It’s one of my favourite times of the year. Rugby’s 6 Nations tournament starts. Growing up in the Scottish Borders, very much the heart land for rugby up here (indeed, at one time the entire Scottish team was Borderers), it became the annual event. Some of my fondest memories growing up are centred around the tournament. From my first ever trip to Murrayfield, an 11 all draw with Ireland, to winning the Grand Slam in 1984 among the “frog-horns”, and the decisive 1990 match with England. What fun amongst the Nigels with their grand slam memorabilia on.
So to the 2010 version. Ireland v Italy got us under way and it was dire. Ireland were barely ordinary. Doing precisely enough to win and no more, whilst Italy were inept. Although that doesn’t do it justice, they were no where near ept, totally different postal zone in fact. I’d go so far as to say un-ept or dis-ept.
Italy came into the championship 10 years ago, the big idea being to help improve Italian rugby by exposing them to a greater amount of top class rugby. On today’s evidence it hasn’t worked. They may even have regressed. Outside of a handful of good results, usually against Scotland, they’ve barely troubled anyone. Italian club sides aren’t getting any better, continuing to be little better than a bye week in the European competitions.
Currently, England in some hideous off-white ‘throwback’ kit are edging Wales, but it’s not enthralling….