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By | February 22, 2017

In the end those missed kicks didn’t cost Scotland then. Six Nations Rugby 2017 Live  The loss of Laidlaw, Barclay, Hardie and Brown might well have done though; as we suspected might happen they played well but France pummelled them relentlessly. Stuart Hogg looks like he’s been through a meat tenderiser and he was the full-back.

Event Date: 4 February – 18 March 2017
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France will be pleased to have got the win. They were unlucky with the refereeing decisions, especially against Remi Lamerat when he had the try disallowed. But though they made a few mistakes the game plan worked, with Scotland knocked back and neat offloads putting the ball carriers Picamoles and Gourdon through the ensuing gaps in the line.

Georgia are currently ranked above Italy and feel they deserve a place in the Six Nations

In the end those missed kicks didn’t cost Scotland then. The loss of Laidlaw, Barclay, Hardie and Brown might well have done though; as we suspected might happen they played well but France pummelled them relentlessly. Stuart Hogg looks like he’s been through a meat tenderiser and he was the full-back.

France will be pleased to have got the win. Six Nations Rugby Live They were unlucky with the refereeing decisions, especially against Remi Lamerat when he had the try disallowed. But though they made a few mistakes the game plan worked, with Scotland knocked back and neat offloads putting the ball carriers Picamoles and Gourdon through the ensuing gaps in the line.

So that’s week two done. Scotland, thanks to the bonus point, join France and Wales on five, with Ireland ahead of them on six and England in front with eight. The Six Nationstakes a break next weekend so do join me again a week on Saturday.

So that’s week two done. Scotland, thanks to the bonus point, join France and Wales on five, with Ireland ahead of them on six and England in front with eight. The Six Nationstakes a break next weekend so do join me again a week on Saturday.

Let’s deal with the Six Nations first. The organisers have let Italy and the competition down badly by not introducing relegation play-offs long ago. As fully paid-up members of the cosy Six Nations club, Italian rugby has become soft and complacent, the hunger and ambition that drove them on for years has vanished. Tough love is what Italy need now.

Relegation play-offs — possibly relegation itself — would actually strengthen Italy immeasurably. It will bring back their fighting spirit. Relegation is the life blood of Premier League football and the fight to stay up has always been a huge part of competitive sport.

Georgia are currently ranked above Italy and feel they deserve a place in the Six Nations

Wales, Scotland and France have all finished bottom of the Six Nations and they should not be immune from the play-offs either. If one of the big teams is having a bad spell, they must earn their place in the Championship. Get real guys, it’s the world we live in.

You have to feel for the great warriors of Italian rugby in the 90s, who I came up against as coach of England. Their legacy has been squandered. The likes of Massimo Giovanelli, the Cuttitta brothers, Carlo Checchinato, the late Ivan Francescato, Paolo Vaccari — and that wondrous fly-half Diego Dominguez.

Italy scrapped their way into the Six Nations. They kicked the door down and demanded inclusion with their quality.

Leading up to their admittance in 2000 they defeated, sometimes more than once, all the Five Nations, save for England, and we had a narrow escape when they ambushed us in a World Cup qualifier in 1998 at Huddersfield. I was England coach, we won 23-15 but Italy should have won. They were mentally and physically awesome.

Sir Clive Woodward says the legacy of greats like Massimo Giovanelli has been squandered

Sir Clive Woodward says the legacy of greats like Massimo Giovanelli has been squandered

That team knew their inclusion was being discussed and responded. That was their big push for promotion and the consequence was the best Italian side in history. Just think of the galvanising effect on Georgian rugby if they were promised a home-and-away play-off against the bottom team in the Six Nations. That incentive is so vital, for players, coaches and fans alike. It’s how you develop rugby.

The Italians of that era were independent guys. To earn a living when rugby went professional they often had to travel to France and sink or swim in the French championship. That sorted the men from the boys. That pioneer group were tough individuals.

We often outclassed them in terms of skills Six Nations Rugby but we never came off the field anything other than sore and bruised. They had a strong pack, a good scrum-half in Francescato or young Alessandro Troncon and, of course, Dominguez at No 10.

Back then — at the 1995 and 1999 World Cups — Italy were on a par with Argentina. Since then, Argentina, who did not enter the Rugby Championship until 2012, have reached the semi-finals of two of the last three World Cups.

Italy need the threat of relegation from the Six Nations to reinvigorate the national side

Italy need the threat of relegation from the Six Nations to reinvigorate the national side

Then there is O’Shea’s role. He must confine himself to the senior Italy squad and squeeze every drop out of the talent available. He mustn’t get distracted. Having the discipline to remain focused on winning the next game is what being head coach is all about.

This is where Eddie Jones excels and where Stuart Lancaster became distracted. It’s impossible to do everything, it dilutes your impact. Eddie is no doubt grateful to the structure of English rugby that delivers him such strength in depth — but other than making the occasional recommendation, he has no interest or time to supervise that structure.

Meanwhile, Six Nations Rugby Live Stream Lancaster was involved in everything: Under 20s, sevens, women, Saxons and the first XV. It summed up the naivety of England on and off the pitch.

Eddie’s job is to be out on the training paddock or in front of a screen analysing players and teams. As a head coach, you are just passing through. It’s a moment of time which you have to grab and deliver results.

The Italian Union needs to be restructured but that is a full-time job for somebody else. It needs to be done with O’Shea’s interests in mind, but it cannot be done by Conor himself. He is badly needed elsewhere.

Italy have had good coaches such as Nick Mallett but national structure has let them down

Italy have had good coaches such as Nick Mallett but national structure has let them down

Italy have had some fine coaches: John Kirwan, who once invited me to spend a week in camp with his squad. Nick Mallett is one of the best I’ve ever coached against and Pierre Berbizier didn’t miss much.

All found it very tough but all pulled off occasional great wins. Italy have won 12 Six Nations games and drawn one since 2000. They have beaten everybody except England since they joined.

That tells me that even with the odds stacked against them, the players and athletes are there, albeit not in huge numbers. You don’t win 12 Six Nations games by accident. What Italy need to do is rediscover the hunger of 20 years ago.

Italy are still capable of taking the next step but it will take sheer bloody-mindedness and discipline, a total focus on the now, not the future. Six Nations Rugby Live The threat of relegation would be the catalyst. Source