Preview Six Nations Rugby


John Inverdale looks ahead to the 2017 Six Nations Championship.

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A great leader inspires people around them. Five out of five. It is


England's grand slam. Get your own job right, first. O'Driscoll!


Captain fantastic, what a start for Italy. Keep your head up, stand


tall. Protocol has been ripped up. Show you are in control, even when


you're not. Wales are streaking away. The captain's done it again.


Would you believe it? Leadership can be lonely. Don't pretend to know it


all. Trust your team-mates. That is going to be the try of the


championship. A great victory. It's hard to earn respect and so


easy to lose it. They are looking bang up for this,


the Irish. Walk the talk. Be selfless, not a selfish. There is


the happiest man in Scotland. At the start of another


international rugby year, New Zealand remain, even without their


greatest leader Richie McCaw, the dominant force in the world game.


Welcome to, without a shadow of a doubt, the greatest annual rugby


competition in the world, the RBS Six Nations which kicks off here in


Edinburgh with Scotland against Ireland. A at Murrayfield fields to


a caustic Celtic collision. They have been playing rugby at


Murrayfield since 1925, served by trains and trams these days and in


1975 a record 105,000 people were here to see Scotland play Wales.


That's a match that you can see on the BBC in three weeks' time. These


days much more manageable, 68,000, thereabouts, will be here this


afternoon for Scotland against Ireland. It is safe to say amongst


the best seats in the house we are lucky to say they are occupied by


us. Here we are in the far corner of the ground. Good afternoon and


welcome, wherever you may be, pubs, clubs, this country, broad,


wherever. We look forward to what will be an epic few weeks ahead.


Pace yourself, it's a long afternoon and championship ahead. We will


enjoy the company of, amongst others, Jeremy Guscott, Keith Wood,


Chris Paterson and Paul O'Connell. Who has just taken his hat off. We


had a funny joke about the Irish always wearing hats and that's been


blown out of the water in the first minute! As the man who has most


recently been party to this on the field of play, what's it like to be


involved in the Six Nations an owl and ten minutes from kick off? Very


exciting. A different sense of occasions to the autumn


internationals to the Sun International. -- and hour and ten.


With an hour to go, the players are probably on princess street, that is


where the Irish team stay. The young guys have their headphones on, the


old guys are stretching. About 1000 fans outside the door of the hotel


waiting for you to get on the bus and once you on the bus and you go


through the crowd, it's a great feeling. Really nervous feeling. You


know what's coming, you get ready for battle. It really exciting time


in any player's career. When you talk to people in the street, they


say it's amazing how this tournament seems to get bigger and bigger every


year, do you sense that as well? I do. Everyday I think, cannot get any


better, bigger and stronger? Every year I think can it get. Expectation


is the greatest, biggest... Area I can look at. We are all chatting to


friends. What they are thinking about, each team, how it's going to


go. Up to the last minute, they can change their mind. It's brilliant, I


love it all. A Scottish perspective? There is a palpable sense, not just


optimism that a real expectation. We haven't had that in the past. There


is optimism every time Scotland take the field, especially at the start


of the championship but after a good autumn some fantastic players


playing critically well for clubs in the domestic leagues it is looking


pretty good. It'll be a tough test. What is the major change to the


format of the Six Nations? Bonus points. It will only be influential


if actually it comes to pass where the matches are seven points


differential is or people start scoring tries. The key element is


the winner going fast and this happens afterwards as a consequence.


-- going first. If you're not a seasoned rugby observer and do not


know the bonus point system, watcher points for a win, not two. One extra


points -- four points for a win. When you lose, you get one bonus


point if you score four tries, irrespective of what the score is.


If it is 78-20 but you have scored four tries, you get a bonus point.


One bonus point for losing by fewer than seven irrespective of the


school. In terms of the number of points -- the score. One bonus point


for scoring four tries and three points for a grand slam. Do you


think that will have a material impact on who actually wins, March


18? In the history it could have done but I don't think it was


necessary. Six Nations Came out yesterday and they said it was


inherently unfair and may last for one season and then we'll be gone.


