Not that you asked, but I’ve always thought that the Six Nations tournament is one of the best annual sporting events there is.
The six participating countries are traditional European powers in the sport, comprised of: England, France, Ireland, Italy, Scotland and Wales.
What makes the England/Wales match particularly interesting is that, if you go back in history, they are tied for having the most titles – at 26. You know for sure that both sides are looking to break that deadlock.
But what’s doubly interesting is that England seems to be taking some unusual training methods – can’t wait to see if they work. Here’s The Rugby Blog with more:
“England have been preparing in an unusual manner for their opening Six Nations game this Friday night against Wales. They have apparently been bringing loudspeakers to training and pumping them up to full volume, to allow the players to practice communicating when they can barely hear each other.
If the move sounds a bit bizarre, it is apparently a reaction to what happened last time England played in Cardiff – the fateful 30-3 loss to Wales in 2013. Several players who featured that day have spoken of the difficulty they had in communicating against the backdrop of noise from Welsh fans.
“We’ve spoken about the noise already. I think they’ll be getting speakers in there and putting it as loud as it can go,” said fly-half George Ford in an interview with the Sunday Telegraph. “I think it’s important because communication in the game is vital. We’ve spoken about that already. I wasn’t there last time, but the noise was a big factor by accounts. If you can’t hear each other it could potentially have a big impact.
“So we need to make sure we cover everything off in terms of that aspect. We’re trying to come up with a game plan and a strategy which is crystal clear and that everyone understands and is on the same page. It’s pretty simple.”
Ford also revealed that England’s attacking gameplan won’t be a case of reinventing the wheel, likely to rely heavily on an intelligent kicking game and winning the territorial battle.
“If it is hard to hear each other, we have other ways of communicating which will hopefully help us make the right plays. Without giving too much away we are going to have a set way we are going to play in offence. It’s going to be pretty simple, I think. The communication and between the nine, 10 and full-back and wingers is going to be pretty important.
“We’re the guys as half-backs who are running the game. So if it is too loud and we can’t hear each other, we might have to go about things a different way – putting the hand out for example, just to say we want the ball.””
I think England might win here – they have history and innovation on their side.
That said, I’m rooting for Team Italy, the latest member of the Six Nations (joined in 2000). They haven’t won a title yet, it would be great to see them get off the schneid.