done at home in round 1, France will be a stern test, but either of these 2 teams at this stage, on p[paper, could still be competing for the top spot.


Wales v France, Friday March 11, KO 20:00, Cardiff

Italy v Scotland, Saturday March 12, KO 14:15, Rome

England v Ireland, Saturday March 12, KO 16:45, Twickenham

Thoughts; Can England upsets the early St Patricks celebrations and how strong will the Wales defence need to be at home against the French? You’d expect Scotland to pick up the win here along with bonus points. Heading into the final round, I’d still expect France to be the top of the pile with hopefully England in a very close second.

The Final Round

Wales v Italy, Saturday March 19, KO 14:15, Cardiff

Ireland v Scotland, Saturday March 19, KO 16:45, Dublin

France v England, Saturday March 19, KO 20:00, Paris


Thoughts.  Is the deciding fixture this last one being played in Paris? France v England when the draw was made was the mouthwatering fixture for sure. Pre-tournament these 2 sides are the favourites with little between them. Wales if they beat Italy, might be condemning Italy to a whitewash here. I think Scotland and Ireland are battling for 3rd and 4th place at best here.

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Wales Win Six Nations While Watching On TV

Wales win title as Scotland beat France in Paris

The question is, deserved or not? If you look at the final table, Wales lost just once. Granted they conceded a huge 103 points, but they have also scored a massive 164. They managed 3 bonus points for scoring 4 tries in a game and the only game they lost, they picked up a losing bonus point. In a year where we have seen a lot of red and yellow cards, Wales did what they needed to do and that was to scrape the win in these matches.

Captain Alun Wyn Jones led by example throughout and Wales coach Wayne Pivac showed determination to improve after a really poor 2020. Louis Rees-Zammit has become a sensation, thanks to his speed on the wing and this was in part due to Pivac deciding to play Goerge North in at the centre.

France 23 – 27 Scotland

This was the final game of the Six Nations and it lived up to expectations. France who were favourites to win this match, yet still underdogs according to the bookies to lift the title, were at home against Scotland.

With France needing not just to win, but more importantly, the 4 try bonus point and a winning margin of 21 points, this looked set to be a blockbuster of a frantic game.

France went into the half time break with a small lead of 3 points, with just one try scored. At 13-10 the pressure was there to really get the game moving in the second half. Stuart Hogg yellow carded just before the break, didn’t give France any advantage.

French flair in the backs was equalled by Scottish forwards determination to dominate. A wonderful chip and chase gave France an eight-point lead. Scotland pressed and thank to penalties, kept the scores close at 18-13. Then Scottish forwards stepped up a gear, David Cherry, dotted over the line, putting Scotland in the lead, 20-18.

French lock Swan Rebbadj, scored a try to take the lead back 23-20. With less than 10 minutes left Finn Russell was red carded. Unable to take advantage of the extra man, then with French replacement lock, Romain Taofifenua shown a yellow card, meant both sides ended the match with fourteen players. Deep into extra time though Duhan Van Der Merwe went over for his second try of the evening to give Scotland a deserved victory.


Possible Deciding Factors.

France fancied themselves to do the business, the bookies expected them to win against Scotland. So what went wrong?

According to what news reports you read, I’ve seen comments about a quicker turnaround for this international, being one possible reason France didn’t achieve the win. Enforced changes in a couple of positions, with Ntamack starting at 10 and taking over kicking duties. At the end of the day, Scotland deserved their first win in France since 1999.
Maybe had the Premiership clubs refused to release the players for international duty, would this have made a difference?

Scotland kicked 3 conversions from 3, Ntamack managed just 1 from 3, so Matthieu Jalibert was missed in this final fixture.



Fun Facts;

Johnny Sexton, was the leading point scorer, with 65 points in total.

Scottish winger, Duhan Van Der Merwe took the leading try scorer spot, thanks to 2 in this final game. The English and Welsh wingers, Louis Rees-Zammit and Anthony Watson both had 4 tries apiece.

Wales finished 5th place last year now are in the winners spot. Last seasons winners England did the reverse, going from top spot down to a miserable fifth.

Scotland won in Paris for the first time since 1999 and lifted the Twickenham hoodoo with their first Six Nations victor there in 38 years.


Lions Squad

The ongoing debate as to the Lions Tour going ahead, still rages on. What is interesting though is the options for players to make the squad ( should the tour, actually tour ). Scottich back rows Hamish Watson & Jamie Ritchie have surely cemented their claim to a place on the team bus.

