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'It becomes pretty dark quite quickly': The effects of a Six Nations loss

By Josh Raisey
Steve Borthwick and Kevin Sinfield (Photo by David Rogers/Getty Images)

Former England wing Jonny May believes the “fixtures have aligned for England” this Guinness Six Nations, providing a chance for Steve Borthwick’s side to build momentum.

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In a tournament that has an uncanny ability to turn sour for teams that lose their opening fixture, and equally to fall into place for teams that win theirs, the recently retired wing feels England have a chance to pick up pace before their greatest challenges arise later on.

England have had a proclivity to start a Six Nations ponderously in recent years, losing their opening round fixture in the last four Championships. With the lowest ranked side, Italy, up first in Rome, followed by the second-lowest ranked side, Wales, the week after at Twickenham, England have a chance to overturn this poor record.

Writing in his column for Six Nations Rugby, May described what it is like losing the first match of the Six Nations, how “the buzz is gone and you can’t leave”. But with the fixtures they have, he says that Borthwick’s new-look England side can build momentum and optimism with two wins to start the Championship.

“On paper, England have the two lowest-ranked teams in the competition first up,” the 33-year-old Gloucester wing wrote.

Head-to-Head

Last 5 Meetings

Wins
0
Draws
0
Wins
5
Average Points scored
12
33
First try wins
40%
Home team wins
40%

“Win that game in Rome and then beat Wales at Twickenham, then all of a sudden there’s optimism and momentum behind them. You’d be a bit more sceptical if they were going to Murrayfield or Marseille in round one.

“Any player will tell you that when you lose a game on the weekend, everybody dreads going back in on a Monday to relive it and take learnings from the loss. But when you’re with England, you don’t go home: you’re in camp and you’ve lost the first game, and all of a sudden the Grand Slam is off.

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“The buzz is gone and you can’t leave. It becomes pretty dark quite quickly, and all of a sudden you’re under the pump. So all these fixtures appear to have aligned for England.”

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