This week’s round of games saw Ireland lose their winning streak, England chug into pole position and France beat Italy in a match that hardly anyone watched.
1. Ireland beaten by a better team
Ireland didn’t deserve to win the match against Wales on Saturday, no one’s debating that, but that’s not how sport works. It isn’t always the best team who wins, sometimes you get the right result from an indifferent performance. Ireland weren’t at the races for large parts of the game, but I think we could have stolen something from the Millennium Stadium if it hadn’t been for a certain English man.
2. Whistle happy Wayne Barnes
English referee Barnes was in whistle happy form on Saturday. He was lightning quick to blow for penalties in the first 20 as Wales pressed, yet when Ireland applied intense pressure midway through the first half he appeared to have lost his whistle. Then when he found it again he used it to penalise Ireland as they pushed for the try that would have drawn the game.
The last two decisions in favour of Wales beggared belief. Each pip of his whistle was effectively saying, “I’m sorry Ireland, but Wales are going to win this game no matter what you do!”
After the match Sam Warburton said it was the most exhausted he’s ever been. Not half as exhausted as Wayne Barnes is going to be opening all his hate mail from across the Irish Sea.
3. Not all Barnes’ fault
Before the Welsh try Ireland had opportunities to cross the whitewash themselves but were reluctant to spread the ball wide, instead the forwards tried to do it all on their own.
The worst example of this was when Paul O’Connell passed to Cian Healy under the posts and he spilled the ball to the biggest collective sigh Ireland has heard since Westlife announced a comeback tour.
4. England win angrily
It wasn’t a vintage performance from England, but they beat Scotland and are now in pole position to win the 6 Nations.
The commentators alluded to the fact English full back Mike Brown has earned the nickname Mr Angry.
Funny then, when he was unavailable last week, he was replaced with Mr Goode.
Just for the hell of it, the England coaching team should scour the country to see if they can find a Mr Tickle to complete a Roger Hargreaves inspired back three.
5. What’s in a name?
On the subject of names, I was intrigued by the Scottish back who came on late in the game sporting the surname Hidalgo-Clyne.
It sounds like Ulster Scots for ‘I’m Going For A Spot of Mountaineering’.
6. Italy v France
Sorry folks, didn’t see it, but I heard France won.