They are under pressure to do something to change it up


unnecessarily. In many respects, you kind of like the friction that


happens at the very end, not guessing... I never liked the idea


of a losing bonus point. The idea that if we do really well in the


last five minutes, we may lose by less than seven and that seems like


a good thing. That's a vote against, in favour or against? I'm against


it. I like it. I think for the championship point it will make a


big difference but I'm not sure it will have a bearing on the opening


weekend. I thought it would be more that the last couple of games but


Eddie Jones said his team will be absolutely daring and Vern Cotter


said he had options in attack which allows them to continually attack


the opposition. I am not sure. Where are you? I enjoy it. I enjoyed


European cup the last two week, the permutations and calculations, I


enjoyed that when I was a player. I am for it. We will find out over the


next five weekend 's, the next seven weeks. We ought to mention world


rankings. This is the last batch of matches where teams can influence


their position in terms of the draw for the next World Cup. The key


thing, you want to finish in the top That is supposedly gives you an


easier draw when it comes to the World Cup in Japan. The teams have


gotten better, top ten, 12 have been really strong. When you get in at


number eight, you still don't get the best draw. Ireland want to make


sure they are in the top four, they don't want to allow themselves to


drop out of that. But it can play a huge bearing. We've seen big matches


in World Cup that had been set up two of three years beforehand and


that is the instance. They want to win the match but they will have


that in the back of the next hour and ten minutes before kick off at


Murrayfield. We will hear from some of the most influential figures in


the game. These days, none more important than


the referee. Wayne Barnes talks high tackles and law changes.


Richie McCaw offers an All Black perspective on the Six Nations and


the Lions as Warren Gatland having forsaken Wales looks for the players


who can win in New Zealand this summer.


And talking of challenges, Connor O'Shea is the new man in charge of


Italy. Optimism with realism is his philosophy. And we had players like


Conor Murray, the Irish scrum-half will surely be heading off with the


Lions next summer barring injury. Hours will Scottish full-back Stuart


Hogg. Before that, the men in blue and green and the men in white,


there's a Six Nations to be won. England are favourites, 13 matches


in 2016 and 13 wins under currently every Englishman's favourite


Australian, Eddie Jones. We went to Portugal to meet him.


The Six Nations was unfamiliar to you a year ago, did it surprise you,


in a way, that caught you off-guard? I remember someone saying everyone


hates England and they are right, everyone does hate England. But, you


know, in a good sense. There is such traditional rivalry between England,


Ireland, Scotland, Wales. And then you've got the two European


countries. Italy and France. Which provide a different challenge. But I


thought the rugby in the first couple of rounds was pretty


ordinary. It improved towards the last three rounds. One of our major


goals is to hit the Road running this year. To play really well in


the first game. With the injuries England have got, perversely, as a


coach, does that give you the opportunity to learn more about your


skills in adapting, so you can keep England moving forward in the right


direction? We are missing two of our biggest ball-carriers, one of our


highest were great players. We've got to put together now, a pack that


won't have those stand-up ball-carriers. We need to do players


to do a bit more. Our ability to get those art of players is crucial. Had


you got anything wrong in the last 12 months that you would admit to?


-- get those out of place. Selection wrong, if you play as well. In every


test you waste on a player is vital. When you go to the World Cup in


2019, everyone knows you need as many experienced players as you can,


every cap counts. That's why you need somewhere between 600 at 800


caps. When I play players in tests that won't make the World Cup, I


feel like I've made a mistake. It is England's grand slam. We've


set the bar high in your first year in charge. How on earth do you


follow that? -- you set. It's nice to be unbeaten but we didn't play


well in that many games. We got some victories, particularly in Australia


but we didn't play well. For me, obviously, we'd like to go through


undefeated this season but I would want us to play somebody go rugby.


It starts with France in the first game of the Six Nations. What about


developing leaders in this team as a target? For this next 12 months?


