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Old 02-01-2019, 01:55 PM
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Six Nations Rugby


I don’t know much about rugby, but I’ll be watching. Go England! I’m also giving ESPN’s fantasy rugby a shot with an auto pick team.
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Old 02-01-2019, 02:33 PM
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It should be a really good contest this year. Ireland have been excellent, England are looking a bit shaky, Wales look strong and Scotland are playing the best they have in ages. Who knows what France will be like? As for Italy, well on their day I think they could upset someone if the stars align just right.

And it's a World Cup year as well!
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Old 02-01-2019, 03:56 PM
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Wow that was a good first match between Wales and France. And we've got England Ireland to look forward to tomorrow.
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Old 02-01-2019, 06:40 PM
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Hmm "Six Nations" obviously has a different meaning across the pond.

I was expecting a thread about the Iroquois.
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Old 02-02-2019, 02:46 AM
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I have to say, I don't think I've seen a team play play quite so badly and still put in 24 unanswered points. What the hell did France have at half-time? Mind you I was thinking that France were riding their luck somewhat in the first half, some very, very curious kicking options taken and bad decisions all over that only Welsh ineptitude failed to capitalise on.

It was certainly fun but I'm not sure we've learned anything about either team.
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Old 02-02-2019, 03:38 PM
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Damn England cut Ireland right in two.
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Old 02-02-2019, 03:45 PM
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That has to be the best England performance in quite a while. Shows how silly the talk about Jones having had it was.

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I have to say, I don't think I've seen a team play play quite so badly and still put in 24 unanswered points. What the hell did France have at half-time? Mind you I was thinking that France were riding their luck somewhat in the first half, some very, very curious kicking options taken and bad decisions all over that only Welsh ineptitude failed to capitalise on.

It was certainly fun but I'm not sure we've learned anything about either team.
I think we've learned that neither is particularly a side to be feared by the other teams.
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Old 02-03-2019, 10:36 AM
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Wales took advantage of the French mistakes that mattered. And in that pouring rain, there were many mistakes.

England looked mean. Just flat out nasty. Let's see how Ireland responds next weekend.
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Old 02-03-2019, 10:56 AM
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Damn England cut Ireland right in two.
Iím honestly not sure if you mean two of the six nations being north and south Ireland, or the result of a match.
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Old 02-03-2019, 12:09 PM
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The Irish rugby team represents all Ireland. My comment was an allusion to a Robert Johnson song 32-20 blues.
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Old 02-03-2019, 08:07 PM
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As long as its 15s I'll catch what I can. Have just never been able to get into 7s at all. Of course being a former hooker may be part of the reason for that.
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Old 02-04-2019, 04:53 AM
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England looked mean. Just flat out nasty. Let's see how Ireland responds next weekend.
Beating the Irish at their own game, IMHO.

I thought the Irish got a lot of key decisions their way in the first half (none of their lineouts looked straight to me, for example - one eventually got called against them towards the end of the half) - but England still went into the break ahead. I didn't see the second half.
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Old 02-04-2019, 05:41 AM
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Wow that was a good first match between Wales and France.
Huh. Honestly, I thought this game was pretty average - the weather didn't help - with both sides making masses of errors. On the plus side for Wales, they surely can't be as bad again in this tournament as they were in the first half on Friday night. They looked flat, Anscombe kicked terribly, they chased poorly, they knocked on, they missed tackles. They were bloody awful. To win from that position needed both an increase in performance, which they got, and some help from the opposition - who provided it in spades. France's breakdown work went to pot for a solid 25 minutes in the middle of the second half, Wales started putting big runners over the gainline and the French defence just couldn't cope. 2 tries might have been big errors but they were just for the pressure Wales put on; their best try was the one chalked off for AWJ taking Picamoles out on the fringe. Wales best performers were their front row - aside from one penalty conceded, they handled a much bigger and relatively vaunted French front row with ease.

Wales have Italy next, which is good for them; an opportunity to build on their second half in France and try to settle into the tournament a bit more. They know they got a smash and grab on Friday - really you have to win matches in a manner that is repeatable and Friday was certainly not that - but they're well placed for a good run now that they've got that terrible performance out of their system. They also have England and Ireland at home, which will be a big help.

