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'We're well behind the eight ball': Why the Six Nations is better than TRC

By Finn Morton
(Photo By Brendan Moran/Sportsfile via Getty Images)

If the opening two rounds of this year’s Six Nations is anything to go by, then the World Cup in France could be a momentous tournament for the kings of the north.

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Southern Hemisphere powerhouses New Zealand, Australia and South Africa have dominated the history of the sport’s most prestigious event.

These three fierce rivals have eight World Cup crowns between them, while England stand alone as the only champions from the north.

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But that could be about to change. Ahead of this year’s World Cup, there’s genuine belief and hype surrounding the likes of Ireland and France.

Ireland are the world’s No. 1 ranked team, and France won the Grand Slam in last year’s Six Nations – which is arguably the best tournament in Test rugby aside from the World Cup.

SENZ Breakfast host Tony Kemp believes the Six Nations makes The Rugby Championship look like a “second-rate” competition.

“I got thinking about it while I was watching the game and you’ve got Argentina, Australia, New Zealand and South Africa playing in the Rugby Championship and the Six Nations, I think on the bac of the European competition, is leading us down the drain,” Kemp told SENZ Breakfast.

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“We think we’re playing and preparing down here with our Super Rugby and Championship to get ready to play on this World Cup (but) I think we’re well behind the eight ball.”

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The All Blacks began their international campaign in disastrous circumstances last season – at least by their high standards – after losing a series against Ireland in New Zealand.

While New Zealand went on to lose Test matches against South Africa and Argentina, they did win the Freedom Cup, Bledisloe Cup and The Rugby Championship title.

But the popularity and status of the competition, seemingly, isn’t what it used to be.

Rugby World Cup winning fullback Israel Dagg wants to see Fiji and Japan included in the competition, in order to restore the aura of the prestigious tournament.

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“We’ve got to start adding teams in,” Dagg said.

“We’ve got to start adding some of these teams to be a part of the competition down here.

“That is the premier competition up in the north and the reason why is they’ve obviously got real buy-in from the clubs and across to all the players over in the north.

“If I think of a solution and you’re able to add teams to the competition down here… first couple of teams that spring to mind (are), we need to have someone from the Pacific and the team that comes to mind is Fiji.

“The Fijian team, the Fijian players… their top players are all playing around the globe. Most of them are playing up in France, up in the north and then you’ve got a couple that are playing in Super Rugby.

“You think of another team (and) you look at Japan, you have to get Japan in this competition.

“We know that, you know that, the NZR haven’t gotten into bed with them yet but we’d love to see Japan a part of that competition, knowing what they’ve done the last couple of years under Jamie Joseph.”

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Comments

34 Comments
R
Ruby 491 days ago

Fiji and other Pacific Island teams only have proper player availability during the World Cup, if any of them were to join the Rugby Championship it should be all 3 as a combined team.

G
Gerald 492 days ago

Another point to consider- the Irish have basically their entire squad training and playing year round together. The same applies to a large part of French side with Toulouse etc having a large % of the team. They have trained familiarity and therefore look slick. Given.
Every year the SH sides get together a few weeks ahead of their mid year or end of year games, and often look undercooked. This reflects often in Boks And Aussies looking off their game in RC. Come WC year, they all start getting together 3 months before the event- in 2019 the Boks we’re together for 120 days in total. I know Rassie will have the same plan for this year. The Boks will be game ready. The ABs will be ready, and Eddie will have plenty time to work with the Aussies. One thing the NH sides should know is the SH are coming for them.

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Gerald 492 days ago

Guys, I am really worried that something has happened to Ben Smith? Been quite a while since he has written anything, and wondered if he has changed careers? Possibly because Saffa only play again in mid year.
Much is and has been written about the strength and skills of the NH sides, and specifically the Irish and French. They are both amazing sides. But they are being set up for a huge banana peel. The ABs, the Boks and the Aussie sides will prepare, watch and learn, and arrive in France ready. Be rest assured. The Irish and French are able to play their games due to their dominance over the other sides forwards in the 6 nations, generating quick ruck ball and resultant speed in play. I am very sure their dominance at forward, and speed at ruck, will slow down and become frantic when facing ABs and Boks. How they deal with this, and how the refs manage this, will dictate.