Well, to get better, there's a couple of things we want to do. One


is to increase the depth of the squad, generally. Two, improve the


fundamental skills of the players, so that... I think the game is


becoming so chaotic, but your ability to adapt is so important.


Therefore, the ability to be skilful is so important. Also, a line with


that. Because the game is becoming more chaotic, you need to have a


greater number of leaders in your team. You go back to the 2003


England team. They had eight or nine guys that you knew, every time they


played a game of rugby, they were going to give everything they had.


They were going to make sure people around them gave everything they


had. They were strong leaders. We don't have that now. Which is not a


criticism of our squad. But it's a place we need to go. What do you see


in Dylan Hartley as a leader that some people might not?


What I like about Dylan is that he is prepared to tell people what to


do. If the team is not doing what we require of them, he's quite happy to


take a team meeting and tell the players. It doesn't matter whether


they are all the players or much younger players he tells them.


That's quite a unique ability -- they are older players or younger


players. Do you feel a bit English, now? After a year in charge? I


certainly love the team. I really love the players. I love working


with them. I'll always be in Australian. But I love coaching


England. What's the best bits that drives you to get up at 6am every


morning, as I know you do? We have a chance to do something to do


something different here. We have the chance to be one of the greatest


England sides, play a different brand of rugby that hasn't been seen


before. Particularly, New Zealand have been dominant for the last


five, six, eight years. Everyone's tried to copy the way they've played


but we want to play our own style of rugby to show you cant beat New


Zealand. -- you can beat New Zealand. Only eight coaches have won


the Rugby World Cup. How much are you consumed by joining that list?


You would love to do it. As a player, you want to win the biggest


trophy. As a coach you want to win the biggest trophy. But the


consequence of coaching well. And putting a good team together. If we


keep developing and keep improving, keep improving the leadership


density of our team, we will be in a position to win the World Cup.


Eddie Jones. That was recorded. Dummett before the curious incident


of the eye in the bathroom. Is this proof positive of the influence


coach can have on players? Coaches are integral to the success of a


team. Each have their own individual and unique style. Sir Clive Woodward


was very much a manager in the style of Rod Macqueen who was there for


Australia, very much business management attitude and looked


towards it, strategic and tactical command he got the good coaches in


to implement his ideas and thoughts on the training paddock and it


worked and was successful. You can use facts and figures to prove


anything, if we look at the percentage records of the coaches


involved in the Six Nations over the course of the next weeks it is


surprising that Joe Schmidt's win record is only 67%. That is two


thirds. You played under so many great coaches and perhaps one or two


you may have reservations about. What are the things you think to


find a good coach? The elements come from being the right coach at the


right time with the right team and sometimes happens too early and


sometimes to light. I had Brian Ashton as a technical coach and


skills coach who was incredible but came at a time when it didn't seem


to fit the bill for Ireland and we had Warren Gatland in 98, the right


guy at the right time to do the job Ireland needed, consistency of


selection. The right coach is the guy who understands what he needs


for that team at that time. What Eddie Jones has done is given the


English team a sense of confidence and belief in themselves to go out


and win. He has a lot of structure as well but he has made them feel


bigger than they were because they were downbeat before coming into


last year's Six Nations. Warren Gatland will be joining us in a few


moments to talk about the Lions and his affiliation to Wales which I'm


sure he hasn't put on the back burner for the next couple of weeks.