England performed about as well as they have done under Jones on Saturday - certainly since they went to Australia in the summer after that last World Cup and won a Test series 3-0. The obvious points have already been made - England dominated the tackle area, pushed Ireland back and bullied them around the park (England's pack were magnificent - man of the match could have been pretty much any one of them) - but what Wales failed to do on Friday, England did well on Saturday. They looked after the pill, kicked with precision and chased - mostly - extremely well. They identified that Henshaw was out of position at full back and used League style diagonal grubber kicks to expose him, they noticed that Earls wasn't good under the high ball and targeted him mercilessly and their own back 3 held up under the kicking game pretty well. Tom Curry was good at breakdown too, making a lot of Irish ball slow. The task now is for England to play with that clear a gameplan (not necessarily the same one) and execute it to that level every time they go out on the park. Upcoming is France at home - they must win to back this result up, but the French pack are unlikely to be as easily manhandled.

If I am NZ, I would reckon that they have seen exactly how to beat Ireland and would back myself to do what England did, to a higher level, with better players. Talk before the game was Ireland were the best team in the world now, the favourite for the RWC. Not now, imo.

Ireland - their absentees really hurt; they need Kearney back at full back, so they can use Aki off the bench and put Henshaw back in the centre; they need Sean O'Brien back - I forgot Van Der Flier was on the pitch, so anonymous was he at breakdown; and they also missed Iain Henderson in the second row. It didn't help that Conor Murray was coming off injury either - he looked like he'd been out several weeks and wasn't his usual self. I also thought Rory Best was poor - personally I think he's a bottler - he's been on the last two Lions tours and, faced with the biggest games of his life, went missing on both occasions. He did it again here. They shouldn't panic though - they've got players to come back - but it is evident that the gap between the second string and first in some positions is not as close as they might like. Scotland away is going to be tough, mind you.

I didn't see Scotland-Italy: it was obvious who was going to win and, in preference, I watched England's cricketers get their brains dashed against a rock in the Caribbean instead. We'll see more about Scotland in particular next week.

Last edited by Cumbrian; 02-04-2019 at 05:44 AM.
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Old 02-08-2019, 03:56 AM
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Scotland-Italy was much as you would expect for the first 70 minutes (or possibly the full 80, depending on how cynical you are about Scotland):

First 10 mins - Scotland dominate and produce chances, but don't capitalise them (e.g. try ruled out for double movement). Italy score from a penalty to take the lead.
Then Scotland get their act together and score two good tries - winger Blair Kinghorn the scorer in both cases. We then get bogged down in scrumming and finish the half 12-3 (Scotland should be on about twice that, if only they could take their chances).
Second half started much better, with Scotland scoring through Hogg and then getting the bonus point try from Kinghorn (that's a hat-trick), and then a further try from Harris. Italy seemed wide open, unable to hold back Scottish runners or to get out of their own half when they had the ball. Fitness was beginning to tell, and I thought the last ten minutes would be a romp.

And in a way, they were. Berghan brought a maul down deliberately and got sin-binned for his troubles. Italy scored immediately. Hogg has a try disallowed (wrongly, as the ref later admitted). Then Italy score twice more, to make the score 33-20 instead of 33-3. Scotland looked pretty flat in defence in those 10 minutes and Ireland will be feeling that they've got something to work with tomorrow.

Blair Kinghorn, who scored a hat trick, will get a great view of the match from the bench, with Sean Maitland coming back from injury. That must have been a fun conversation.
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Old 02-08-2019, 11:31 AM
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Blair Kinghorn, who scored a hat trick, will get a great view of the match from the bench, with Sean Maitland coming back from injury. That must have been a fun conversation.
This was an interesting selection, as far as I am concerned. England have made a similar selection this week, in that, they played the more defensive minded, harder edged, kick chaser on the wing against Ireland (Jack Nowell) and this week v France have picked Chris Ashton instead who is more attack minded. Scotland appear to have done the same thing but in reverse - choosing the defensive option v Ireland by dropping the dasher from last week.

All these guys are sitting on reams of data and it's interesting that Scotland and England have come to similar conclusions. Be interesting to see how it plays out on Saturday - maybe there is a vulnerability on the wing for Ireland that teams are looking to exploit.

