Rugby Union Roundup: Tigers Continue to Shine & Early Six Nations Look

Leicester Continue to Roll in Premiership

Leicester Tigers’ start to the New Year was typically excellent as they won their 11th consecutive game in the Gallagher Premiership this season.

The victory against Newcastle Falcons in front of more than 20,000 at Welford Road keeps them at the top of the table, nine points clear of Saracens who are second.

At this stage and on current form, it’s difficult to see any other club, with the possible exception of Saracens, beating the Tigers to the Premiership title.

What was so impressive about their win against Newcastle was that they put aside the controversy about alleged contraventions of the salary cap and concentrated entirely on the task of beating the opposition.

With this thoroughly professional attitude, reinforced by boss Steve Borthwick and exemplified on the field by England fly half George Ford, the top points’ scorer in the Premiership with 140, the Tigers are clear favourites, not only to reach the play-offs but to win the title as well.

The form of Leicester will be one of the highlights of the sport in 2022 as will the Six Nations Championship starting on February 5th and finishing on March 19th.

Six Nations 2022: An Early Look

Wales, the reigning champions, will naturally be optimistic, and from a fans’ point of view, let’s hope that one of the most exciting talents in world rugby, winger Louis Rees-Zammit, sees plenty of ball so that he is in a position to score spectacular tries.

France, back to playing off the cuff and showing enterprise and creativity, can delight and disappoint at the same time, but in half backs Antoine Dupont and Romain Ntamack, both of Toulouse, they possess internationals of the highest calibre, a reason why many fancy them to win the tournament.

Ireland, too, will be extremely competitive. Back in November during the Autumn Internationals, they beat the All Blacks in Dublin by 29-20, Ireland’s third win against mighty New Zealand in five contests.

A great result for the Irish side, skippered by fly half Johnny Sexton, and the pack which, once again, will have the power of props Andrew Porter and Tadhg Furlong tearing into opponents.

So like the French, the Irish have plenty of fans ahead of the games kicking off. But what about England, Scotland and the unfortunate Italians who’ve finished bottom of the table in the last six seasons?

Eddie Jones, England’s coach, faced mounting criticism during the 2021 tournament when his team finished fifth, but improved form in the autumn fixtures. Wins against world champions South Africa, Australia and Tonga suggest that the Twickenham crowd may be applauding rather than shaking its head.

Watch out for dazzling play by Harlequins fly half Marcus Smith who can create scoring opportunities in a flash, and now that England seem to be playing with more flair, it would be foolish to rule them out.

They might not win the Six Nations, but don’t dismiss them either.

Scotland have two of the best backs in the competition, fly half Finn Russell and full back Stuart Hogg, both thrilling to watch as they attack with ball in hand.

At Murrayfield, Scotland can be handful, and their opening game against England in Edinburgh on Saturday February 5th will be a special occasion, now that the Scots are far more competitive.

Sadly, the Italians won’t be as they’ve won only 12 internationals since joining the competition in 2000.

Italy, now coached by New Zealander Kieran Cowley, have a new skipper, back row forward Michele Lamaro. The challenge facing Italy is mountainous and, believe it or not, they have been defeated in their last 32 Six Nations games, but Italy play enthusiastically, their pack is competitive and it’s most unlikely that they’ll be kicked out of the tournament.

Craig Jones

Craig Jones

US Sports lover and watcher of the EFL, Craig will guide you through the NFL, NHL and English football