If Wales are the best Europe have to offer I feel sorry for Northern Hemipshere Rugby fans

Wales claimed their second successive 6 Nations title on the weekend, cementing their status as the dominant presence in Northern Hemisphere Rugby over the last two years. In between sweeping all before them in Europe’s premier competition though they lost 4 times to an injury ravaged Wallabies’ team, were hammered by the All Blacks and beaten at home by both the Pumas and the Samoans. So is it really saying much to claim to be the best the North has to offer?

If I noticed one thing from the title-deciding match between England and Wales on the weekend it was how little the game has moved on in the Northern Hemisphere. Sure, it was an interesting clash, with both sides having opportunities in the first 50 or 60 minutes to assert their dominance. But there was very little skill on display, with neither side looking likely to create anything from scratch on attack, and both sides making the other look better than they really were on defence. The game consisted of backlines running aimlessly sideways, kickers who couldn’t see past simply lofting the ball as high as they could and hoping for the best, and forwards who were woefully inept at the breakdown.

Wales v Samoa

If Wales really are the best the North has to offer I feel sorry for fans of rugby living above the equator. While the weekend’s game was full of tense drama and passion it featured all the skills of an amateur club match in New Zealand, and, having watched Wales and England do battle I’m not surprised the 6 Nations champions were unable to beat Samoa at home, and I suspect every one of the 6 Nations sides will be shuddering at the thought of the next tour by Fiji, Tonga, or even the Cook Islands.

That Wales lost to New Zealand says little – they faced a red-hot All Blacks side bursting with confidence. But in losing no less than four times to the Australians, particularly given how much the Wallabies struggled last year, and being comprehensively beaten by the Pumas, one could be forgiven for drawing the conclusion that the best of the Northern Hemisphere struggles to keep pace with the Southern Hemisphere’s top sides. The Red Dragons’ loss to Samoa simply proves that statement.

Samoa are a challenging, physical test for any country, but I would still expect the All Blacks and the Springboks to comfortably account for the Pacific Islanders every time they play, and for the Aussies to prevail on most occasions. That Wales are bad enough to lose at home to a side notorious for being poor travellers yet claim successive 6 Nations titles says much about the level of the game in the UK. Sure, the English may have played out of their skins to beat the ABs at the end of last year, but they needed the help of a virus doing the rounds at the World Champions’ hotel to do so, and if the European sides have any hope in 2015 they may have to rely on the Southern Hemisphere sides’ forgetting to get their flu-jabs before heading over.

 

Comments

  1. Dave says

    Ehh, Wales had more players injured and one or two coming back from injury than Australia, had a new coach finding his feet and playing away from home. Australia were fresh with a few new faces and wales with their lack of confidence threw away a few games (they lost 8 in a row, then came good).

    While the standards of sport and training here are undeniably lower at youth level as are level of participation in the home nations, your lack of knowledge is painfully obvious and ridiculously cheap tabloid journalism.

    Australia got thrashed by France, who then finished bottom of the 6 Nations… by your rational that would put Australia in the Nations Cup.

  2. Geoff says

    What a stupid shallow article. NZ had a f****** virus and thats why they lost? B*******. Accept the best side won on the day. Losing at home to Samoa? Didn’t that happen to Aus recently and also they lost to Scotland who are hardly the strongest of 6N sides with respect to performances in recent years.

  3. Robert McGregor says

    Stupid shallow????? The truth hurts eh, and the facts are as follows! Numbers 1 – Nz/Number 2 – SA and Aussie 3. England did need to meet New Zealand at the end of a very long year running at 60/70% of normal performance levels. Should have waited before mouthing off about how good they (think) are. Good on Wales but still it’s only wales

    • Geoff says

      1,2 3 because you play each other more often so statistically it is easier to stay in the top 3 consistentlty. If it were the truth I would have no problem, but the article has been writtent by an idiot

  4. Robert McGregor says

    No mate! It’s 123 for us because we are the best and playing eachother keeps that edge with us! The six nations is a joke compared with our championship! Bring Samoa into your comp and even they would produce consistent results

    • Geoff says

      You do not know what you are talking about and also clearly have limited intelligence and education

    • Geoff says

      So if Samoa are so good how come they didn’t get out of the pool in RWC2011? Then France nearly get beaten by 14 man Wales in SF and outplay 15 men NZ in final and only lose because the SAFFA ref didn’t penailse Ritchie and his pals at the breakdown when ther were many infringements. Then big NZ get thimped by England in November and Wales thump England in the 6N. Work that out Sherlock

  5. Robert McGregor says

    Where to start my dear Watson?? World Cup is a pressure cooker and depends on how any team handles that pressure in any given game during! New Zealand is the prime example in this. Samoa is a work in progress and with more top flight competition will only get better, so long as they get their top players

  6. Lloydie says

    now now gents……wales have moved on, like some of the contributors. to say that wales’ achievements are not worthy of regard is just pathetic & probably based on soar grapes after being thrashed 30-3. however, you have to acknowledge that back in the regions it is a sorry state which doesn’t bode well.. will be very interesting to see how the lines squad shapes up & the numbers from each nation

  7. Rob says

    As Clive Woodward said, “you never beat New Zealand, you just score more points than them”