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Jeremy Guscott Q&A

Jeremy Guscott
Former England and Lions star Guscott is a BBC rugby union pundit

Ireland ended 2009 unbeaten following a pulsating victory over world champions South Africa at Croke Park.

However, there were few positives for Wales after they were outplayed by an accomplished Australia, while Scotland failed to build on the momentum gained from their victory over the Wallabies last week, going down to an attritional defeat by Argentina.

If you have a question for BBC Sport rugby union expert Jerry, you can submit it by using the form in the top right-hand corner of the page. He will answer as many as possible early next week.

What indication do you feel the autumn series gives us for the 2010 Six Nations? I would have expected France, Ireland, Wales, England/Scotland and Italy in last place, but Sunday's results have perhaps indicated a closer call between Ireland and France. Given your consistent criticism of Ireland over your career, I presume you would put Ireland further down the order, presumably replaced by Wales and Scotland - or will you give the boys in green some modest recognition?
Aidan O'Connor, Ireland

Which of the home nations do you think has made the biggest strides forward this autumn, and which do you think have regressed?
Iain Barton, England

Aidan, I can't believe you think I have constantly criticised Ireland. I did say they would choke in Cardiff - but I'm always happy to be proved wrong.

I like to think I appreciate good rugby played by good players and there is no doubt Ireland have great players in a winning team. Their victory over South Africa will give them the belief they can retain the Six Nations title.

Wales players dejected after losing to Australia
Wales are lacking creativity in the backline

However, Ireland need to find an inside centre. I don't think playing Paddy Wallace gives the backline many options other than to run wide - and he's always getting injured.

At this present time, Ireland and France would be favourites but, with Ireland having to go to Paris, I would favour the French winning the Six Nations.

England should be fresher than most with a lot of players coming back from injury. However, they still look clueless with the ball in hand and Martin Johnson needs to find a game plan. England look desperate to me, they need Riki Flutey back from injury.

Wales are really lacking creativity - they've lost their mojo. Scotland look solid but still lack the killer punch when it comes to converting pressure into tries, but they will be competitive. Italy without Sergio Parisse are going to struggle.

If you could pick a northern hemisphere team from over the past few weeks, who would be in your starting XV?
Ben Honisett, England/France

Jeremy, now the autumn internationals have come to a close, which players do you feel were the stars of the Test matches this year?
George Wilson, UK

My northern hemisphere team would look something like this: Rob Kearney; Tommy Bowe, Brian O'Driscoll, Yannick Jauzion, Shane Williams; Jonny Wilkinson; Julien Dupuy; Ryan Jones, Martyn Williams, Stephen Ferris, Paul O'Connell, Nathan Hines, Martin Castrogiovanni, Ross Ford, Gethin Jenkins.

Could England's coaches, who seem to be in a state of denial, learn anything from the way Australia beat Wales, bearing in mind England play Wales in their opening 2010 Six Nations match?
Martin Eagland, England

Do you think this week's results put England's performances this autumn into perspective? It could be said that Argentina proved hard to beat while Australia showed their class and England did better against the All Blacks than France did?
Mike, England

Martin and Mike, England are in trouble. While the results suggest they are in a pretty good position, the way they are playing suggests otherwise.

They don't look like scoring many tries while they have leaked scores. They continue to pick and drive slow ball instead of kicking it and find it very difficult to generate quick ball.

Either Martin Johnson's coaches are not working out or his selection is wrong.

Who do you think Declan Kidney should start with in the number 10 jersey for the Six Nations?
Ronan, Ireland

Jonathan Sexton lines up a kick for Ireland
Jonathan Sexton kicked all of Ireland's points against South Africa

I was wondering what you thought about the change of Jonathan Sexton for Ronan O'Gara. Are we finally seeing the changing of the guard?
James Constant, England

James and Ronan, I think Jonathan Sexton did a great job against Fiji and South Africa and Declan Kidney will be pleased he now has a real selection decision to make at fly-half.

Sexton has developed well playing alongside his Leinster team-mates and providing he maintains his form, he can now look forward to starting at 10 for Ireland in the Six Nations.

Jeremy, would you say that Scotland are just a step away from being a decent attacking side? They made several notable line breaks against Argentina that just needed a few extra support runners in the right positions, would you agree? Would you also agree that the Aussies showed against Wales exactly how heads up rugby should be played, with Matt Giteau leading the way?
Tom, Scotland

Tom, I agree with both points. Scotland are close to getting it right, they just have to convert pressure into scores. Australia taught Wales a lesson in how to convert pressure into scores - it was great to watch.

Where do you think Wales have gone so wrong this season, and do you think that it's a sign of what's to come in the Six Nations?
Ffion, Wales

With the lack of creativity and any flair in the Welsh backline, is it time to give a Mr G Henson a ring?
Bryn Roberts-Harry, Wales

Guys, creativity and confidence are sadly lacking in Wales' performances. They seem to have forgotten how to play. They only need to look how they played against Scotland in last season's Six Nations match as a reminder of how they can play.

Fourie du Preez in action for South Africa
Du Preez has been in outstanding form for the Springboks

Do you think Richie McCaw deserved to be named IRB player of the year based on this season and the achievements of other players in the shortlist?
Cormac Long, Ireland

Cormac, for me, South Africa scrum-half Fourie Du Preez has been the player of the season.

His performances in the Tri-Nations were brilliant and he was the controller in the Tests against the Lions.

Does Friday night's fiasco at Sale mean that any team can turn up to any venue, complain about the pitch and refuse to play? This could be the case if the team has a couple of top players out and would like to wait until they are fit. Should the referee/fourth official make the final decision? I felt particularly sorry for the Wasps fans who had journeyed from London.
Paul Towey, GB

Paul, I'm at a loss to understand that the referee said it was playable yet the game didn't go ahead. I've not seen a full explanation as yet.

There should be rules put in place that say the referee's decision is final unless both coaches are in agreement that it's too dangerous to play.

In my view, Wasps should forfeit the game and the points. I doubt this will happen because it will get all legal.

Jerry, as a former Bath man can you shed some light on the sudden decline in form this season after the highs of the previous two? Surely Alex Crockett and Michael Lipman weren't that vital? Or is it the new laws as Lee Mears suggests?
Luke, England

Luke, I don't think Bath's performances can be blamed on the new laws. For me, their performance can be pinpointed to the lack of consistency at fly-half.

Ryan Davis is currently not up to this level of rugby - Nicky Little needs to be given the reins. Scrum-half Michael Claassens needs to find his form of last season.

Bath have struggled since the ban of Matt Stevens. The rest of the forwards need a big kick up their behinds to get them going or coach Steve Meehan needs to start dropping players.

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see also
Ireland 15-10 South Africa
28 Nov 09 |  Irish
Scotland 6-9 Argentina
28 Nov 09 |  Scottish
France 12-39 New Zealand
28 Nov 09 |  Rugby Union
Wales 12-33 Australia
28 Nov 09 |  Welsh
Jeremy Guscott Q&A
23 Nov 09 |  Rugby Union
Wasps in clear over abandoned tie
07 Dec 09 |  English
New laws 'affecting Bath's style'
25 Nov 09 |  Bath
Rugby union on the BBC
05 Feb 09 |  Rugby Union

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