F
Francois 493 days ago

Northern hemisphere teams have been talking smack about winning the RWC for as long as I've been alive. And only managed it once.

I'm all for talking shit - but maybe do so once you've won the thing? The whole vibe is of a virginal teenage boy who swears he's had scores of women (they all just live elsewhere).

D
Damian 493 days ago

Click bait much? I just hope the Allblack's and SH nations keep being underestimated. Easier if they can't see us coming.

R
Rob 493 days ago

Finn Mortein with his usual spray of nonsense.
Probably just copied and pasted from someone else's article from 4 years ago.

D
Dave 494 days ago

Haha, it's the same narrative every time a world cup rolls around. "This one is different, the North are going to dominate" and then a 9th world cup win for a SH side and you'll all go quiet. I mean Ireland beat the boks at home in Ireland by a measly 3 points...how are they favorites on neutral ground considering SA's world cup history? Will be an All Black vs SA final unless they meet in the quarters, in which case the winner of that match will walk the rest.

J
Jo 494 days ago

Tony who?

Ireland sneak wins vs SA and Australia in the dying seconds - one from a dubious call versus romps over Wales and France.

Granted Ireland are the real-deal but NZ, SA and Aus have the games to beat them whereas the rest of Europe ..... France were very poor on the weekend.

B
Bruce 494 days ago

What a load of bollocks. I have watched a few games in the 6 nations. France and Ireland are quality and that was a cracking game. Scotland have really improved but England Wales and Ireland are average.
ABs v South Africa is still the pinnacle for me or would be definitely on a par with France and Ireland. Australia on their day when they get their full team on the park could beat anyone and Argentina are really improving.
What the 6 nations have to their advantage is close proximity to each other which we can never change.
We could probably do with a few more teams but we don’t want a drop in quality.

i
isaac 494 days ago

Nz, Aus, FJ, Tonga, Samoa, Japan (6 nations).....SA, Argentina, US, Canada, Namibia, Uruguay/Kenya (6 Ns), Eng, Fra, Italy, Ire, Sco (6 N), Por, Spain, Romainia, Georgia, Germany/russia, holland (6N) ....that's 4 compatitions of regular competition between top and 2nd/3rd tier teams....Oceania could have HK, Malaysia, PNG, Cook Islands, Korea, Sri Lanka/Vanuatu/Indonesia/Singapore as its sec9 d division...Brasil, Chile, Mexico, Senegal/Nigeria/Morocco, israel, UAE as the second tier to the African/American Cup nicknamed the Buffalo Soldier Cup....Georgia and crew could be the second d tier to the traditional 6N comp of Eng....solves alot of issues and have promo/relegation...but does the tier 1 nations have the vision to not only promote rugby but grow the game to be able to rival soccer.....other wise...we will just be behind, soccer, cricket, baseball, basketball, pingpong, hand wrestling etc etc

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Shaylen 4 hours ago
Brumbies the best team in Australia but still nothing to show for it

The Brumbies have been the strongest side in Australia for a long time and that was down to their forwards and set piece which has always been good and has always been able to dominate their Australian counterparts. This year the lack of maul tries and also the lack of a stable scrum has been a real problem which was also something Nick alluded to in his article this week about the creaking brumbies tight five. Home advantage is key as you say and the Brumbies must find a way to score more bonus points. If the Brumbies are really serious about winning a title they need to do what Kiwi sides at the top do. They need to smash every Aus side with a bonus point at home while claiming losing bonus points in every game they lose and denying their rivals bonus points. In their 3 losses in NZ this year they were smashed. They only scored 60 tries which is middle of the road, their scrum came in at 73% which was one of the worst in the comp, tackle success at just 83% which was right at the bottom and in terms of metres, clean breaks, carries, offloads and rucks built they were in the middle plus they had the most yellows. They basically were just not dominant enough wile they can improve their discipline. They excelled at kicking and won plenty of lineout ball plus their rucks were secure at 97%. Not sure about turnovers but they weren’t bad there. They just need to be more clinical and give away less and they will give themselves the best chance to win the title.

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