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France Vs Scotland Six Nations Decider

2021 Guinness Six Nations

Friday evening in Paris, the 2021 Guinness Six Nations will be decided in this rearranged fixture. With no Grand Slam to play for, the Welsh still have one hand on lifting the Six Nations, even after their defeat in Paris. But can the French win the Six Nations this year?

Wales are currently top of the table on 20 points, Ireland second on 15 but played all their fixtures, with France in third on 15.

Scotland opened this year’s championship with a first away win over England since 1983. Follow up on their emphatic victory over Italy and they are in good spirits. Bolstered further by the news that Premiership Rugby will release Scotland players for the rearranged match, maybe they can end their 22-year wait for a Six Nations win in France.

The bookies however don’t see Scotland being able to win this game.

France To Lift The Six Nations

Wales currently have a +61 points difference to France’s +41, so a win of 21 points or more over Scotland, should they score four tries and pick up the bonus point, will be enough for Fabien Galthie’s squad to be 2021 Guinness Six Nations champions. That’s the easy way to work this out.

Now, just imagine they win by exactly 20 points and get the bonus point then the winner will be determined by tries scored.

If, in the unlikely situation, Wales have scored 20 tries while France currently have 15, so they’d be on 19.

However, if they win by exactly 20 points but Les Bleus score six or more tires, then that would do it for the home team to be crowned champions. Bookies don’t think this French side are good enough with 6/4 being offered by several big bookies.

Six Nations Outright as at 21 March

Six Nations Outright as at 21 March

Wales To Be Champions

If Scotland win, draw or even lose but stop France scoring four tries, then Wales are named champions. So basically any Scottish win is enough, regardless of the score.

Should Scotland lose, not all is lost for the Welsh, provided Scotland concede four tries, as long as the final margin of defeat is 19 points or fewer.

The bookies favour Wales to be crowned outright winners, with odds of 1/2 on being available.


Shared Title?

Yes, it’s possible. If France get a bonus-point win over Scotland by EXACTLY 20 points and score EXACTLY five tries, then the two countries would be level on points, points difference and tries scored.

At that point, the Guinness Six Nations title would be shared for the first time since, coincidentally, France and Wales shared the Five Nations crown in 1988. I wonder what odds you’d be able to get on this?


Hopefully, this game will be as entertaining as France Vs Wales 32-30 was. It’s on tv so I’ll be watching it”

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French To Win The Six Nations?

A Quick Overview Of This Weekend

  1. Wales are good but discipline in the last 10 minutes cost them.
  2. France are better, even with a player red carded.
  3. England are dismal.
  4. Ireland played with passion.
  5. Scotland had a great win to set up this final match.
  6. Italy saved England from being bottom.


Ireland 32-18 England

An impressive display by the home team. A well deserved half time lead of 20-6 thanks in part to Keith Earls and Jack Conan who scored superb first-half tries. Ireland coach Andy Farrell certainly had a game plan for this fixture and it paid off handsomely, sadly to the detriment of his son the England captain.

With Lions coach Warren Gatland watching there must have been some serious note taking going on. Maybe Earls will be one of the hookers on the list of players, but Johnny Sexton who kicked 22 points has surely cemented his place in the starting fifteen.

England look tired, lacked ideas and the ill discipline was back. Bundee Aki’s red card in the 64th minute gave England the extra man advantage which enabled them to score a couple of tries in the last 15 minutes. The Connor Murray yellow card on the 78th minute gave the space for May to score a try wideout. Daly hit a magnificent drop-goal conversion from the left touchline to get England up to 18 points.

This defeat though means England slip to the worst finish since 1987 in their final Six Nations table, with Scotland still to play France meaning Ireland currently second could finish as runners up or slip to third, depending on the result.

According to Sir Clive Woodward in an article in the Telegraph, “Eddie Jones has become “all-powerful” at the Rugby Football Union and must be held to account after England’s disastrous Six Nations” and there are many others who are suggesting the same.

Scotland 52-10 Italy

It started off so well for Italy, with a try after 5 minutes, Captain Luca Bigi going over and Garbisi converting. Saldy it went downhill after this. Scotland hooker Dave Cherry and wing Duhan van der Merwe both scored twice as Scotland ran in 8 tries against a poor Italian performance. The 24-10 half time scoreline would have given Italian players and supporters a glimmer of hope for the second half, but indiscipline brought two yellow cards after the break. This gave Scotland 28 unanswered points in the second half, to claim their biggest winning margin in Six Nations history.

Seven of Italy’s 12 Six Nations wins since 2000 have come against Scotland, so they must have fancied the chance to salvage some pride in this years tournament. They haven’t won a Six Nations game since 2015 and it will need a lot of improvement before next year to get that statistic changed.

