CHRIS FOY’S SIX NATIONS WEEKEND VERDICT: Friday fixtures are falling short at the expense of the paying spectator, Scotland will have mixed feelings with their mid-table status confirmed, and Italy offer nothing after their 36th defeat in a row
- Friday fixtures proved to not work by 11,000 empty seats at Principality Stadium
- Wales were super-smart against France, reducing their opponents chances
- Italy offer nothing, as they suffer 36 consecutive defeats and serve as a bye
The Six Nations action has showed that Friday fixtures don’t work for spectators, Italy are just a bye for other teams and Wales have a shrewd defence.
Scotland, meanwhile, will have mixed feelings about their fortunes, while a steward was forced to stop a pitch invader at Twickenham in England’s defeat to Ireland.
As the tournament slowly comes to a close, Sportsmail’s CHRIS FOY is on hand to deliver his verdict for all of the weekend’s drama…
Wales put in a solid defensive display to limit France’s chances in their Six Nations clash
It has been another unfulfilling tournament for Gregor Townsend’s Scotland side, meanwhile
Friday fixtures falling flat
Friday night fixtures don’t work for the paying spectator — proved again by the sight of 11,000 empty seats at the Principality Stadium, for the visit of France.
There are particular logistical issues in Cardiff such as limited hotel and match-day train capacity, but also visiting fans face more of a challenge to travel in numbers, which is part of the tournament’s appeal. Three fixtures on each Saturday, please.
Mixed feelings for Scots
Scotland produced some razzle-dazzle rugby in Rome, but it all felt so hollow after defeats by Wales and France re-confirmed their mid-table status.
Ali Price was electric in his 50th Test, Finn Russell threw Finn Russell passes and there were a couple of stunning, end-to-end tries, but it’s been another unfulfilling tournament for Gregor Townsend’s side, with more trouble ahead in Dublin.
Scotland produced some razzle-dazzle rugby in Rome, but it all felt so hollow after two losses
Give that steward a raise…
There was a serial pitch invader at Twickenham and it was good to see him being swiftly dealt with this time.
Questions have to be asked about how the same man — who has also targeted Lord’s and the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium — can keep breaching security around the perimeter of stands, and how he was able to join the England line-up for the anthem.
At least he was promptly flattened by a steward.
Solid welsh defence
Wales were super-smart against France, reducing their opponents to a state of stuttering anxiety. Their kicking was clever and accurate.
Dan Biggar was imperious — up-staging the acclaimed Romain Ntamack — but the Welsh also defended superbly, credit to Gethin Jenkins.
Up front, Will Rowlands’ form has eased fears about Alun Wyn Jones’ eventual retirement.
Wales were super smart against France reducing their opponents to a state of anxiety
Italy offer nothing — again
That’s now 36 defeats in a row for Italy. Sorry, it’s a broken record, but it’s also a broken format if they only serve as a bye for every other team in the tournament.
They will lose in Cardiff next weekend to complete a seventh consecutive winless campaign, against the backdrop of South Africa’s determination to gain entry.
CVC will be losing patience…
Italy offer nothing at Six Nations and have now suffered 36 defeats in a row
Great scenes in Spain
There were wonderful, emotional scenes in Madrid as Spain beat Portugal in front of a sell-out crowd to clinch their place at the 2023 World Cup.
They haven’t taken part in the global showpiece since 1999 and their re-emergence is a welcome development for the sport. World Rugby should make supporting the Spaniards a strategic priority in the coming years.
Team of the weekend
Hugo Keenan (Ireland); Ange Capuozzo (Italy), Chris Harris (Scotland), Gael Fickou (France), Jack Nowell (England); Dan Biggar (Wales), Ali Price (Scotland); Ellis Genge (England), Julien Marchand (France), Tomas Francis (Wales); Will Rowlands (Wales), Maro Itoje (England); Courtney Lawes (England), Taulupe Faletau (Wales), Anthony Jelonch (France).