Williams on the rise with Anscombe
ALL IN THE SCRUM:Munster cut Nick Williams (pictured) in 2010 and the New Zealander ended up playing a season in Aironi before David Humphreys picked him up for Ulster. But what has caused the recent transition from journeyman number eight to one of Ulster’s stand out players?
The 28-year-old had a successful career in his homeland, making 37 Super Rugby appearances for the Blues during a four year spell.
Importantly, he also played for North Harbour under current Ulster coach Mark Anscombe. It’s no coincidence Williams arrived with Anscombe.
In Italy his scoring record of 10 tries in 31 league games underlined his importance there.
While he played 58 minutes at the weekend before Roger Wilson replaced him, the Kiwi turned in yet another immense game in what has been one of the great transitions of this season.
Connacht not interested in Irish lessons
Despite the president of the IRFU Billy Glynn declaring in October he would like to see an Irish coach in charge of Connacht, it seems early runners Eddie O’Sullivan and Anthony Foley are out of the thinking.
As it stands, Leinster, Munster and Ulster are all coached by outsiders and Glynn stated that in the circumstances he would like to see an Irish appointment.
“I think I’d like to see Connacht recruit a home-grown coach,” said the Galwegians clubman. “We see now that our home-grown coaches are emigrating. We have a number of them in England, and that’s not good for the game in Ireland. We have to see that there is a place for them in Ireland, and this is an opportunity to do that. There are lots of good coaches out there.”
With Pat Lam appearing as a front runner it appears no one in Connacht was listening.
Might a change to hooker be in the offing for Leinster prop Cian Healy? Check out some nifty throwing on youtube.com/watch?v=I7vgGss3tTgfeature=youtu.be
Six Nations could enter bonus territory
The Six Nations are reportedly considering a proposal to include a bonus-points system in future tournaments as their commercial partners see the benefit of having more permutations on the last day of play and therefore offering a more attractive competition.
According to The Observer, a consultation paper has been prepared for the six countries to consider bringing the competition in line with other major world competitions.
Under the traditional system teams get two points for a win and one for a draw as opposed to four for a win and two for a draw. The bonus system reduces the chances of teams finishing level on points and increases the potential permutations on the last day as it is in the Heineken Cup pool phase.
The Six Nations is the only major tournament not to include bonus points for scoring four tries or losing by a margin of seven points or less.
But there are some real issues that have to be addressed. For example it would be possible for a team to win the Grand Slam despite finishing second in the table once their closest rival claimed maximum bonus points. It would also be possible for a team that was beaten by everyone else to avoid finishing last.
In numbers: 88.89%
Ian Keatley’s success rate from kicks this season, relegating Munster team-mate Ronan O’Gara to second place in the Pro12 standings
Quote of the week:
"We had ample possession and we just made so many errors. It was a frustrating night.”
Munster coach Rob Penney pulls no punches after Saturday’s defeat