What is your take on the pluses and minuses of the people you worked


under? Similar to what has been said already but I wanted to improve, I


was selfish as a player and wanted to coach to make me better, loan a


new skill or improve a skill is what I thought a coach should do. You


will hear it said often a good coach needs good players which I think is


coach, true but any coach should make a player that and it is about


development. -- learn a new skill. A guy called Rob Moffat, who was my


schoolteacher as well as professional coach at Edinburgh,


educating and improvement was key for me. In many ways it's the polar


opposite to Joe Schmidt but in a lot of ways very similar, he seems so


clear in what he believes and what he is saying. That is what I found


when I started working under Joe Schmidt, we got absolute clarity on


what was expected of us on the field. When you have that you are


able to make a really good decisions and can make up physicality. I see


similarities between the approaches. Can you give us an insight into the


minutiae of detail that the best coaches going to and hand over to


you which then improves your performance on the field? One thing


we had with Ireland was we had a very narrow field we were expected


to be good at. A lot of coaches wanted to you to be a jack of all


trades, Joe Schmidt narrows it down and wants players to be world-class


with a very small field of skills which allows you to chase down those


small set of skills every week instead of chasing down a big wide


range of skills. That was a big thing for me towards the end of my


career and made a Matip. Mac massive difference. Stopped practising drop


kicking and that kind of thing? Exactly. How good could England be?


I go along the lines of what Eddie said, they haven't reached their


full potential and are not playing their best games but have huge


confidence, 14 wins in a row, big statement. To start off at home


against France is comfortable for them in the arena and surroundings


they are used to. The players that have grown the most that are very


influential, Owen Farrell. Increment elite I think over a season he has


just got better and better. He knocks over those penalties really


in his stride. He is really comfortable. England are good. Given


that a few players are missing and Eddie Jones alluded to that,


nonetheless, the strength in depth of the English Premiership is such


that you almost don't notice some of those players are missing. A big


part of England's strength is their 23, not just their starting 15. Even


with all of the injuries they have had they can dig deep, as you said,


going into the resources and bringing in these players. I look at


the bench, George is still there, Sinckler, Haskell, Danny Care, it is


power and pace and that's the big difference. If you have lots about


in your site you will have a big impact. Talking about injuries, one


of the big red hot issues in rugby at the moment is the incidence of


head injuries and concussions that affect the game, not just on the


international arena but in the club game as well. This is the first Six


Nations under a new directive from the world rugby organisation about


high tackles and what sanctions will be imposed in the event of foul


play. It is not as straightforward as it might seem so we sent Jerry to


talk to Wayne Barnes, one of the most influential figures in rugby,


to talk about what has changed and what has not.


Thank you for coming in today, Wayne. Has been so much chat the


tackle guidelines. Let's get one thing straight from the beginning,


the laws have not changed, have they? It is just the sanctions. Spot


on, nothing has changed from a refereeing perspective, the high


tackle, which was a high tackle going this weekend into the first


and opening game, will have been a high tackle a year ago and a high


tackle ten years ago. The only thing that has changed is the sanction. If


you get sent off or cited rather than getting a two-week ban you


might get a three or four week ban, so the analogy would be the driving


speed limit is still 30 mph, the same, but if you get caught you get


five or six points rather than three. We have some clips here,


let's just have a look through what we have got. We look at this clip, a


player played in the air, Heilan is extremely dangerously and this is a


red card. It's always going to be a red card. He knows what he has done


wrong straightaway, doesn't he? Yes. We want to protect players and make


sure players' heads are protected and this is a way of doing it.


Something else to have a look at, we see players being cleaned out, but


what we are saying is don't go and lead with the shoulder to play on


the floor, so not only in the air but on the floor as well. Is that an


immediate red? That is between a yellow and a red because of weather


contact is, on the body. And if it was on the head? Easily a red card.


