Six Nations starts with a bang

I´m not going to write every week about the 6N, but the first round was pretty exciting. France were on top for most of the game against Wales and yet threw it away in the last few minutes. Scotlands backs, especially 3-year resident Johnstone from Oz, tore the Italien backs apart to get a five-pointer, but then with the bench on conceded three tries in the last few minutes. It´s good to see Scotland do well this year, but I`m not too happy about 7 players from the Southern hemisphere making up half the team.

Then, highlight of the day, a fine display by England to beat the clear favourites Ireland. Once again, a bit too many South Sea Islanders for my liking, and a bit too much hovering over the offside line, but all in all an impressive performance by the visitors to Dublin.

Viasat have decided to push rugby this year, mainly at Allan M.´s instigation, as can be seen from their many plugs (blänkare) for their coverage. Hamish and Allan did a good job commenting on the I/E match and I hope that the Union is making every effort to attract young people to watch these games and perhaps start playing. Hamish makes considerable efforts to clarify the sometimes mistifying rules and this should certainly help newcomers. He will also be doing his party piece tonight, his play by play commentary on the Superbowl. The brothers will be commenting on about half of the 15 6N matches. Next week they´ll be covering Scotland – Ireland and England – France on the Sunday.

A few words about the Ladies. The standard is rising steadily with England once again full professionals. They took 50 points off Ireland, who seem to have their stars concentrating on the Sevens game. Scotland have improved, but Italy even more so, finally winning 28 – 7. Finally France, who could be the best of the lot, took 50 points off Wales. This week´s winners seem to be a class better than the other three.

The AGM is fast approaching and those preparing it have done a good job in specifying qualifications. I don´t know who will be making themselves available, let´s hope some good candidates present themselves. As the season rapidly approaches I would repeat an appeal I have made before. The Men´s 7s and 15s as well as the Ladies´ 7s will all be appearing in Europe in the Spring. If the Union gets together its best coaches, administrators and players then all three could be promoted. The 7s´ teams could both get back to the GP-level and the Men´s 15 to the Trophy level. Last year all three had deficiences in administration, preparations and selection, especially on the male side. Last year the Mabon family offered a considerable sum of money to help improve the preparations for the Men´s 15s, if the 4 million provided for the Union was not sufficient. The offer was not accepted although the preparations in no way improved. A huge win against a desperately poor Moldova and a aqueeze past a so-so Luxemburg has perhaps given comfidence to the present set-up. The need still exists in my opinion and the offer still stands.

This season gives Sweden a chance to reassert itself in Europe after a degrading period. Please, please make every effort to achieve this.