The good news for the Scotland squad is that the English Premiership have agreed to release players for the Friday night final match against France.


France 32-30 Wales

Saved the best to the last.  What a bloody game of rugby this was. It was Grand Slam chasing Wales going head to head with title contenders France in Paris. It’s been said Wales have had a lucky run this year. With both Ireland and Scotland ( who they beat by a single point ), reduced to 14 man and a contentious refereeing display contributing to their (ultimately) convincing win over England.  What people forget is Wales won the final twenty minutes of that England game 16-0, ( without a single ref controversy required) plus they have scored more tries than in any previous Six nations. This final Welsh fixture was going to be as dull as ditchwater or an all time classic. Luckily it was the latter, as both teams knew they needed a four try bonus point.

A blazing start by France saw a flurry of penalties awarded to them, a disallowed held up try before Romain Taofifenua manages to score a try which is converted. A quick reply by Wales sees them also have a try over ruled as the player was held up, at the other end. Dan Biggar does manage to crash over, with an excellent run on the angle and he converts his own kick, making it 7-7 after 14 minutes.

An instant reply from France though as Brice Dulin joins the line and chips over the top for the chasing Jalibert to gather for him to pass to Antoine Dupont to walk a try in. Beautiful French back play there in the 15th minute. France 14 – 14 Wales (Josh Navidi) in the 19th minute after some good play by Biggar once again, who also converted the kick. France replaced injured try scoring lock Romain Taofifenua, which could have been a big turning point so early on. Wales took the lead in the 24th minute as Biggar slots over a well taken penalty. France counter attack from the restart but Jalibert kicks the ball dead, meaning a scrum back on the French 10m line. Another enforced replacement as Jalibert goes off with a head injury to be assessed, Romain Ntamack his replacement starts off badly with a knock on, but redeems himself 3 minutes later with a nicely taken penalty to level the scores once again.


HALF TIME! France 17 – 17 Wales

Wales dominated possession in the first half and started the second in the same frame of mind. Biggar adds another three points after 6 minutes to give Wales the lead once again. Further points look on the card 3 minutes later when the TMO is called in once again to see if Josh Adams had managed to score a try. Try awarded and Biggar converts once again. A good French attack breaks down, but they were playing advantage and Romain Ntamack slots the penalty to reduce the deficit by 3.

The 58 minute mark saw game changing actions. Louis Rees Zammit was unlucky with a grounding wideout on the wing, where he was in for a try. Mohammed Haouas (France) was shown a Yellow card for pulling down a driving maul. Dan Biggar kicks the penalty to give Wales a 10 point buffer with 20 minutes left to play.

A French catch and drive from France before Marchand crashes over from the back of the maul, but he looks to be held up, so TMO is called into things again. Wales are offside in the tackle line from the France scrum five and Les Bleus take another scrum five, where Dulin looks to have gone over for a try. TMO time again. Bad news for France, as the try which was going to be awarded, isn’t and instead, it’s a Red card. In a ruck in the build up, Paul Willemse cleared out Wyn Jones and put his fingers near his eye, so after consultation between TMO and officials on the field, it’s a sending off.

With 11 minutes left on the clock, Wales decide to bring on fresh legs to finish off the game. Callum Sheedy for Biggar, Elliot Dee for Ken Owens, Leon Brown for Tomas Francis, and Willis Halaholo for Jon Davies. The French are awarded a lineout in the Welsh 22, and Cammille Chat is on for Marchand but his throw at the line is poor and Wales are able to break out. The  French come straight back and Ollivon goes over again for a try, that’s deemed to be held up. After Wales had been told by the referee about a series of penalties defending their 22, Taulupe Faletau was shown a Yellow card for being caught offside. He’s quickly followed off the pitch 2 minutes later by Liam Willams who was off his feet and interfering with the ball. France 14, Wales 13, players on the park, that is!

French opting to use the extra man advantage go for a scrum after the penalty is awarded. Scrum collapsed as Wyn Jones gos down. Another penalty to France, who opt for the scrum again. The clock is ticking and each set and reset is eating into the little time left. Charles Ollivon does get over for a French try on the 77th minute, which Ntamack converts. 90 seconds left on the clock.

90 Seconds To Go For A Wales Grandslam and Six Nations

France knock it on! Wales have 90 seconds to keep hold of possession. Time is against France and they seemed not to realise this while they were taking the scrums 2 minutes earlier. Wales conceded a penalty for sealing off, Ntamack only has one option to go for touch. France have the ball on the Wales 22, they attempt to go right, then left before Dulin arrives on the scene, far out on the left wing. Conversion missed, but the game was won and the bonus point added too.