Let's look at these tackles, director the head, with force at


speed, that is a red card if you see that during the Six Nations -- where


the contact is. He will get a long ban if he is sent off or cited for


that. Back to the red cards, not as much force on that one, shoulder up


into the head, but we are still talking of a card on this because


the aim is to get the tackles slightly lower. He's already started


high, probably recklessly high to start because he is not tackling low


so that would be a yellow card most days. There is a judgment for you


guys, the difference between accidental and reckless. Yes, when


you get stepped and put out an arm. It is a reflex. If you tickle


someone over the face, or the one over the shoulder, I've heard it


called the seat belt tackle, you get over the top but your arm makes


contact with the head, those are the ones we have to use common sense as


referees and understand some players are trying to make a legitimate


tackle but get it slightly wrong. We discussed that one as a group last


Thursday and we thought that one looked like a penalty. And a similar


one here, South Africa- England game, again, slips up, hits the


shoulder and Brown carries on running, doesn't he? There is that


grey area between the penalty and the yellow. Sometimes between a


yellow and a red. If we have any doubt we will give the benefit to


the player. If we are thinking this might be a red card we are thinking


this might be a red card we're not going to make what is a massive


decision unless we are certain. Wynter players come together we get


head on head clashing, this isn't foul play, this isn't going to be


carded, this isn't going to be penalise. That is just an


unfortunate incident in the game -- when two players. That is still part


of the game, there is still room for the massive legal tangle. That is


why people watch the game, that is not what this is about, it is about


the illegal tackles and direct tackles to the head. We want to see


12 is being tackled. Taking an overview of what we have talked


about? In the past tackles were perhaps aim here and we want to make


them consider coming down a little bit and then run the risk of it


slipping high or hitting high. If they do and looking at those things,


is it foul play? If it is, force and speed and direct to the head. You


will hear those words when discussing it between our team and


hopefully you will understand where our decisions have come from. Thank


you. You were one of the people involved in changing or at least


making this directive. What was the main motivation behind


it? Play at safety or the image of the game? Player safety, one of the


things is the majority of concussions happen in the tackle,


happening to the tackle and most importantly they happen with the


tackle high bringing the tackle at down. If you look at the last


collision between Bastareaud and Sexton, if his tackle was two feet


lower there is no head collision. If Bastareaud is a foot or two lower


that accidental head collision doesn't happen and that is where a


lot of the concussions come from, shoulder to head and head to head.


That is the point of the directive, not to protect the ball carrier as


such, to protect the tackle. That is one of the few issues I have that


instance of a player standing up into the tackle and hitting with his


head and Wayne Barnes said that is just an unfortunate collision but


until such point that that collision level comes down, which is this


directive is trying to lead to, the margin for error on some of those


tackles and some of those sanctions are only an inch or two inches, so


you can hit across the chest with a proper tackle, if a guy dips or


ducks into that accidentally or not accidentally, it can lead to a


higher sanction. The query is as to whether that level has to come lower


still. That is one of them. This is a step towards it. But the nasty


element of this is there are two or three concussions, concussive


incidents, happening every game. That cannot continue so hopefully


this goes some way towards that but it may need to go further in time.


The increased sanction is a warning and the coaches cannot ignore it.


They must coach the players to tackle Lola, they cannot take the


risk. The weight Wayne Barnes described that and summarised the


tackles was excellent. The last one, Buster and Sexton, was maybe country


-- contradictory because he could have gone lower. If you train lower


it will not be an issue. That was a complete accident, this game is


physical. You shouldn't shirk away from confrontation. If Bastareaud or


any player wants to stand tall they should be allowed. One or two people


this week have said the game is going soft, you expect this kind of


comment, it is a physical and confrontational game and this is


making it less so. How could you counter that? It has not gone soft


at all and Bastareaud, if he is two feet lower it is a bigger hit.


Tackle technique, good, accurate, low hard tackles will always give


you that. You spend time with Wayne Barnes. If they implement this to


the law we could have an awful lot of yellow cards which might have a


major impact on the number of points scored in the game in the wake that


matches pan out as a consequence and coaches will be very aware of that.


As Chris has said the coaches have to coach, the way that it should be


tackled by the guidelines, and if anybody steps out, or we want from


the referees is consistency. We don't want one decision is a penalty


and one decision is a yellow for a similar incident. It has to be


consistent. We will see how that pans out during the course of the


championship which we love so much because of the domestic rivalries.


But it is a global event and I'm sure many thousands of people will


stay up into the early hours of Sunday morning to watch this match.


Here is a question, who is the greatest All Black of all-time?


Possibly, probably Richie McCaw and his life story reads like something


from a film script. Twice a World Cup winner, twice a World Cup


captain, and actually as a consequence of that, they have made


a film about it. It's called Chasing Great and chronicles the year up to


the All Blacks winning the World Cup here two years ago.


