Five lessons from the 2024 Six Nations

Daily News
9 Min Read
Five lessons from the 2024 Six Nations

With the 2024 Six Nations wrapped up, we take a closer look at five lessons we learnt as Ireland dominated, England were on the up, and Scotland slipped up once again…

Peaks and troughs: England on the up?

Image: Twickenham erupted as Marcus Smith’s dropgoal sealed the England win

It is fair to say that at the end of the 2023 Six Nations, England fans were in disarray. A new coach who was inexperienced at international level, flailing attack, poor defence, and shoddy performances left them in fourth place and wondering what their future looked like under Steve Borthwick.

Fast forward to the end of the 2024 Six Nations and England fans can see a team on an upwards trajectory.

England were already buoyed by a surprise run to the semi-finals at the Rugby World Cup, narrowly missing out to eventual winners South Africa, and their win against Ireland in round four will go down as one of their most electric moments at Twickenham as Marcus Smith’s drop-goal sailed over.

Image: Marcus Smith had a moment to remember on his return to the side

The new blitz defensive system started to work, inexperienced players like Immanuel Feyi-Waboso, George Furbank, and Tommy Freeman got them firing in attack, and a passionate England side seemed reborn despite the third place finish.

Ireland’s era of dominance in full swing?

Ireland celebrate after winning the Six Nations following victory over Scotland

Image: Ireland celebrate after winning the Six Nations following victory over Scotland

The worthy winners in 2024 – Ireland recovered from a tough quarter-final exit at the Rugby World Cup to show why they are still the side to beat in the northern hemisphere.

They entered the tournament without Johnny Sexton as an option for the first time since 2010, but Jack Crowley stepped up and fitted into Andy Farrell’s side with relative ease, the likes of Joe McCarthy, Ryan Baird, and Josh van der Flier reasserting that Ireland’s brute strength is not going anywhere.

Joe McCarthy

Image: Joe McCarthy was in firme form throughout the tournament

However, they leave the tournament with a few scars from their last-minute loss to England at Twickenham because they have once again been reminded that they are not invincible.

They also have to now look at life without Farrell as he moves over to focusing on the Lions after the Summer Series in South Africa.

Will Ireland fans be happy? Yes. Will they be worried about how their system will hold up without Farrell at the helm? Potentially.

2024 Six Nations standings

Team W D L SD BP P
Ireland 4 0 1 84 4 20
France 3 1 1 6 1 15
England 3 0 2 -5 2 14
Scotland 2 0 3 0 4 12
Italy 2 1 2 -34 1 11
Wales 0 0 5 -51 4 4

Scotland slip up: Can they ever win big?

Scotland's Finn Russell speaks to referee Nika Amashukeli as they wait for the dramatic late TMO decision

Image: Scotland’s Finn Russell speaks to referee Nika Amashukeli as they wait for the dramatic late TMO decision against France

“This is the best Scotland side since 1991,” was the constant cry at the beginning of this tournament. And yet, Scotland faltered once again in the moments that truly mattered.

After victories over Wales and England, plus a tough loss to France, Scotland had the task of Italy to set up a big crunch clash with Ireland – and this is where they fell.

The self-proclaimed ‘Lionel Messi of rugby’, Finn Russell, saw his star fade under the pressure, Duhan van der Merwe made uncharacteristic mistakes, and the inconsistency that has come to tarnish Scotland over the last decade reared its head once again.

Do they have huge star power? Yes? Can they show this on a consistent basis? No.

Confidence is key: Italy ignited and Wales stumble

Lorenzo Pani's sheer speed was on show as he went over for the first try of the second 40

Image: Lorenzo Pani’s sheer speed was on show as he went over for Italy

Every team goes through periods of rebuilding but one thing is always important: that those players know what it is to win in that period.

Italy’s standing in this tournament has been debated for years but in 2024, they showed why they are worthy opponents in the Six Nations, building a team that now know how to beat the big guns.

With their most successful Six Nations campaign now under their belt, Italy can head into 2025 knowing that they can beat Scotland, Wales, and nearly France, plus push England all the way.

Those wins and draw will be big moving forward – something that a young Wales side is yet to experience.

Wales players line up for the national anthem during the Six Nation ahead of their fixture against France

Image: Wales will need to learn how to win as their rebuild continues

Wales fans and the Welsh team alike are on board with Warren Gatland’s rebuilding plan, but they do not want to rebuild a team that only knows how to lose.

We saw some epic comebacks from Wales throughout this tournament, but with a 21-year-old captain at the helm and the majority of the side only getting their first real glimpses of international experience, they could not get the wins.

Wales do not want the standard to be that they lose and the next step for them is getting this side experiencing the winning feeling on the international stage to avoid back-to-back wooden spoons in 2025.

Life without Dupont: France find their feet again with Nolann Le Garrec

Nolann Le Garrec's performances against Wales and England solidified him as a star man for the future for France

Image: Nolann Le Garrec’s performances against Wales and England solidified him as a star man for the future for France

Up until round four, France looked all over the place without their playmaker Antoine Dupont, a loss to Ireland, controversial win over Scotland, and dramatic draw with Italy leaving them wondering if they could get back to the dizzying heights we once saw them reach in this tournament.

Then, up steps Nolann Le Garrec to wear the No 9 shirt.

Le Garrec brought the sensational form he has shown at Racing 92 to the international stage, a reverse 40-yard pass against Wales epitomising the French freedom he embodies.

France's Uini Atonio celebrates with Romain Taofifenua following his try

Image: France came out on top in the end with a big win over England

He showed similar skill again against England, starting and ending an incredible try that would help them seal second place.

It was a jittery start for the 2022 winners, but the 21-year-old showed that French flair is in safe hands for years to come.

Get Sky Sports on WhatsApp!

Sky Sports WhatsApp channel

Image: Sky Sports WhatsApp channel

You can now start receiving messages and alerts for the latest breaking sports news, analysis, in-depth features and videos from our dedicated WhatsApp channel!

Find out more here…

Share This Article
Leave a comment