Scotland are good - better than they have been for years but Ireland are smarting and some sort of backlash seems inevitable. Very tight this one, but I think Ireland might sneak it (I wouldn't be surprised by the reverse).

Wales will beat Italy.

England - France. Heart says England. Head probably says England too, but it will likely be more hard yakka against a big French pack, and a side that, in general, tends to get much better the longer they are together (largely because unlike the other 6N countries, the national side struggles to get player access from the clubs as frequently).
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Old 02-09-2019, 09:13 AM
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Cracking first half, Ireland just ahead slightly against the run of play. Scotland start and finish well but had a dodgy period after giving away their first try where errors crept in.

Kinghorn gets to play after all, in his preferred full-back role after Hogg comes off injured.

It's going to be close, which probably means someone's going to make an error they'll regret for a while.

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Old 02-09-2019, 09:50 AM
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Not much in it, Scotland are having a few handling issues and that's probably the difference at the moment. They've squandered several good field positions through knock-ons.
Ireland favourites but still not firing on all cylinders and just a converted try in it.
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Old 02-09-2019, 10:00 AM
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More errors creeping in for Scotland now, Ireland turning the screw.
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Old 02-09-2019, 10:05 AM
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Yeah, decided not by one big error but by lots of little ones from Scotland. Disappointing.

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Old 02-09-2019, 10:24 AM
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More errors creeping in for Scotland now, Ireland turning the screw.
So many handling and other errors. Having said that, watching Scotland play is pretty much always entertaining now - God knows there's been actual entire decades when that wasn't true

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Old 02-09-2019, 11:42 AM
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So many handling and other errors. Having said that, watching Scotland play is pretty much always entertaining now - God knows there's been actual entire decades when that wasn't true
True, but it is the hope that kills you Baron.
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Old 02-09-2019, 12:00 PM
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True, but it is the hope that kills you Baron.
We laugh in the face of hope.

It's never boring watching a team that has Finn Russell and Stuart Hogg in, mind. It's a pity that Stuart seems to be made of porcelain.
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Old 02-10-2019, 10:25 AM
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England are continuing their form from last week and are giving France a bit of a battering. I'm not sure I've seen their tactical kicking any better and it has played such a fundamental part of the lat two games that future opposition will surely be working out plans to nullify it. It'll be fascinating to see how that pans out.
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Old 02-10-2019, 09:46 PM
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England are continuing their form from last week and are giving France a bit of a battering. I'm not sure I've seen their tactical kicking any better and it has played such a fundamental part of the lat two games that future opposition will surely be working out plans to nullify it. It'll be fascinating to see how that pans out.
I watched a lot of that game and even though I don't completely understand rugby and certainly don't get nuance, even this untrained eye can spot an ass-whuppin in progress. And that was an ass-whuppin.

France looked completely outmatched. Are they actually that bad or did England just play way above their normal level?
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Old 02-11-2019, 03:24 AM
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France looked completely outmatched. Are they actually that bad or did England just play way above their normal level?
It's a little of both, I think.

England are in good form - the best they've been in some time. A bit of this appears to be key players coming back from injury (both the Vunipolas being around is key - and it was not great seeing Mako go off with an injury yesterday - and Tuilagi is a better 12 than they've had playing in some time too), another bit of it is some luck that has allowed them to hit on good combinations (Wilson is only in the team because Brad Shields got injured in the Autumn but has grasped the opportunity with both hands - he and Curry give the back row a balance that it has not had in some time) and yet another part of it appears to be a better gameplan precisely executed. As Novelty Bobble pointed out, the kicking game over the last two matches has been exceptionally good - it will be interesting to see what happens when they come up against a side with a good plan to defend it (it could, for instance, mean more holes in the defensive line as men drop back to defend). England have also defended well, pushing the attack back and being much less passive than they were in 2018.