So Richie McCaw, movie star, you must be thrilled with it, it is a


fantastic watch. All of the feedback has been pretty positive. To give an


insight into what you felt and how you saw things, it wasn't that easy


because it wasn't natural. But I'm really happy I did. When those


moments came, the last time you would play test rugby, it did look


like you were able to just take all that in and absorb the appreciation.


If there is one thing I look back on, it was always going on to the


next thing, you didn't stop and appreciate what the team had done,


or what you had done. I knew the last year I wanted to enjoy it but


also not crawl to the end, I wanted to be there so I was playing like I


had when I was younger. Who do you look at now in world rugby? The


players you enjoyed playing against. You look at it differently when you


are not going to compete against them. I appreciate more what they


do. I know I had some good battles against Sean O'Brien but probably


didn't sit and appreciate what a good player he is, I thought I would


have a tough match playing him next, you sit and appreciate that rather


than thinking how can I stop that guy? It is a different way of


looking at it. Six Nations is upon us and England went the whole of


last year as an unbeaten test side and go into this tournament as the


team to beat. It is quite intriguing. I feel there is very


little between the teams. Even the All Blacks were beaten and the


Australians. It has added spice to the whole thing. You could say


England are the favourites but there are some tough matches when you look


at the Irish and the French, I thought they were quite impressive


in the game against the All Blacks. It won't take much to swing around


again. What do you make of the comments Eddie Jones has come out


with that there aren't enough world-class players in the Six


Nations? I think he's using that as a bit of motivation. He talked about


consistency is what he was meaning to be a top-class player and team


you've got to do it every week. That is obviously what he's aiming for.


Not just happy with what happened last year, that they go and do it


again. There are players who for a British and Irish Lions tour is a


big thing, do they get stoked up about the idea of the Lions coming


down at the All Blacks? Absolutely, it is huge. You get one chance at it


in your career. It is every 12 years for you guys. Yes and the guys are


pretty excited by it. They realise you get one chance and if you blow


it you might not get another go. Nobody more interested in what would


you call was saying more than Warren Gatland. Even when you hear him


talking like that, even you, a seasoned campaigner, as you are, do


you immediately get the sense of excitement in your bones?


Absolutely. I think New Zealand are really excited about the Lions'


tool. It's been 12 years. There's a real sense of anticipation about


potentially what could happen. Particularly after the way the


northern hemisphere teams performed in the autumn. Created more


anticipation. Is it fair to say taking a Lions team to New Zealand


is the biggest challenge any coach can face? It is a huge challenge. It


wasn't until I left New Zealand but I realised and understood what a


difficult country it is to go and tour and play and perform and to


win. It is a huge challenge. Hopefully some of that insight,


knowledge, that those experiences might potentially make that


difference. In your mind, how many of the touring party had you, kind


of, got inked in already? At the moment, there's quite a few.


Look at the performances, particularly Ireland beating the All


Blacks in Chicago. The performances in the autumn. There's probably a


number of players pencilled in at the moment but today's resolve could


turn it upside down. If Scotland win today, France beat England, Wales


lose tomorrow, it's going to create a huge headache for me. On form at


the moment, I would pick a squad of 37, 38, you could probably pencil in


15-20 years on their performances. But results, like I said, individual


performances in the Six Nations will count. How many names are pencilled


into the possible captains' list? A huge amount. No doubt. As Paul


understands. About the captain and the pressures. The thing about the


captain, I will pick the squad first and then I will choose the captain.


The captain will be well aware it is a great honour to be selected in the


Lions but no guarantees. If someone is in your position and playing


better than you, potentially somebody else will play in the tests


and captain the test side. In 2013, we were lucky enough to go to Hong


Kong for a week. We trained hard, but we had a few nights out as well.


There won't be a lot of time for that in New Zealand. How will you


manage... You will have the assistance, players, defence,


attack, line-out. How will you become a team that is really ready


to play for each other, the Test series? It is going to be tough.


