When Eddie Jones starts trying to unsettle you with mind games in the build-up to a pivotal 6 Nations test match, the chances are that you’re doing something right.
The last few seasons have seen a number of false dawns for this Scotland side. Despite a really energetic and talented squad, “This may well be Scotland’s year” is now something we seem to say and hear on an annual basis; we should probably be wary, then, of suggesting that their recent performance against the All Blacks could prove a real turning point for them.
Warren Gatland has been grilled over his coaching style many times before. But rarely has it been so unilaterally criticised, and rarely has he been so rattled by that criticism.
In the wake of the Crusaders’ superb victory against the seemingly irrepressible Hurricanes a little over a week ago, much was made about how the British & Irish Lions could learn from the defensive prowess on display in Christchurch.
In the wake of Ireland’s disappointing defeat to Wales midway through the recent Six Nations championship, much was written about Ireland’s over-reliance on Johnny Sexton as the side’s sole playmaker. When Sexton was on the field, the opinion pieces went, they were too reliant upon him; when he was off it, the side looked lost for ideas.
Is a problem shared really a problem halved? In rugby terms, it’s a divisive issue.
Should a coach pick a second playmaker at centre? Is it best to have a barrel-chested ball-carrier outside your fly-half, or another pair of gentle hands? A man o’ war, or a metronome? There are several schools of thought in answering these questions, and these were on full display during last weekend’s Six Nations fixtures.