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Pundit Hook slams 'unfair' scheduling for Six Nations

By Jonathan Bradley

Rugby pundit George Hook has blasted the Six Nations schedule as "absolutely unfair."

Ireland took on Wales at the Aviva Stadium on Sunday and will meet France in Paris with just a six-day turnaround.

With the Six Nations seeing matches on Friday nights, Saturdays or Sunday afternoons, Hook is concerned with the physical demands placed on today's player.

Wales will also have less than a full week to prepare for their hosting of Scotland at the weekend while Vern Cotter's men and France will be in a similar situation after their round four clash.

"There is a real morale dilemma for people who watch this game now," he said.

"Do we, like ancient Romans, watch a sport which is essentially about brave men beating the hell out of each other or do we watch a sport which is about skill and talent? I think we are going slightly in the wrong direction. Six days is absolutely unfair."

Hook was left relatively unimpressed by Ireland's showing against Wales, saying Joe Schmidt got his tactics wrong while also calling for the side to turn to the southern hemisphere to solve the scrummaging problems evident against Warren Gatland's men.

"We could solve our scrum problem in the morning. I guarantee if you went to the main street in Buenos Aires, you'd find a bunch of guys called O'Connor, and O'Connell, and Murphy," said Hook.

"We should be going down to Argentina. Look at the difference the Argentinean coach (Mario Ledesma) made to Australia. Look at the difference he made to Australian scrummaging.

"We should be going down to Argentina and say 'Anyone here have an Irish granny'? Or come back and get a 19-year-old Argentinean to live in Ireland for three years."

With Ireland having led 13-0 after half an hour, they looked on course to open their championship with a win and Hook opined that the side's lack of imagination ultimately cost them dear.

"Between the 28th minutes and the 80th minute we scored three points with a penalty. We have trouble scoring tries," he said.

"How can we beat teams if we can't score tries? "Was it brave? Yes. Was it match-winning rugby? No.

"Bravery is fine, but it has to be matched with something else. Schmidt got his tactics wrong. When a wing or centre gets the ball, every player cuts inside, creates a ruck and we win the ball again.

"The rest of the world is playing differently. The problem is, are we the only ones who are right? I believe we are wrong and the rest of the world is right."

Belfast Telegraph


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