The Six Nations will take a break this weekend after the opening two rounds of the competition, and the week of discovery suits some teams more than others.
Every year there is much debate, questioning whether they are necessary and when they happen even more.
Due to the format of the 2023 Six Nations, the opening two rounds were played over consecutive weekends, followed by the first week. There will then be one round of action before another bye week and then two consecutive weekends concluding the competition.
Planet Rugby takes stock of the Six Nations and discusses whether it has come at a good time for each nation.
Wales 6th – Good
The timing couldn’t be better for Warren Gatland’s Wales team!
Ireland and Scotland had narrow victories in the opening two rounds but ended their slim chance of winning the Six Nations on Gatland’s return.
However, the bye week has come at a great time, as New Zealand have been able to work their magic and get the squad playing together again. He has a reputation for doing just that.
The 59-year-old has his work cut out for him after the performance against Scotland, where several players, notably Dan Biggar and Rio Dyer, were visibly frustrated. This had a knock-on effect on his attacking structures.
The week off gives Gatland the chance to get all his players pulling in the same direction and he has time to properly sort out what went wrong in the opening two weeks.
Rivals England are up next, adding further motivation to the squad.
Italy in 5th place – Even
It’s a bit of a trade-off for the Italians as the top week gives them time to assess their mixed performances in the opening two weeks.
The gap between rounds two and three should see star actor Paolo Garbisi return to action in time for the clash against Ireland and he may even be able to get some minutes under his belt for Montpellier on this weekend.
However, after a strong display against France after a less-than-impressive outing against England, the Azzurri may have been keen to get another 80 minutes before the break.
Italy have set themselves the goal of winning two games this Six Nations, with the final games against Great Britain and Scotland being their best chances.
As for the Azzurri, it will probably be six out of a dozen and a half this fall week.
France in 4th place – Good
After a stalemate with Italy in round one followed by a tense Test against Ireland, the break could do France a world of good.
Fabien Galthie’s charges are still well within the title race and face Scotland in Paris in round three, followed by a trip to Twickenham. Their tournament ends when Wales visit the Stade de France.
The encounter with Ireland has certainly taken its toll, and a tired French side will host a red-hot Scotland team in Paris this weekend if not last week.
The Scots have been a bogey team for Les Bleus in recent times, with Gregor Townsend’s side winning three of the last five Tests.
Time off gives Galthie an opportunity to assess his squad and allows the fringe players to make an impact in the Top 14 round of action.
England in 3rd place – Good
One of the teams that will benefit greatly from last week as the Red Rose try to settle under the tutelage of Steve Borthwick.
Borthwick admitted that his team has work to do to catch up with the likes of Ireland and France. He and his coaching staff are rebuilding the squad and implementing new structures, and he admitted that systems “take time.” The fallow week is exactly that time.
The squad will benefit from being with the new head coach, his assistants and each other on the training pitch.
Borthwick has lost his team’s habit of falling behind in games, so this extra week gives them an opportunity to refocus and address those concerns, whether they need to improve their fitness or simply stay ahead of the pack. a clash with Wales.
England’s game needs fine-tuning, and spending the week making those tactical adjustments will surely help the team.
Scotland in second place – Badshean
Scotland have made their best ever start to a Six Nations campaign. Not since 1996, when there were five teams in the competition, have they won their opening two games.
That means, with their biggest home win over Wales (35-7) in 99 years, the off week has not come at an ideal time.
He’s unlikely to admit it, but Townsend would have loved to have faced the French just a week after Les Bleus’ replay against the Irish – especially given his side’s form.
A number of squad members will also leave camp to return to their clubs this weekend, an interruption they could have done without.
Chris Harris, Ben White, Jonny Gray, Stuart Hogg and Finn Russell could all be in action this weekend, all featuring in the win over Wales.
Scotland fans will be hoping this week doesn’t affect the squad and they can refocus as they regroup ahead of the trip to Paris.
Ireland in 1st place – Good
The last team to benefit from the timing of the detection week.
As already mentioned, the Test against France was very merciless, and it took its toll on the players.
Tadhg Beirne, Rob Herring and Jonathan Sexton would probably have missed the win for Italy after winning against France.
The same is true of Dan Sheehan, Cian Healy, Tadhg Furlong, Robbie Henshaw and Jamison Gibson-Park.
Andy Farrell has a chance to complete his first Grand Slam as Ireland coach or even win his first title. It is unclear whether he would have implemented his first-choice team against Italy, but the week will certainly be looking to recover his players and give him more options.
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The Six Nations article: Who benefits the most from the fallow week? appeared first on Planetrugby.com.