France were also bad yesterday. Some of that was selection - they picked two guys out of position in the back three and they got exploited over and over again in the kicking game (Penaud in particular was badly exposed and Huget was caught in the line leaving no full back in place more than once) and some of it was failure to respond to pressure when they had the ball. They actually put together some reasonable passages of play in the final 20 minutes but knocked on, threw the ball forward or what have you. There's some sort of alarming stat for France that they have been in the lead at half time in 5 out of their last 6 matches or something - and lost them all. They're clearly not terrible - if they were that bad, they'd never have got the lead in the first place - but there appears to be a significant amount wrong with them. They've had great success recently in age group rugby and it might be worthwhile getting rid of their coaching team, bringing in the U20 coaches and selecting all their young guys - they will at least have familiarity with one another and an ingrained idea about how they want to play that would be better than we saw on Sunday.
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Old 02-11-2019, 07:22 AM
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On current form, Wales appear to have no chance against England in the next game - which is probably exactly the way they want it, and the sort of dangerous thinking that England must avoid. I expect Jones to be pretty good at ensuring that's the case, but I refuse to get my hopes up. Even if England win in a fortnight, I wouldn't put it past Scotland to put it all together and prevent what should be a great opportunity for a Slam. Plenty of ifs and buts to come.
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Old 02-19-2019, 05:14 AM
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We laugh in the face of hope.

It's never boring watching a team that has Finn Russell and Stuart Hogg in, mind. It's a pity that Stuart seems to be made of porcelain.
You had to go and say it, didn't you?

Finn Russell out of France clash with head injury
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Old 02-19-2019, 05:26 AM
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You had to go and say it, didn't you?

Finn Russell out of France clash with head injury
FFS.
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Old 02-19-2019, 06:32 AM
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Scotland's injury list is ungodly. 20 odd guys out with one thing and another I think. As one of the smallest professional player bases, it's driven a coach and horses through this 6N for them. It's a real problem indicative of just how physically difficult the game has become over the years. I think Dan Cole has gone on record saying that pro players are never 100% fit nowadays and it only takes a few injuries to totally scupper a team. Competitions like the 6N and the World Cup can sometimes become exercises in who has the most available players of quality by the latter stages.

Anyway now watch Scotland get up for England on the last day of the 6N. Not convinced that England are going to win this Saturday though - good chance that Wales will be going for the GS against Ireland. Wales are well coached, don't have *that* many injuries and have a decent pack that has scrummaged well and has a bunch of decent operators in it. Going to be difficult this weekend.
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Old 02-19-2019, 06:53 AM
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You could say much the same about England. I share your concerns but I feel England deserve to be slight favourites for this one, even away from home.
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Old 02-19-2019, 07:00 AM
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My main problem is the back row - I have been very impressed with Wilson and Curry since they have got into the team but I think Navidi and Tipuric are better. Given breakdown is now where the game is won and lost, these are the 4 guys I am looking at to decide it.

I would take Billy Vunipola over Ross Moriarty every day of the week, which brings the back row into some sort of parity, but these two won't be in the breakdown that much I would imagine.

The other area of worry for me is the back three. Wales will likely kick better than Ireland (who had an off day) and France (who were terrible). Daly in particular could do with having a good game.
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Old 02-19-2019, 10:07 AM
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Would you consider moving Daly to the wing (dropping Ashton) and bringing Brown in at full back, then?
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Old 02-19-2019, 10:49 AM
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Would you consider moving Daly to the wing (dropping Ashton) and bringing Brown in at full back, then?
Strongly, verging on making it a definite selection.
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Old 02-19-2019, 10:56 AM
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Ashton is a pretty good player to be able to bring on at 60 minutes as well, particularly in conjunction with potentially moving Nowell to flanker (though that probably relies on a fairly unlikely combination of England needing a couple of tries to get back in the game and not being able to get them due to lack of incision in the back line, despite winning good ball up front. If England are losing the ball at the breakdown then moving a non-specialist into the back row doesn't seem likely to help).
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Old 02-19-2019, 11:08 AM
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Ashton is out injured, so if it were me it would be Daly on the wing, Nowell on the bench, Brown at full back. More likely to be Daly at full back, Nowell on the wing and someone like Cokanasiga on the bench.

