Sat. Sep 18th, 2021

After the sterile Autumn Nations Cup, low-risk rugby union has to be ditched in order to win over fresh converts

The Six Nations starts less than two months after the conclusion of the kick-and-chase festival that called itself the Autumn Nations Cup. The sterile environments in empty stadiums stripped heat and passion from matches, but the general unwillingness to run from deep was not a symptom of Covid-19 but the continuation of a trend towards defence and low risk.

Even the Scotland head coach, Gregor Townsend, who as a player was known for his daring and invention, said he did not think style was important and that the best way to give supporters a lift was to win. He felt the lack of atmosphere at grounds in the autumn meant there was little sense of occasion but, as the Six Nations prepare to go into partnership with a private equity company, winning converts will become as significant as winning matches.

Related: Stuart Hogg: ‘I’m not saying we’re going to win the Six Nations … but I’m excited’

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