Tackle & Ruck - Are Wales Rugby Team Just Lucky In The 6N 2021?

Okay so before you jump down my throat it is a natural thought based on what we have seen so far in the 2021 Guinness Six Nations tournament.


Let's qualify that a bit.

Is A 'Lucky' Wales Rugby Team Fair Comment?

Now bear with me. When I say lucky it's probably best to say fortunate. After all you can only play what is in front of you. But you get this intuitive feeling sometimes that everything is just lined up for certain teams sometimes.

2 matches and 2 red cards for their opponents Scotland and Ireland. It's ridiculous. I mean how can players today be so stupid and fly into rucks, heads down, off their feet with no control?

The ex-Ireland coach, who works for World Rugby as Director of Rugby and High Performance, which includes player welfare, warned about this earlier in the year. If you are going to put yourself in a position where you force the referee and officials to make a decision then you are in for a good kicking....deservedly.

It's not Wales' fault don't get me wrong. They still had to win the matches.

Which they did...just

Do Wales Deserve Their Position In The 6N Table

Wales are no France. They struggled in the Autumn and Wayne Pivac came under a huge amount of pressure from the passionate Welsh rugby fans.

They seem to have improved quite a bit, but are still not firing and in fact were on the back foot both against Ireland (Even with 14 men) and Scotland. But they hung in there and found a way to win. This is their strength at the moment dogged resistance and bad game management decisions from opponents that allows them to stay in touch.

The forwards have stepped up and are competing much better. That has been affected by injuries though.

It is the young upcoming players that are the exciting and dangerous weapons they have though. Plus lethal strike runners such as Rees-Zammit

Are Wales Any Good?

The jury is out. Even seasoned pros and old hands like James Hook recently said when on the Brian Moore podcast, that Wales were struggling in both their games.

Improvements are coming but I think they are still an unfinished article. Exciting prospects, experienced campaigners but not quite coming together yet with enough consistency.

But the mind set suits them this year. Under siege from the poor 2020 performances Wales have a habit in those circumstances to pulling the old hairy gooseberries out of the fire and surprising other teams and fans. As long as they can stay in touch on the scoreboard they truly believe they always have a chance of winning. That's probably an accurate view too.

But if Halfpenny is out they do loose a massive boot and effective weapon.

Whether that stubbornness can carry them the whole way is debatable. They still have a big, physical but misfiring and predictable England side to come as well as a resurgent France.

Is this too much to ask?

Can Wales Beat A Predictable England Rugby Team?

It depends. If they engage in an physical arm wrestle they it could go horribly wrong. Whilst they are technically good in the scrum as always the England scrum is a very big unit. Plus the Wales habit of having a shocking line out continues. Do that against England and they won't see the ball much.

But unlike England the backs are more of a unit and much more dangerous. Exciting, young and able to offload effectively they could prove the difference. If the Wales forwards are clever too they will move away from the contact points as fast as possible and run the English pack around. Billy & Mako Vunipola are great line breakers but not that mobile and rugby smart as some of the other prospects such as Sam Symonds of Exeter. Plus if they watch the videos they will see that England are losing the ball by being ripped so many times in games.

If they can nail the breakdown as well in the absence of Sam Underhill who is a total animal when he is fit for England jobs a good 'un.

What could prove crucial though is the boot. England's penalty count is HORRIFIC!! 

If halfpenny plays he could punish England so much from inside the Wales half. It does affect a teams view once they have been pinged 3 times and lost 9 points. 

But even if he doesn't then it provides Wales with easy points opportunities. Dan Biggar isn't the best kicker, but if Callum Sheedy comes on again who is better in the latter stages and it's close....

I fancy the young bucks suck as Kieran Hardy and James Botham to put in superb performances when they come on as well.

My answer is yes they can beat England on the current showing if they play smart and I think they will. But not by much.