CHRIS FOY’S WEEKEND VERDICT: South Africa’s staff were just as bad as Rassie Erasmus … and it’s impossible to call the Six Nations
An impressive weekend of rugby saw great victories for England, Wales and France.
Chris Foy gives his take on all the action …
Boks staff is as bad as Rassie
The absence of their rugby manager, Rassie Erasmus, did not prevent the Springboks from maintaining an antagonistic presence at Twickenham.
Team physio Rene Naylor, a vocal nuisance during the Lions series, was nearly brought down by Frans Steyn at one point, after walking down the field as the visitors attacked the England line. Such incursions are a scourge and must stop.
Kiwifruit losses leave foster fighting for his future
All Blacks head coach Ian Foster is likely to face an awkward reception in New Zealand, where public polls call for him to be replaced by the architect of the Crusaders’ recent successes, Scott Robertson.
The defeats of Ireland and France have created a feeling of unease for New Zealanders and highlighted the folly of subjecting a tired team to more “money games”.
England fans watch players closer than ever
A new tradition is taking shape at Twickenham. England’s players have enjoyed long laps of honor after each fall game, with many of them taking to billboards to meet family and friends in the stands.
Nearby spectators have enjoyed the close-up view and it is good to see that stadium officials have not stepped in to spoil the interaction.
Six nations will be 5 stars
Good luck predicting the Six Nations. France is now the favorite, but there will be five competitive teams.
England can challenge the French for the title, but Scotland will believe they can ambush the “old enemy”. Wales is the champion, but Ireland just beat the All Blacks. The only good bet is no slam.
France finds its joie de vivre
The luck of certain teams has a disproportionate influence on the overall health of the sport. That is certainly true in the case of France (right). The game is poorer when they are below the standard; too Anglo-Saxon, narrow and colonial. But they are a force again and that is wonderful news, for their variety and mass market appeal. Test rugby has gotten more interesting again.
Lavanini’s argy-bargy was a useless low shot
Argentine lock Tomás Lavanini became the first player to receive three red cards in international rugby on Sunday.
His firing was absolutely deserved, for a low shot on Cian Healy in a ruck that left Peter O’Mahony furious: ‘Tough man, huh?’ Those free and unnecessary cleanings are a scourge of sport that put vulnerable players at risk. They must be eradicated.