Brice Dulin of France scored his side’s fourth and winning try in the 82nd minute of a match that had everything.


France To Win The Six Nations?

Yes, they can if they score four tries vs Scotland next Friday and win by 21 points in the rearranged fixture. A couple of weeks ago, I’d have said that this was on the cards, but the Scots will be on a high after their drubbing of Italy this weekend. Paris will be the deciding chapter in this seasons Six Nations, the French are favourites but never say never with Scotland just now. Roll on Friday!.

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England 23-20 France What A Bloody Good 80 Minutes

England Vs France

Serge Blanco’s 93 caps for France were filled with outlandish levels of attacking skill and ambition. Regarded as one the if not the best running/attacking fullbacks in the world. With the likes of Philippe Saint-André, Patrice Lagisquet, Philippe Sella and Pierre Berbizier the French backs lit the world up in the 1980s, with their flair and grace. Are we entering a new Golden Age of French rugby?

Without a doubt the best game of the competition this season by far. It was always going to be a tight scoreline and with England starting as underdogs, they had a lot to prove.  With an early try for Dupont, the French set out their stall. England defended well, looked dangerous on the attack and Watson scored a well taken try and was unlucky afterwards with a break and a chip and chase which would have been a world class score. Penaud scored a well taken try to take the French into the half time in the lead HT 13-17.

Maro Itoje barged over for a 77th-minute score to seal the win which was well deserved, such a pity though that the stadium wasn’t full of supporters.

Farrell ( 2 conversions 3 pens ) took the head to head against Jalibert who managed 2 conversions and a couple of penalties. The best 9 & 10 partnership on the international scene? Jalibert and Dupont light up the game for sure and with them hosting the 2023 world cup in France, the home nation will be expected to lift the trophy.


Englands Discipline Sorted?

After giving away 41 penalties in their first three Six Nations games so far, Test referees Wayne Barnes and Matt Carley were invited to England training to give them guidance on how to stay on the right side of the officials. Yes it seemed to work. With the World Cup looming and the rules saying that they want more flowing rugby, players on their feet etc, this looks like a savvy move by the England team to help curb indiscipline going forward.

Eddie Jones has suggested only around 70% of the current squad will feature at the next World Cup in 2023. The final fixture of this Six Nations against Ireland might be one where he experiments with his starting line up once again?

Wales Vs Italy

This was always going to be a game where the question wasn’t ‘if Wales will in’, but it was more about how many they’d win by. Running in 7 tries to win by Italy 7-48 Wales, this really was one way traffic. When you’re losing 27-0 at half time, there’s never going to be any way back into the match even with home advantage.

This was Wales’ 16th successive victory over Italy and it clearly showed the huge gap in quality between both teams.

Grand Slam Again?

Wales have now matched their record of 17 Six Nations tries in one tournament with a game remaining. This is the all deciding fixture in Paris against France. Win, lose or draw this game, I can see Wales scoring at least one try to beat their record for number of tries.


Relegation An Option?

The facts are damning. It was a 31st successive defeat for the Azzurri in the competition, with their last victory coming against Scotland in 2015. They have not managed a home Six Nations win for eight years, with 20 successive losses.

Italy have conceded 187 points and 26 tries in four games this year. They have lost class players like Sergio Parisse, who was a genuine leader and a world class player. It may take years and years for Italian grass roots rugby to produce players of the required quality to compete at the highest level. I think the money will have the last say, thanks to sponsorship contracts, but maybe the future might see Georgia being invited to join the competition in the coming years?


Ireland Win With 3 Minutes Left

Scotland at home would have fancied their chances in this fixture. Scoring three tries against the Irish brace was encouraging some would say as it showed the Scottish attacking ability. What let the home side down here was discipline. When you have a kicker of the ability of Jonny Sexton on the opposing team, the last thing you want to do is give away kickable penalties. This really hits home when you see Sexton pop 5 over for 15 points in the game you have just lost by 3 points. What must hurt most was the Scottish team had bounced back in the second half to get the scoreboard to 24-24.

At 10-14 the halftime score showed how close the match had been and it really was there for either team to win. A quick try then a penalty meant that 15 minutes in Ireland were in control. Scotland showed the grit to get back to 24-24, but at the end of the day it was the boot of Sexton thanks to the penalties that were their undoing.

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The Wales 40-24 England Farce

Remove This Referee From Internationals

At least he gave England players time to get on the pitch before the kick off!

French referee Pascal Gauzere set out his stall early in the game when he was whistle happy from the get go. Supporters and viewers want to see talent on the pitch running and kicking the ball, not the centre of attention being the guy with the whistle.

