LONDON, March 13, 2012 - Wales are now in the strongest position to win the RBS Six Nations'
Championship as they head the table going into the last round of
matches on Saturday. Wales, with a two point
advantage over England and a three point advantage over France, are
unlikely to be caught but it will be a tense finale with Wales-France
playing the second match on Saturday and England-Ireland going last. The
Italy-Scotland match decides who finishes bottom of the table.
After beating France in Paris, England have a
mathematical chance of taking the title if they can beat Ireland and
also if Wales lost to France. With a huge 38 point advantage in the
points table Wales are in a strong position there as well. So at this
stage it is Wales who are placed best which means that coach Warren
Gatland has once again stated his case as the best coach in the
championship and is clear favourite to coach the British and Irish
Lions on their tour of Australia next year.
The influence of coaches is more than apparent in the
table. France have stuttered under Philippe Saint-Andre but England have
flourished under their new coach Stuart Lancaster. England are thought
to have scoured the world for a new coach after being so poor in the
World Cup last year but it now seems as if their interim choice has the
strongest claims to win the job full time.
History says that no country has won the World Cup with
a foreign coach - another factor which helps Lancaster. He has moulded
the squad to his own ideals, convinced them of the rewards which can be
earned by their abilities, and allowed a new captain in Chris Robshaw to
set the mood on the pitch. England players who returned from the World
Cup disillusioned are now fulfilling themselves.
It is not all roses in England's garden.
They have many problems to sort out going forward, not least against
Ireland next Saturday, but also in the three -Test series against South
Africa in the summer and then against Australia, New Zealand,and South
Africa in England next autumn. Cutting down on their penalty
count--they conceded eleven against France and had
one player sin binned -- would be a start.