I am fairly certain, though might be surprised, that this Nowell at flanker talk is a bit of kidology from Eddie Jones. I really can't see it happening, even in a scenario where we're down by a lot, for precisely the reason that you outline in your final sentence.
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Old 02-19-2019, 11:24 AM
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Well, he is a master of the art. But Nowell did play there last game to cover Curry's sin bin, I believe, which is a little bit unusual in itself (you'd normally just go with a seven man pack, wouldn't you?).
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Old 02-21-2019, 06:31 PM
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The always entertaining squidge on why Wales v England is such a special game.
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Old 03-16-2019, 04:05 PM
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Gggaaargghnnnnrraaggrh

It will be a long, long time before I recover from the emotional wringer of that match.

(And well done Wales)
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Old 03-16-2019, 05:02 PM
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Hmm "Six Nations" obviously has a different meaning across the pond.

I was expecting a thread about the Iroquois.
I think that almost nobody at all who follows rugby, or is involved in running the Six Nations competition, is aware that the phrase is indeed probably borrowed from the Iroquois Six Nations.

Until the 1990s, the international rugby competition in Europe was just a series of fixtures that were agreed upon and played every year. England would play Scotland in England on the same day that Wales played Ireland in Wales. The following year it would be Scotland v England in Scotland and Ireland v Wales in Ireland, and so on. There were no trophies or official titles (except for the Calcutta Cup which was just for the game between Scotland and England). The 'triple crown' and 'grand slam' were conferred unofficially.

Originally the games were called the "Home Internationals". France then joined the competition, sporadically before WW2, and then ever since WW2. There were therefore 5 teams competing, and since France is not one of the "home nations" in rugby or football speak, a different name for the international series was needed.

I believe that at some point many decades ago, some journalist who knew about the Iroquois jocularly nicknamed the competition the "Five Nations' Championship". Eventually this is what everyone called it, though unofficially until the 1990s. Since 2000, Italy have also played (badly, mostly) and the competition is now officially branded the "Six Nations".

I can't back this up with firm evidence though, Oxford English Dictionary doesn't appear to note when "Five Nations" was first used in a rugby context. However I do know that the usage was popular, not official, and it seems unlikely that the phrase would have been coined independently.
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Old 03-16-2019, 05:52 PM
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Gggaaargghnnnnrraaggrh

It will be a long, long time before I recover from the emotional wringer of that match.

(And well done Wales)
I've just managed to prise myself off the ceiling after that. Fucking hell.

Wales well deserved their Grand Slam - and towards the end of their match today, when Hymns and Arias was ringing out in that magnificent stadium, I unexpectedly found myself really quite emotional.
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Old 03-16-2019, 05:58 PM
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I can't back this up with firm evidence though
Yeah, no shit. The concept of <number of Nations involved> + <the word Nations> doesn't really seem too hard to explain.
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Old 03-17-2019, 04:30 AM
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Yeah, no shit. The concept of <number of Nations involved> + <the word Nations> doesn't really seem too hard to explain.
Oh yeah? Like most of us in Britain, you've grown up with 'Five/Six Nations' being used almost entirely in a rugby context. Your belief that it's an obvious nickname to choose is highly subject to confirmation bias, or something akin to it. You're looking at past events through the prism of knowing what happened, or was forgotten, later. The Iroquois usage may have been far more common in Britain and Ireland in the past than we are currently aware.

I actually don't think 'Five Nations' would have been an obvious choice for a nickname for a competition between the teams of France, Scotland, Wales, Ireland and England, unless the phrase was already familiar in another context. AFAIK we never called the Home Internationals in football or rugby the 'Four Nations'.
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Old 03-18-2019, 05:11 AM
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AFAIK we never called the Home Internationals in football or rugby the 'Four Nations'.
You might be right, but with only four nations involved there is no need for a name other than "Home Internationals". The introduction of France meant a new name was needed.

I suspect Eddie Jones was (as always, probably) much calmer in his press conference than he was in the dressing room. What a strange and wonderful game that was. If losing out on the grand slam to Wales wasn't enough of a kick up the backside for England ahead of the World Cup, then this should be. I'd actually back England to progress further than Wales, as a result - psychologically they will be more up for it.
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Old 03-18-2019, 08:59 AM
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I've just managed to prise myself off the ceiling after that. Fucking hell.

