26 Mar Why Ireland won the 6 Nations Championship
Now that the dust has settled on the RBS 6 Nations Championship and before we get back to the excitement of the Heineken Cup next weekend, I thought it might be interesting to consider the high performance organisation (HPO) credentials of each of the 6 Nations rivals.
I have rated each of the 6 nations on a scale of 1 (poor) to 10 (perfect) against each of the 5 HPO characteristics and then compared the overall ratings to the final championship table
As was the case in my previous HPO analysis of Ferguson and Mourinho, there is of course a slight bias to my ratings. I do however welcome any challenges to my assessment!
Everyone in the Ireland camp understood their well thought-out strategy for each match and the role they played to make it happen. Apart from the England match where small inaccuracies let them down, strategies were well executed. In contrast Scotland’s strategy was all over the place, neither clear nor understood.
Ireland and England had strong leaders both on and off the pitch. Both coaches (Schmidt and Lancaster) insisted on high ethical standards. Lancaster got rid of the arrogance that hampered the English and instilled a more humble approach. He dropped Chris Ashton and his swallow dives from the squad. France’s Picamoles left a bad taste when he mockingly clapped the referee after being sin binned. Both Saint André and Johnson were disastrous.
England’s performance throughout the championship was based on a structured power game and it almost worked. Ireland made mistakes but were very focused on outcomes. Their ability to keep building scores against Italy in comparison to England’s Italy endgame proved decisive. Italy’s effort was never in doubt but they couldn’t close games out
Schmidt’s great gift is his ability to develop players to their full potential. Witness the performances of Andrew Trimble and Devon Toner. On top of that the retirement of Brian O’Driscoll was a powerful motivator. Lancaster got the very best out of Danny Care, a previously petulant talent. At times the French players looked disinterested until the last game against Ireland. Italy just don’t have the players.
The Ireland camp knew that what the Irish public wanted was a 6 Nations Championship win and a proper send-off for Brian O’Driscoll. It delivered on both expectations. All of their matches were exciting right down to the last 2 minutes against France. The French public was in revolt resulting in the Nicolas Mas press conference walk-out.
That’s why Ireland won the RBS 6 Nations Championship. The final league table never lies!