So we are now two round in to the 2011 Six Nations, who are the improver’s and who are going from bad to worse:
Handling- Never really put under any pressure the England backline passed the ball much better than in week one. Ben Foden was guilty of one loose carry that saw him turnover the ball. The carry of one or two of the England forwards could also improve and would enable a more dynamic offloading game to be an option. 8/10
Tackling- England’s tackling was again good but not put under any pressure from a poor Italian attack. 8/10
Impact on the game- England’s execution of the Core Skills was a big factor in securing the win.
Handling – Italy held what ball they had but failed to threaten England at all in this area. Most Italian forwards looked uncomfortable with ball in hand. 5/10
Tackling- Tackling was again very strong with a 94% completion rate the same as in round one. Italy’s defensive frailties are down to poor systems rather than individual techniques 8/10
Impact on the game – Core skills contributed only on the fringes to this defeat.
Handling- Another poor day for Ireland with seventeen handling errors. Scrum half O’Leary has a poor pass and a very insecure carry, he had the ball stripped in a tackle when Ireland held good field position. 5/10
Tackling – Ireland tackle well for large parts of the game completing 96% of their tackles, unfortunately one of their four missed tackles by Gordon Darcy produced the try that won the game for France. 6/10
Impact on the game- Ireland’s poor skills along with poor discipline contributed to most to the final result.
Handling – Although they had less handling errors than the previous week the French still did not impress with their handling skills. 6/10
Tackling- A big improvement in this area though they still conceded three tries. They certainly have a problem at ten with Trinh-Duc who is not much more than a speed bump. England will certainly target him in the next game 7/10
Impact on the game – The French are still managing to win games without really displaying anything like top class Core Skills.
Handling – This week was a disaster for the Scots with ball in hand, error after error, nineteen in total. 2/10
Tackling – Fairly good throughout, but lacked drive and power from the previous week. Still with a 93% completion rate you would expect them to have won. 6/10
Impact on the game – The amount of handling errors was a major factor in this defeat.
Impact on the game- One crucial poor carry into contact led to the ball being stripped and a try conceded. This meant they were playing catch up, though it was not the major factor in the defeat.
Handling – Only three offloads and eight handling errors, the Welsh are still struggling with their handling skills and against better opposition would have struggled 6/10
Tackling- Fourteen missed tackles and a 90% completion rate tells its own story. Fortunately Scotland’s poor handling meant this deficiency was never exploited. As solid as centres Davies and Roberts are the Welsh have a big problem with James Hook, you cannot hide a poor tackler at top level international rugby. 4/10
Impact on the Game – Didn’t have a major impact because Scotland on the day were much worse.
After two rounds of games my league table on the execution of Core Skills is as follows.
1. England 31
2. Italy 24
3. Ireland 23
4. France 23
5. Scotland 21
6. Wales 19