Six Nations Donkey Awards: The Final Round

There it is, over and out, the Six Nations leaves us with happy hearts and sore heads – it’s been emotional. A Grand Slam of a hangover means that the final Donkey Awards for this year may not be the most coherent, but there were no shortage of candidates to raise their hands for recognition in the final reckoning of donkeydom!

1. Woulda, Coulda, Shoulda…

Ah David Denton, one of the finds of the tournament, a revelation in the Scottish back row, and a player of huge potential for the coming years. However, it seemed like Denton was in the mood to tempt fate in the build up to Scotland’s final fixture of the season, boldly stating that ‘we probably should have beaten the other team’ when discussing all of Scotland’s other fixtures. Perhaps Scotland did not always deserve to lose, but ‘should have beaten’ everyone in the tournament might have been a leap too far as well. Either way, the rugby gods stepped in to reward Denton’s protestations with a game Scotland certainly should not have won, and plump them into last place, the wooden spoon, and sitting only above Canada in the world rankings.

Donkey Score: 3

2. Huffing and puffing, yet all out of ideas.

Declan Kidney must be wondering where it all went wrong. With a game plan so elegant it could be written down in only a sentence or two – ‘have Brian O’Driscoll and Paul O’Connell on the field, then win’, how could the Irish have failed? Too harsh perhaps, but Kidney has seemed short of a tactical concept for some time now. Over reliant on the past masters, and unconcerned with a plan for replacing them, Kidney’s coaching prowess has been brought in for some serious scrutiny and one wonders after such a second half capitulation in Twickenham, how long he can continue to direct his team without a rudder.

Donkey Score: 4

3. And while we are on the Irish, the pack perhaps…

When considering Kidney’s plight, special mention must be made of the Irish front row, who were so clinically dismantled by England during the second 40 yesterday. The Irish pack are given a special mention, simply for the dramatic nature of their decline. Not so long ago, and Irish scrum was one of the most fear inducing products in international rugby, now they stand as straw men, pushed aside and spat upon by the team hurling them backwards. A true shame to see what was once an immovable object become so brittle and weak.

Donkey Score: 1

4. Slippery Steps.

It’s hard not to feel for Julien Bonnaire, a great figure of the back row for France, at the end of an illustrious career, being made to look a complete tit by Alex Cuthbert. Cuthbert’s score was a magical little creation, with a delicate step and surge of power, but look again for the despairing flop of the French No7. In an ultimately flawed attempt to stop Cuthbert, Bonnaire seemed to pivot in a manner that led to his legs going one way, his torso another, while his arms flung wildly above him in mid air. By the time he had picked himself up off of the ground, the try was scored. For quite such a daft drop to the ground:

Donkey Score: 1

5. Finally, him again…

To round things off for this week and year, we could not go a week without mentioning Alain Rolland. He’s had plenty of flak for his decision making this season, and while we might not be in the mood to contest any of his many yellow card calls yesterday, the fact that he makes them with such ease and relish, that he is so insistent upon being seen in a game, is reason enough for him to make another appearance on these pages. The game is not about you Alain, and it’s about time both you, and the IRB realised this, and let a game of rugby flow for a change!

Donkey Score: 2

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