The stadium lacking the vocals of the singing fans meant that this game was probably going to be quite subdued off the pitch, but the fixture for the players was ever important with Wales going for the Triple Crown.

Wales scored four tries against England for the first time in 23 years and ran out deserved winners after two highly contentious decisions set them on their way to victory over England

First Half

Early penalties awarded against England kind of set the tone for this game, with Wales slotting one over for an early lead. Itoje’s pressuring the scrum half box kicking attempt almost paid off with an England try when he charged down a Hardy kick. Fullback Williams won the leg race by inches to keep him out from scoring what would have been a kickable try.
Farrell put the game back on par with a well taken kick and at 3-3 it was time to go again. It took just 15 minutes into the game for the first controversy to hit home.

England captain Farrell was penalised for failing to roll away from his own tackle on George North. Personally not sure how much rolling away you can do with 2 opponents on top of you, but that’s nothing compared to the farce that followed.

Step up Pascal Gauzere, into the spotlight once again.  Gauzere told Farrell to tell his team to “change their behaviour” and said “time off” indicating that the clock was stopped. Accordingly, Farrell did just that, calling in the wingers from the wings and the backs. On came the water carries to enable the England team in their huddle to get water taken on. They’re still being briefed by Farrell and breaking up the huddle as they hear the whistle blow, despite the water carriers still on the field in the huddled group. Biggar kicked out wide and  Josh Adams catches the ball to go over for a try.

England captain Farrell argued vehemently there were water carriers on the field and his side had no chance to reset after being asked to speak to his team about their discipline. The referee had zero interest in listening to his complaints and brushed him aside like he didn’t exist. Try stood and was converted. A second Farrell penalty brought England back into the game.


What Next?

Well, you may well ask. Almost another 15 minutes passes then we see Wales wing Louis Rees-Zammit attempting to take a chipped kick from Adams, but he knocks it forward with his hand, but it comes off his own leg. It then hits Slades leg, all without touching the ground and Liam Williams is there to touch down for a try to make the scoreline Wales 17 England 6.

Could this be a new sport? Keepy Uppy with the rugby ball? Just a thought.


Knock On Or Not?

From where I was sitting in front of the tv, it looked like he’d lost possession of the ball.

Former England and British and Irish Lions captain Martin Johnson; “I would have thought he’s lost control of the ball. Everyone who has ever played rugby will think that’s a knock-on.”

For the record, World Rugby’s laws state: “A knock-on occurs when a player loses possession of the ball and it goes forward, or when a player hits the ball forward with hand or arm, or when the ball hits the hand or arm and goes forward, and the ball touches the ground or another player before the original player can catch it.”


Wales went back to the changing rooms enjoying a fortunate 17-14 half-time lead!


Second Half

Hardy took advantage of a correctly awarded penalty against England lock Hill and his tap and go try was converted by Sheedy. England never gave up and tries by Anthony Watson and Ben Youngs, saw the hour mark scoreline 24-24. As good as they are in going forward, England need to sort out their discipline.
Wales replacement fly-half Callum Sheedy kicked three penalties, before Cory Hill’s last-minute try sealed a commanding bonus-point win. The scoreline was flattering, but Wales were worthy victors.


My Final Thoughts

Rees-Zammit the Welsh winger is fast. he was unlucky not to score a try and had the pass gone to him instead of the kick and chase, maybe he would have just managed to get over the line.

Wayne Pivac said the referee was lenient on England in some aspects with star second row Maro Itoje giving away five penalties in total, without being shown a yellow card. Utter bullshit! At least one of these calls was borderline and a second it wasn’t even Itoje who was offside.

The prematch commentary did a focus piece on Alun Wyn Jones and how he has that old head on him to wind up opposing players who he knows will bite. His display against Sinckler in the last game was a wonderful assessment of how this captain looks to try to gain the upper hand.

Nigel Owens, MBE who was interviewed earlier about his experiences in the game and him coming out as a homosexual was a really nice and entertaining pice too. Based on the performance shown today, I’d have happily as an Englishman had him in charge of the match.

Not only have Wales produced some world class players over the years and will continue to do so, but they have also enhanced the world stage with top, top referees. Clive Norling, Derek Bevan and also Nigel Owens.

Yes, I admit that referees do make mistakes, but as glaring as this one was today, French referee Pascal Gauzere should not be on the International Panel. That being the case too, while ever England are giving away so many penalties, then you will get referees who will keep an eye on them ready for the next one to come around.


Some more reports from the big boys available here;

The Guardian.

The Telegraph

Sydney Morning Herald


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