LAST TIME ON ‘Keyboard Warriors’:
In part one (which you can catch up on here, we met Bajadita from France, Ireland’s own Whiff of Cordite, Blood and Mud insisted that England would steamroll everyone, while Dario Mazzochi bemoaned Italy’s lack of direction.
Rory Baldwin of theScottish Rugby Blog hopes for big things from Matt Scott and reigning champion Woodster from The Coal Face put money on the table against the possibility of Ireland pipping Wales to the title.
Up to speed? Well then let’s fire up the Gchat hangout again.
TheScore.ie: Right, the second biggest game of the weekend: Can France get their act together, Bajadita? Or will England boss them all over the pitch?
Bajadita Rugby: It’s complicated
Whiff Of Cordite: It always is with the French
BR: Since PSA is at french head, we are looking for a game plan too - He is not an adept of “French flair”
WOC: It is a long time since I saw a French selection I understood
BR: First he wants a good defence
Scottish Rugby Blog: Agreed, WOC.
WOC: If he puts Fofana on the wing again…
BR: No you can be sure he won’t – but the problem is he will put Fofana and Bastareaud.
SRB: I don’t think any country has a settled or sensible 12/13 pair apart from Wales Roberts/Davies. And I’ve no idea if they are both fit…
BR: I’m looking for an association, Fofana – Fickou.
Blood And Mud: If France can win up front, then their backs can diddle us. Hence PSA is loading his squad with forwards, because if they can dominate possession, at home they’ll win.
WOC: Fofana and Fickou would excite
BAM: I don’t think I’ve even seen Bastaread look left or right in possession, ever.
BR: Totally agree
WOC: Picamoles needs someone to help him.
BR: I’m expecting a game plan -
Have you see the last french games? No idea in attack. So poor.
WOC: It’s all a bit ‘give the ball to that guy’
I know he’s awesome and all that…
TS: Is there any dissenting voice at all to this Stu Lancaster project? Or is everyone ready to party like it’s Euro 96?
WOC: Even non-English like Lancaster. He has brought a sense of humility to the team.
BR: I was very surprised by Lancaster, he wasn’t the first choice
Dario Mazzochi: It’s funny: in France PSA is under siege; in Italy a French coach, Brunel, is respected by media though last results are not so optimistic. What if Mallett was still in charge? Not the same treatment.
SRB: Italy are not realistically targeting the World Cup or Test victories v the ABs, they live for the 6N and the results in that are on an upward curve so I suspect that is why Brunel gets more leeway.
BAM: There are small dissenting voices about some selections (Ashton, anyone?) but largely you can’t argue with the direction. He’s freshened up the squad and it’s young enough to go somewhere. Plus, they keep winning don’t they?
DM: yes they do, thanks to the refs…
BAM: OR getting within spitting distance of winning. Cardiff is the exception, of course.
BR: The problem with PSA is, the results are catastrophic.
SRB :And France see themselves as a world rugby power.
TS: Speaking of Cardiff….
WOC: Ah yes…
BAM: Let’s not.
Mike Phillips and Dan Biggar celebrate last year’s championship win. ©INPHO/Dan Sheridan
TS: Woodster, are you still with us?
The Coal Face: I am indeed Merely soaking up the atmosphere ahead of our title defence.
TS: What chance of a three-peat?
WOC: I think Wales will be good
SRB: I agree but I think everyone from the ’Home Nations‘ will be targeting Wales post Lions to try and get one over
WOC: They will Rory. Defo.
BAM: I think Wales will win again.
DM: Cymru am byth – sorry mates, but a big Welsh fan.
BAM: Everyone will lose one match at least, and I expect Wales to have the best points diff.
TCF: I’d consider it unlikely, but not because I don’t think we’re the best team. I think history strongly indicates that the French have a strong Six Nations after a Lions tour, and as they’re a bit of an unknown quantity, I’m afraid they could well win the tournament
WOC: But I think the Welsh will be energised by getting away from all the politics and messing and rubbish regional sides.
TCF: I think what we’ve seen over the last few years is that we’ve developed a game plan that by and large can conquer the NH
WOC: It’ll be same again.
BR: Totally agree, France has good results after a Lions Tour and we play 3 times in Paris.
SRB: I think England could be favourites, they are building consistency.
TCF: What Welsh fans will be disappointed with is the fact that Gatland clearly has no plans to expand our gameplan even though it obviously doesn’t work against the SH.
TS: Does Gatty trust Dan Biggar yet?
TCF: No, but I don’t think he trusts Priestland anymore either
SRB: Or James Hook?
WOC: How’s the scrum? Ospreys got taken apart in the RDS. Adam Jones struggling with the new calls.
TCF: Scrum is a worry, especially seeing as Gethin has never been a strong scrummager anyway
Sadly, I think we might be seeing the end of Adam Jones with these new laws.
BR: Hook is fantastic in Perpignan this year
TCF: Hooky won’t be at 10
BR: Can’t understand he’s not the first choice
WOC: Will it be Biggar?
BAM: Priestland, Hook, Biggar as options at 10 is at the mo is a bit like trying to decide which ugly sister you want to take on a date
SRB: I bet Ryan Grant is looking forward to the scrums vs Wales, he has a big point to prove. Assuming we find a tight-head.
TCF: Nail on the head, BAM. I think it’s probably going to be Biggar, but it’s a tight call
SRB: It could be worse you could have Scotland’s choice of flyhalf.
BR: Or France’s choice of flyhalf, one of our big problem as usually
TCF: Why we haven’t considered someone like Owen Williams is very strange
DM: Adam Jones IS the player for Welsh scrum – without him, it’s a messy.
TCF: I think we’ve actually got stronger tightheads under the new laws
W0C: I’ve always considered Hook hard done by
BAM: Priestland’s head is completely gone, which is a shame as his talent is obvious.
SRB: Is the Second Row now a weak spot through injury?
TCF: I wouldn’t say so Rory
W0C: Second row will be ok. Decent depth, no? Chatteris, Davies.
BAM: Don’t worry about Adam Jones, you now have Samson Lee, my new favourite player.
TCF: Charteris is better in the lineout than Evans. Coombs proved himself capable last year and James King at the Ospreys looks like he can cut the mustard.
SRB: That’s what I thought, just saw it on Twitter the other day. Clutching at straws and all that
BR: And with his injury Charteris hasn’t played very often, so he’s in good fitness
W0C: How’s mike Phillips these days?
W0C: He’s pretty important.
TCF: Almost certainly -but when he gets the Welsh shirt on he’s a monster. Mike is Mike!
My worry is the lack of creativity.
SRB: Gatlandball doesn’t really require creativity
WOC: Why create when you can smash everyone with 200 cm 110 kg three-quarters?
TCF: We can’t smash Aus, NZ or SA, this is my issue.
WOC: Agreed, but that’s for another day…
TCF: The other ‘home nations’ have all beaten SH sides recently.
DM: SH is another planet, that’s all.
BR: Except France
TCF: I think we should be using this tournament to develop a new gameplan so we can beat them
WOC: Ah what a luxury…
TCF: Think our squad selection is pretty unambitious to be honest
TS: Warren G’s happy enough with a growing amount of silverware.
WOC: This old thing…
Gentlemen, I must flee and get back to work!
SRB: I have to go now gents too, nice chatting to you all. I’m off to pray Matt Scott is fit in time for next weekend! The Ireland game is on my birthday so here’s hoping for a nice present come final whistle…”
And with that, the great rugby bloggers of Europe disappeared back into the ether or scurried back between the floorboards.