Wales well deserved their Grand Slam - and towards the end of their match today, when Hymns and Arias was ringing out in that magnificent stadium, I unexpectedly found myself really quite emotional.
* Bounces up and down * I was there! As a guest of the stadium sponsors, so rather marvellous box seats. And I cried during the national anthem (and I'm not even Welsh).
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Old 03-18-2019, 09:07 AM
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Originally Posted by The Stafford Cripps View Post
Oh yeah? Like most of us in Britain, you've grown up with 'Five/Six Nations' being used almost entirely in a rugby context. Your belief that it's an obvious nickname to choose is highly subject to confirmation bias, or something akin to it. You're looking at past events through the prism of knowing what happened, or was forgotten, later. The Iroquois usage may have been far more common in Britain and Ireland in the past than we are currently aware.

I actually don't think 'Five Nations' would have been an obvious choice for a nickname for a competition between the teams of France, Scotland, Wales, Ireland and England, unless the phrase was already familiar in another context. AFAIK we never called the Home Internationals in football or rugby the 'Four Nations'.
I don't think it's a mystery that the tournament was called the Home Nations Championship from its founding, until France joined in 1910 and it became the Five Nations Championship. You can look it up on the Six Nations website.
  #46  
Old 03-18-2019, 04:57 PM
The Stafford Cripps is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SanVito View Post
I don't think it's a mystery that the tournament was called the Home Nations Championship from its founding, until France joined in 1910 and it became the Five Nations Championship. You can look it up on the Six Nations website.
Where?

Nice retrospective speculation going on here guys, shame it's not backed up by any documentary evidence of the first times 'Five Nations' was used in a rugby context in print.

I'm looking at the report of Scotland's first Grand Slam in 1925 in the Glasgow Herald (main report is page 13). The paper just talks about 'The International Championship'. There is no mention of the 'Five Nations', and nor is the phrase 'Grand Slam' used anywhere.

In other words, you cannot assume that terms that have been retrospectively applied to past sporting events and achievements were actually used at the time.
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Old 03-19-2019, 09:09 AM
Stanislaus is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by The Stafford Cripps View Post
Where?

Nice retrospective speculation going on here guys, shame it's not backed up by any documentary evidence of the first times 'Five Nations' was used in a rugby context in print.

I'm looking at the report of Scotland's first Grand Slam in 1925 in the Glasgow Herald (main report is page 13). The paper just talks about 'The International Championship'. There is no mention of the 'Five Nations', and nor is the phrase 'Grand Slam' used anywhere.

In other words, you cannot assume that terms that have been retrospectively applied to past sporting events and achievements were actually used at the time.
I've been thinking about this for a while and although I was first inclined to dismiss it, there are a couple of critical points that are worth re-iterating:

We were 31-0 down; we went 38-31 up with six unanswered tries (some of which were just beautiful); we threw it away.

Last edited by Stanislaus; 03-19-2019 at 09:10 AM.
  #48  
Old 03-19-2019, 11:19 AM
Dead Cat is offline
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I wouldn't characterise it quite like that (funnily enough ) - I seem to remember at least 3 of the tries were from errors by England. 2 were interceptions weren't they? Then at the end, Scotland were knackered and England were highly motivated to get that last score, so I think throwing it away is harsh. Not to take away from the amazing comeback, overall Scotland probably deserved the win and did play some excellent rugby.
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Old 03-19-2019, 11:41 AM
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Originally Posted by Dead Cat View Post
I wouldn't characterise it quite like that (funnily enough ) - I seem to remember at least 3 of the tries were from errors by England. 2 were interceptions weren't they? Then at the end, Scotland were knackered and England were highly motivated to get that last score, so I think throwing it away is harsh. Not to take away from the amazing comeback, overall Scotland probably deserved the win and did play some excellent rugby.
Interceptions can also be beautiful!

Johnson's charge for the line, first side-stepping and then powering through multiple tacklers; Price's chip then offload to Bradbury; Finn's looping pass that led to Graham going over in the corner were the ones I was thinking of. A few of these got started due to poor England play, but if anything that just makes them better.

Scotland threw it away when they a) gave up a penalty on the halfway line in the 79th minute and b) in the 77th minute when they had possession didn't just cycle it through the forwards and boot it out.

Last edited by Stanislaus; 03-19-2019 at 11:42 AM.
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