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A Six Nations campaign of what-might-have-beens

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SO another Six Nations has reached its conclusion and for once, Scotland are not propping up the table!

After last weekend’s ‘Super Saturday’ Wales have retained the trophy, dashing England’s hopes of a Grand Slam.

Meanwhile, Italy won two games during the campaign and France were consigned to the Wooden Spoon although the French say that this only applies if you lose all of your games. Whatever!

It was Scotland’s best finish for a number of years and doubtless many at Murrayfield will be delighted with that result.

But when you analyse the performances and interim coach Scott Johnson was at pains to emphasise that it was the performances that counted, not the results there was not that much to be pleased about.

ENGLAND should have scored more tries against Scotland than they did in the opening match.

ITALY did not show up the next weekend and were put to the sword.

How IRELAND lost to the Scots is still a mystery.

WALES ground out a victory amidst a plethora of penalties.

FRANCE found some stiff competition from their tartan visitors, who proceeded to lose the game in the third-quarter. All of which indicates that not that much has really changed in Scottish rugby since Andy Robinson resigned.

Some may point to the tries that Scotland scored and, to be fair, there were one or two belters.

But, equally, there were one or two very lucky ones, such as Stuart Hogg’s interception try against the Italians. Even Tim Visser’s try in France was lucky.

Sean Lamont ran a block American football style and took out the French tackler who was drifting across to tackle Matt Scott. That he was unceremoniously dumped by Lamont, and that it wasn’t picked up by either officials or commentators, was bizarre as it was neither subtle nor discrete.

But Scott certainly made the most of it as did Visser.

The strangest thing of all about Scotland’s campaign was the fact that last year, they won plenty of possession and had lots of territorial advantage but could not score.

This year they lived off scraps and struggled to dominate games with predominately the same group of players. Clearly something has changed and one is left wondering what might have happened had Scotland’s forwards dominated games in the way that they had done a year ago.

There again, isn’t that Scotland’s story all over what might have been?

But Wales are worthy winners of the Championship as they demolished England in Cardiff in a game of real intensity and passion and it was great to see. In a Six Nations which had been somewhat ‘up and down’ in terms of the quality of rugby, it was encouraging to conclude in Cardiff with a great game of rugby. If only all of the games had been like that.