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Full Contact/Six Nations documentary (Netflix)

A colleague on the Rust asked me if I had seen this documentary.

As I had not, I watched it on Wednesday night and was disappointed.

I am no fan of “fly-on-the-wall” documentaries. Vast amounts of money are expended in return for granting access to “where-the-fan-cannot-go” – namely, the changing rooms, training camps and travelling coach of each Six Nation squad – but I am never sure if it’s the team, rugby association or individual who financially benefits – or indeed who benefits at all.

The technique is to film a lot of material and then ruthlessly edit it.

The first episode featured England and Scotland and focused upon their respective fly halves Finn Russell and Marcus Smith.

Finn Russell on his day is a wonderful fly half but ‘up himself’. Marcus Smith is more grounded.

For future episodes one interviewee is Ellis Genge, whose theme was that of being an outsider in the group as he grew up in a rough area of Bristol.

For Ireland the subject was Andrew Porter.

He had mental issues after his mother died of cancer. Such a hard man as a prop on the pitch – but so fragile psychologically.

Italy’s man was the flanker Ben Negra who was born in Zimbabwe. He is one of the few Italians who would get into any other Six Nations team.

Louis Rees-Zammit – the poster boy of Welsh rugby now shortly off on the NFL pathway – was interviewed for Wales.

Gael Fichou, the most articulate of all, spoke for France.

Some of the coaches – notably Kieran Crowley of Italy – were foul-mouthed with liberal use of the F word.

Another was the French defence coach Shaun Edwards who had a terrible French accent.

(He reminded me of Steve MacLaren with his attempts at Dutch).

The better coaches – like Gregor Townsend, Warren Gatland and Andy Farrell – were more restrained in their language.

One does wonder how much their speeches were affected by the camera being there

Whilst I could watch Scotland beating England indefinitely, there was nothing new in the coverage of the 2023 Six Nations.

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About Sandra McDonnell

As an Englishwoman married to a Scot, Sandra experiences some tension at home during Six Nations tournaments. Her enthusiasm for rugby was acquired through early visits to Fylde club matches with her father and her proud boast is that she has missed only two England home games at Twickenham since 1995. Sandra has three grown-up children, none of whom follow rugby. More Posts