Sunday 19 November 2017

O'Gara on the six nations

Ian Chadband


A serious team. Owen Farrell plays a brand of rugby for Saracens which is effective but it is rugby by analysis. He has, though, performed well for England and that is how you judge him; he has balls, he likes the pressure moments and that is important in a 10.


They are difficult at Murrayfield, competitive and dogged, but over a seven-week period they don't have the consistency. They seem to deliver at least once. You have to be on your guard.


Ireland hockeyed them in the first game last year and there was not a soul in Cardiff that day who would have said Wales would win the title. Yet by the time they hammered England in the final game, they looked extremely good. Potentially very difficult to beat again.


France do have the players to win the tournament but the public demand instant results, so there is so much chopping and changing and they underperform. Selection is questionable; at out-half, Francois Trinh-Duc is a top player but is not even in the squad.


They are always horrible to play first. They are so full of fire and physicality, they will hurt you. I always enjoyed playing Italy last or second last because, hopefully, they have lost that fire. The key for them is to find a 10 of just European class.


Cian Healy could be a star of the championship. This guy is special. Off-beat, different and a freak as an athlete. At times you would think he is a centre, he has such ability on the ball, yet his scrummaging is great too.

Irish Independent

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