Difficult to focus on any one particular thing…
Who is going to come out of this tournament as favourite for the Lions job and how relevant is one tournament? Robinson is probably the best coach but would do a better job with the forwards. Kidney’s coaching is unconventional and he seems difficult to work with but he’s been successful. Gatland has to be favourite but is his Wales team built along shock therapy lines? Get them physical and tell a few home truths in first season = win Grand Slam then peter out. Go to Spala, introduce number of new young players, shock them with culture blast. Then, peter out? Only so many times you can go to the shock-well.
It’s France’s to lose. Team is chock full of talent and it looks like PSA has picked his best team. Their biggest matches are at home.
Scotland are better than they look. An unforgiving fixture list in the World Cup and two narrow defeats paints them in a bad light but they can’t score readily and will miss Euan Murray for at least two matches that fall on the Sabbath.
Ireland: could take a leaf out of Warren Gatland’s book and take this opportunity to blood some new players, for the sake of it. There’s upside potential with new attacking coaches and the overall standard of Ireland’s squad is high.
England look poor. Claiming to be “in transition”, where they’ve been since 2003, the English team is reflecting the poor structures of their domestic game. Where the other four coaches are looking to coach the Lions, Lancaster will be thrown to them. They don’t have the players and this could be a chariot-less championship.
Italy are playing under a Latin coach which should suit them. The Italians need to find a creative snappy half back and a goal kicker. Once they do, the game will change for them. Attendances at the Stadio Olimpico will be interesting. The home of the Coliseum, and one of the great tourist destinations in the world, offers a weekend away that is value enough for the tournament. Their ascent will come at some stage.