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Grading each Six Nations side’s campaign so far

As we enter the latest Six Nations fallow week, it now feels a good time to reflect on the Championship so far.

As we enter the latest Six Nations fallow week, it now feels a good time to reflect on the Championship so far.

Across the board, we have seen some stellar performances from house hold names, young players have also burst onto the scene and are making a name for themselves, but it seems Ireland are once again marching towards a Grand Slam.

Andy Farrell’s side have blown the competition away so far, but they will need to keep a close eye on Scotland as they are the last realistic challengers for the title.

But how have each of the teams faired this Championship so far? Have they met expectation, or have some defied the odds? Here are our gradings for each of the Six Nations teams so far:

Six Nations gradings

Ireland: A+

2024 Guinness Six Nations Championship Round 3, Aviva Stadium, Dublin 24/2/2024 Ireland vs Wales Irelands Joe McCarthy celebrates after Dan Sheehan scores their sides first try Joe McCarthy celebrates after Dan Sheehan scores their sides first try 24/2/2024 PUBLICATIONxNOTxINxUKxIRLxFRAxNZL Copyright: x INPHO/DanxSheridanx AJ5I5966

As mentioned above, Andy Farrell’s men are steamrolling their way to another Grand Slam title. They seem to have washed away the disappointment of the World Cup, and are rubberstamping their credentials as the best team in the world. They blew France and Italy out of the water in their opening two games, and whilst it wasn’t a vintage display against Wales they still came away with a bonus point. The title seems theirs to lose now.

Scotland: B+

Rugby Union – 2024 Guinness Six Nations Championship – Round Three – Scotland vs England – Murrayfield – Saturday 24th February 2024 Duhan van der Merwe of Scotland scores his 3rd try to make it 22-13 PUBLICATIONxNOTxINxUK

A controversial referee decision may have cost them a perfect start, but they are the last realistic challengers for the title. Their free-flowing, attacking style of play has propelled them to new heights this Championship, and this came to the fore against England. They know England will need to do them a favour next weekend if they want to stay in the hunt for their first Six Nations title, but either way they have really impressed so far.

England: C

2024 Guinness Six Nations Championship Round 3, Scottish Gas Murrayfield, Edinburgh, Scotland 24/2/2024 Scotland vs England England celebrate after scoring England celebrate after scoring 24/2/2024 PUBLICATIONxNOTxINxUKxIRLxFRAxNZL Copyright: x INPHO/CraigxWatsonx CW2_0244

Two wins from three might make England look like one of the better sides this tournament, but the way they are playing is leaving a lot to be desired. The new blitz defence is good-until it isn’t. It works well when executed well, however the players are still figuring it out and this causes errors in the system. The defence isn’t their biggest problem though, the attack is poor at best. There seems no to be no connection between the players, and this is resulting in a boring attack that seems lightyears away from what Ireland and Scotland are playing. Maybe another reset is needed.

France: D

Charles Ollivon 7 – France and Cameron Woki 4 – France look dejected following the 6 Nations match between France and Italy at Stade Pierre Mauroy on february 25, 2024 in Lille, France. Photo by federico pestellini / panoramic – RUGBY : France vs Italie – 6 Nations – 25/02/2024 FedericoPestellini/Panoramic PUBLICATIONxNOTxINxFRAxBEL

What is going on with France at the moment? The loss of Antoine Dupont was also going to take its toll on the squad, but they seem completely lost this Six Nations. The heartbreak of losing their best ever shot at a World Cup still seems to be lingering over them, and if anything they seem tired, with the long Top 14 season not helping matters either. One win in three-and a controversial win at that-is nowhere near what was expected of France this Six Nations, and they might need this fallow week more than the others to get back on track.

Wales: C+

Wales team huddle Ireland v Wales, Guinness Six Nations, Rugby, Aviva Stadium, Dublin, Ireland – 24 Feb 2024 PUBLICATIONxINxGERxSUIxAUTxHUNxGRExMLTxCYPxROUxBULxUAExKSAxONLY Copyright: xPaulxGreenwood/Shutterstockx 14355180cc

Nothing was really expected of Wales this Championship, and whilst they remain winless they have shown plenty of promise. It’s a very young Welsh side, led by a young captain in Dafydd Jenkins, but players like Cameron Winnett, Ioan Lloyd, Rio Dyer, Tommy Reffell and especially Aaron Wainwright have all impressed this Six Nations, and will only get better in the future. This was always a team for the future rather than the present, but if this is anything to go by they could be building a solid side for years to come.

Italy: C+

Michele Lamaro 7 – Italy and Italy players celebrate during the 6 Nations match between France and Italy at Stade Pierre Mauroy on february 25, 2024 in Lille, France. Photo by federico pestellini / panoramic – RUGBY : France vs Italie – 6 Nations – 25/02/2024 FedericoPestellini/Panoramic PUBLICATIONxNOTxINxFRAxBEL

The bottom side getting a C+ might seem strange, but they have shown marked improvement on last year. Italy pushed England all the way in round one, and despite being blown away by Ireland they came back strong and nearly recorded a famous win against France last weekend. They are playing with real attacking flair, especially against England, and we are seeing players like Ange Capuozzo, Tommaso Menoncello and Ross Vintcent grow as the tournament progresses. They, like Wales, are building a solid foundation for the future this year, and this could help turn the tide of Italian rugby.