Paul, that's the biggest challenge we got at the moment. In terms of


the schedules of the games, I think they're great. 2009, 2013, we won


some games by 60, 70 points, but that is note preparation for the


Test match. In Super Rugby, that is fantastic preparation in terms of


how tough it is. But the first time we assembled on a Sunday after the


Pro12 and the Premiership final, we fly on the Monday at a rival New


Zealand on Wednesday. The first game is on a Saturday. How do you


manufacture that? The best thing for a touring party is to have a couple


of beers together, enjoy yourself. The first night after the game, we


will look to try and... We've got some days off without being stupid.


But we got to try and bond as quickly as we can. Everybody loves a


good conspiracy theory. There is a lot of people who think that you had


influence on Rob Howley in Alun Wyn Jones becoming the Welsh captain


because you see him as your captain in the summer. What would you like


to say to that? That is an absolute conspiracy theory. What I've tried


to do is to make sure that Rob's had autonomy in that role. We talk on a


regular basis but I purposely made sure I'd stayed away from that. He


makes all the calls, the decisions. He spoke to me about Alun Wyn Jones


doing the job and I said it's your call, you've got to... You're in


charge of the team, you've got to run the team. Me trying to step


away, I'm trying to... It's difficult. I'm passionate about


Wales and him doing well but having some neutrality with people thinking


about the selection being fair, unbiased. Everybody has a fair and


equal chance. It will be hard for you to be neutral in Cardiff next


weekend. Will you be screaming "Offside". Well you say "Miss it" if


Owen Farrell has one open in front of the posts? Not at all. My heart


is with Wales. When I was coaching Ireland I was desperate for them to


do well. When I coach the Wasps it was the same, you want them to do


well. And the same with Wales. Of course you want the Welsh team to do


well. Like I just said. My whole focus is on the Lions. Going to New


Zealand and hopefully winning the Test series. This refers to what


Eddie Jones that in the interview earlier on, how he thinks that


England's are going to beat New Zealand if they play in a more


expansive and entertaining fashion and perhaps we normally associate


with them, the pragmatic northern hemisphere approach. We may see one


or two games over the first round of the Six Nations that people are not


exactly adventurous because there is so much at stake in the early stage


of the competition. For the Lions to win in New Zealand this summer, do


you have to be expensive, adventurous, dynamic? I think you


do. The weather conditions in the Six Nations tends to play a bit of a


part in that in terms of the opening rounds. By the end of March, we see


better weather conditions. The point of difference that New Zealand have


is their type five, they think they have a type five that can all catch,


pass, play, play expansively. We need to match them. Look at the


potential of the tight five, players who are great ball-carriers,


dynamic, athletic. I'm really excited about the squad compared to


2013, the amount of choices you've got. When I try to pick squads I'm


scratching my head. There are some real quality players


and will miss out on the squad. It's a great position to be in but they


will be some tough selection. Happy watching over the next few weeks,


great to see you, thank you. Warren Gatland the Lions coach. An


undercurrent to who will lead won't go on the Lions tour throughout this


Six Nations championship. From a coach who is a very seasoned in his


experience in the international arena who one who is cutting his


teeth at the moment, O'Shea in the -- the new man in charge. This will


be his first Six Nations in charge at the helm in Rome.


Life is about changing. Freshening yourself up and experiencing things.


Personally and professionally over the next couple of years, we can


contribute to the start of a renaissance in Italian rugby.


That is the first time we've ever beat in a southern hemisphere side.


To do it gives the younger generation something to aspire to.


It gives some great, great players a memory of a lifetime.


Thank you. We are realistic as well. We know, we are in Rome, it wasn't


built in a day, we are realistic about the challenge that we have


that was pretty special day. We will have some great days, we


will have some tough days, but we're going to get better and better. I


split this job into short, medium and long-term and short-term, to


become competitive, medium-term, be at the next World Cup as a team that


no one wants to play and long-term, hopefully change the system


structure for the better. It is not easy to change everything in second


but Conor and the team and I know that little by little, the team


wants to change. The change starts from us, the national team. We know


that every time we go out and have a good result, it's a really, really


good thing for all of the movement in Italy. Winning is a relevant.


