Vainikolo hasn't lived up to the hype

Before the start of this year's tournament many of the leading rugby pundits ear marked Lesley 'the Volcano' Vainikolo as the player to watch in this year's Six Nations.

The Tongan born winger scored 149 tries in 152 appearances for Wigan and famously dotted down five times on his Gloucester debut. Justifiably there was a lot of hype and excitement surrounding Vainikolo's selection in the England squad, with articles along the lines of 'The Volcano's is ready to erupt' filling up the Sports pages.

Unfortunately the excitement and hype have so far been unjustified. Vainikolo seems like a nice guy and hopefully he won't turn out to be the scapegoat of the Twickenham prawn sandwich brigade. Let there be no doubt, the current England team is poor.

But Vainikolo's displays up to now have been poor. He has looked hesitant in attack and dodgy in defence. Maybe if England hadn't self destructed against Wales his transition into the fifteen man game at international level might have been a bit easier.

While he is a proven finisher and has been starved of scoring opportunities, Vainikolo doesn't seem to have the counter-attacking nous of last year's outstanding player David Strettle. Strettle was top class in the game against Ireland at Croke Park last year, showing that a talented winger can play well even when the rest of the team's on the back foot.

In contrast to the hulking frame of Vainkolo, this year's stand out player in the Six Nations has been pint sized Wales winger Shane Williams. His billy whizz style running and unpredictable line breaks have lit up a tournament that, for all it's history and prestige, has so far been as dull as dish water.

Vainikolo still has one more game to prove himself in this year's championship and the selection of Cipriani at 10 could see England actually pass the ball across backline, giving the Gloucester winger a chance to finally prove his doubters wrong.

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