MX23RW : Monday, May 25 00:53:51| >> :600:837876:837876:

Six Nations: How each country fared before the competition was suspended

Six Nations: The state of play before the competition was suspended
© Reuters
Three teams remain in title contention after tournament put on hold.

The 2020 Guinness Six Nations saw four matches postponed due to the coronavirus outbreak and is unresolved in terms of its title destination.

Here, the PA news agency looks at the performances of each nation so far.

England

Life after the World Cup in Japan, when England were beaten finalists, could hardly have started on a more painful note as they came horribly unstuck against a rejuvenated French team in Paris. It went badly wrong for Eddie Jones' team that day, and although they recovered to defeat Scotland in an Edinburgh monsoon, it was not until the first 40 minutes of an emphatic victory over Ireland that they truly hit their straps. Wales at Twickenham two weeks later produced another win, which clinched the Triple Crown, but again it was not entirely convincing. It proved a rollercoaster Six Nations season, but it is a tournament that England can still win if the competition is resumed.

Wales

Ireland v Wales – Guinness Six Nations – Aviva Stadium
New Wales head coach Wayne Pivac (Donall Farmer/PA Wire)

New Wales boss Wayne Pivac experienced his first Six Nations campaign, and his team began their title defence well by crushing Italy 42-0 in Cardiff. But three successive defeats then followed – the first time Wales had experienced such a Six Nations losing run in one season since 2007 – which ruled them out of silverware contention. Pivac is trying to evolve Wales' style of play post-Warren Gatland and there were green shoots – notably flanker Justin Tipuric's stunning try against England – but the second half of this year will be challenging, with Wales scheduled to face New Zealand three times before meeting world champions South Africa.

Scotland

Ireland v Scotland – Pool A – 2019 Rugby World Cup – International Stadium Yokohama
Finn Russell played no part in Scotland's Six Nations campaign (Adam Davy/PA Wire)

Scotland's campaign was overshadowed by the Finn Russell saga, with their brilliant fly-half playing no part in this season's tournament following a breach of team protocol. It undoubtedly affected attacking options, but Scotland performed solidly throughout, bouncing back from narrow defeats against Ireland and England to beat Italy and then demolish French Grand Slam hopes through a convincing and clinical display at Murrayfield. New captain Stuart Hogg, despite a couple of high-profile individual errors, led impressively, while prop Rory Sutherland was a dominant force in an impressive pack. A campaign when positives outweighed negatives.

Ireland

Andy Farrell gathered the coaching reins in Ireland, taking over from Joe Schmidt, and it is difficult to make a considered judgement on the Irish after two of their five games were postponed. An underwhelming performance against Scotland still produced a victory, while misfiring Wales were dismissed in bonus-point fashion by a team that did not move out of third gear. The worry for Irish fans will be the way England then dismantled Farrell's men at Twickenham, especially during a dominant first-half display when Ireland's forwards were horribly outgunned and revered half-backs Johnny Sexton and Conor Murray had an afternoon to forget. The jury is still out on Farrell's Ireland.

France

Wales v France – Guinness Six Nations – Principality Stadium
France defence coach Shaun Edwards (Adam Davy/PA Wire)

Easily the most improved team in this season's tournament, France – along with England and Ireland – maintain realistic title hopes should the competition reconvene. Under new head coach Fabien Galthie, and driven by the masterly direction of defence guru Shaun Edwards, Les Bleus lit up the Six Nations in their opening game by seeing off England. They also defeated Italy and edged out Wales in comfortably the best match from 11 played. Defeat to Scotland ended hopes of a first Grand Slam since 2010, but France are back after a lengthy spell in the doldrums, and they are being inspired by an exciting generation of newcomers, led by half-backs Romain Ntamack and Antoine Dupont.

Italy

Italy, once again, propped up the rest. A 15th Six Nations wooden spoon beckons, and in two of their three games played – against Wales and Scotland – they failed to score a point. Their inspirational former captain Sergio Parisse is poised for international rugby retirement, and there appears to be little hope of the Azzurri being genuinely competitive any time soon. The Six Nations promotion and relegation debate continues to be fuelled by Italy making no impact on the competition whatsoever, and it proved another campaign to forget.

ID:393025:
Latest coronavirus PSA banner

Coronavirus outbreak - Click here for more stories

Share this article now:
England head coach Eddie Jones walks with his runner up medal after the match on November 2, 2019
Read Next:
Six key questions answered about how coronavirus has affected the Six Nations
>
Latest Sports Video
Did you know...?

rhs 2.0

Subscribe to our Newsletter


Transfer Talk Daily
Match previews - twice weekly
Morning Briefing (7am UTC)
Ultra close-up image of Kevin De Bruyne [NOT FOR USE IN ARTICLES]Get the latest transfer news, match previews and news direct to your inbox!