Winning will happen -- winning is irrelevant. Our performance is


everything. That is what we will focus on. I am looking at the first


game thinking that if we go 1-80 and we are still playing, tackling,


chasing, still playing ball in hand after 80 minutes, the result will be


the result. I will get judged, players deliver that, you win. I


think he's a very positive person, he is motivated and excited. Every


time we meet together in camp and even in November, it was a good


three weeks together. It is important to have the player with a


good mentality and positive. We want to focus on doing two or three


things brilliantly and not do ten things averagely. When we have done


two or three things, we will do four and five and then one we've done


that, six and seven. It is an Italian mentality, physical,


passionate, don't be afraid to be that and proud to be that. You can


control your mind. You can control your mindset. You can control what


you're willing to do. I've seen a group of fellows here who need


confidence, they need to be supported. It's very difficult. If I


keep on saying to you, I've said this only time, your bad at your


job, your bad at your job, your bad at your job, I don't know -- don't


like what you did at long last week, it will eat you. When you're on the


pitch, how can you have confidence? A heroic performance by the whole


Italian side. France have squeaked their way to a win. Brendan came


over knowing it was a challenge. Catty has come down, knowing it's a


challenge. Anybody who can get them kicking at international level, it's


about them understanding what to do, how to do it. And get the feel for


the game. Unfortunately, it's down to experience as well and they've


need experience. We've worked heavily on building a relationship


with the players and making them better people. What I've seen over


the past six months, they are willing to change and put the hard


graft in. Whether you will win trophies or not is another question


but it will be a very competitive side, believe me. I played on a team


in the 90s that could have been relegated a few times. I keep on


coming back to it, we will play by the rules, the wheels will be there


for a long time, they will not change in the short-term. -- the


rules. This cannot be a country that rugby would go backwards in, it


would be the biggest disservice to the game. We need to make sure that


Italy becomes a strong rugby nation again at a competitive one. It would


be easy me to, the hearsay, I could name 20-24 of the World Cup squad


that could go to Japan in 2019 and have a lovely time, focus on that


and move on. But there is so much passion and desire to change. We


can't do it quickly because we don't have unlimited resources, we need to


box clever and make peace after peace. At the structures in place to


build to where we want. It's a fascinating challenge -- put in the


structures in place. Hopefully you leave something behind, not just


some wallpaper and a nice win against South Africa, you want some


structure behind it as well and hopefully I can do that as well.


STUDIO: What a fascinating interview with Conor O'Shea. Great for TV as


well. You know him very well, what do you think about the challenge he


is facing and his credibility of confronting it? I think he loves the


challenge. He would have watched Quins, long before he went there, as


director of rugby. He would have seen all the work going at age grade


and academy level, the exact same thing happened in Italy. He watched


all the money in Italian rugby that has been pumped into the youth


teams, under 20 teams, Academy teams in the years passed. Some of the


reasons that Italy are struggling at the moment is that they took their


eye off the ball for the professional structures. They are


having difficulty with that. He saw where the work was done and he would


have seen the players and he would say, I will have a go at this. He


was very expansive as a player but unbelievably pragmatic as a leader,


director. His managerial admin, organisation, incredibly focused. He


is incredibly ambitious. One of the things I would say, there's just no


way in the world he would go there without thinking that he could make


a success of it. I think it will deliver something good out of it.


His hands are very tight. We will see what he can deliver tomorrow


when Italy play Wales in Rome and extensive highlights on that on


rugby special tomorrow tea-time on BBC Two. What about now?


John Inverdale looks ahead to the 2017 Six Nations Championship. Defending champions England will be aiming to record back-to-back grand slams for the first time in 25 years - and the first time since the competition was enlarged to six teams in 2000.