Tissot Ambassador Paul Wallace looks ahead to the 2019 Championship

Paul Wallace 10/12/2015
Tissot, Official Timekeeper of the NatWest 6 Nations, has invited some rugby experts and legends to share their views on the games and the teams throughout the Championship.

Tissot, Official Timekeeper of the NatWest 6 Nations, has invited some rugby experts and legends to share their views on the games and the teams throughout the Championship.

It’s been an incredible NatWest 6 Nations but I think the future for all six countries is very bright and the competition is only going to get better.

From Ireland to Italy, everyone will be better and stronger in 12 months’ time and, for me, the countdown has already started to 2019.


Heading into the 2003 World Cup, England won in Australia and New Zealand so they had confidence. Ireland have such strength in depth now that they can match it.

The likes of Dan Leavy, Jacob Stockdale, Garry Ringrose and James Ryan are all young guys who will be around for a while and it is a bright future.

The accuracy of every play at the breakdown was so impressive and that really limited the number of penalties they conceded and the number of turnovers.

The one area for Ireland to improve on is the defence out wide. They do defend narrowly and England’s pace out wide exploited that.

This is the third year out of five that they have won it and for a country with such a limited pool of players, it is incredible.


They have the option of copying the Scarlets’ style, who are so good at cutting teams to shreds. Or do they stick to tried and trusted methods?

They are in the middle of that and it is hard to judge which way are they going to go. They have the ability to cut through teams.

Gareth Davies has been outstanding at scrum-half in this Championship and was very good throughout against France.

When you think they also have Jonathan Davies at centre ready to come back and you realise just how good they can be.

Watching them progress is going to be fascinating and next year I expect them to be even better.


Heading into next year’s Championship and then the World Cup, Scotland will be very dangerous.

They always pull a big game out of the bag, like they did against England this year. But for Scotland, it is the same old problem.

Doing it at BT Murrayfield is one thing and there they can take on anyone but on the road they have struggled, which is why I think the win against Italy was so important.

They have some great talent at their disposal and Gregor Townsend has really moved them on this year.

They have gone back to an attacking game and that is the way forward for them.

I would hate to say Scotland should change their approach away from home but if you look at Ireland, they scored a lot of tries but did not chuck the ball around.

They have a lot of flair players but opposition teams will think they can put them under pressure. It’s something to think about.


There is a lot to be positive about for France because the young flanker Yacouba Camara was outstanding this year and is clearly a star.

Remy Grosso has done very well since coming in and they have a lot of depth – especially in the front row.

Fly-half has been an issue for France for some time and that may be because in the Top 14 it is often the scrum-half who controls the game but at Test level that can be very hard.

That has been an issue. Having said that Francois Trinh-Duc impressed me against Wales. He was strong in defence and did okay attacking-wise so he looks like being the best to me.

Going with young players is an interesting one, I think they will be real run next year.

France now need to be consistent with selection. When you have so many class players, it is easy to swap and change a lot.


A huge player for England is Billy Vunipola. He guarantees front-foot ball. Nathan Hughes is a superb player but he lacks that and for the way England want to play they need Vunipola – when he is back it will open things up for them.

When they have front-foot ball then George Ford is a must for me because of his obvious talent but they rely massively on Vunipola.

He could be the secret. They have so much pace out wide that all they need is a player or two capable of crossing the gainline all day and they will be alright.

Ben Youngs was sorely missed also. He is one of the most intelligent players about and is a hybrid of Danny Care and Richard Wigglesworth.

They should not be criticised too much because they were going for their third Championship in a row and so they are never going to chop and change much and teams get to know you.


For Italy, I think everyone else has kicked on and they are playing catch-up but I can see a lot of reasons to be encouraged.

They are developing their front five and I can see that, potentially, getting back to where it was when it was at its best in the past.

They do have a very talented squad and Conor (O’Shea) is getting the most out of them. Unfortunately, it will be a building process and it will be quite a gradual improvement over time for them because Conor O’Shea is slowly changing their style.

Against Scotland, they really showed that they are becoming a footballing side and the flanker Sebastian Negri has been outstanding this season.

Hopefully they can push on now and bridge the gap.

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