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Tag: Six Nations

Weak Six Nations

Three games in and this is looking to be one of the worse Six Nations competitions of recent years. Wales’ table position is rather flattering, and with France and Ireland yet to play the big games are still ahead for them. And once again Scotland will be vying for the wooden spoon with Italy. But all is not lost. England’s performances have provoked some of the finest examples of impartial commentating from the BBC, including this ‘special’ moment from Brian Moore.

France Crowned Again on Six Nations Super Saturday—Probably!

Ireland denied once again on points difference from their first Six Nations championship, and on St Patrick’s Day to boot, as France took the challenge set by Ireland in their 8 try victory over the Azzurri. With the unlikely Italian victory out of the picture, the French set to work against Scotland in Paris, with a target of 24 points. Although England playing in Cardiff would have a mathematical chance to clinch the title, a championship victory for them would be an incredible feat. The title was France’s to lose, and Scotland’s to deny.

A dramatic start to the day in the Stadio Flaminio as Ireland looked to stretch a big point victory over Italy to put France in a difficult position later in the day. Italy started well, kicking penalties and a drop goal, and despite conceding two tries looked to be in a decent position at 12-13 until a controversial try to Ireland in the dying minutes of the half put them 12-20 ahead. The second half, however, was a one horse race, as Ireland put try after try past the Italian defence. The game opened up considerably as the scoreboard racked up a considerable points difference for Ireland, but a last minute decision to continue after the clock went red left Italy in a position to score a generously awarded second try to claw back 7 points before the final whistle. The final score of 24-51 left France needing a victory margin of 24 points to claim the trophy.

Knowing what they had to do in Paris, the Scots ignited the game with an early try to put France on the back foot. From there France fully attacked the game, looking to be half way to their tally by half time, when Sean Lamont took a quick penalty to sprint for the line and spoil French hopes. Leading 20-14 going into the second half, France got the bit between their teeth and forced a 25 point lead with over 15 minutes to go. First half hero Lamont was bizarrely sin binned for an infraction by his younger brother Rory, and all looked to be going France’s way using all the strength, speed and skill they could muster. Yet a late try from the unlikely arms of Euan Murray put the championship just beyond France’s reach. As the BBC commentator put it:

“He’s got a five yard run in, and like every good tight-head prop, he’s now got cramp!”

Patterson’s failed conversion left France needing a try to win. The clock went red, the French pushed for the line, pushing on, penalty after penalty. With the ball over the line, the referee went to the television referee asking for any reason not to award the try—and who other than an Irishman to be occupying that position! The try awarded. France triumphant. Ireland beaten on points difference for the second year running.

Although Wales will play host to England shortly, the required margin for England (victory by 57 points) to claim the championship essentially confirms France’s championship.

France Flooded, Ireland Crowned, Italy Arrive, Wales Go Back to School

Wales v Italy

Another busy weekend for the Rugby Six Nations which saw Ireland win the Triple Crown for the third time in four years after beating Scotland 19-18 in a stiffly fought match which left Ireland’s points scorer Ronan O’Gara breathless. Some tremendous tackles from the likes of Sean Lamont prevented the scoreline really opening up, and a few flare ups on the pitch illustrated the tension between the teams. A flat Irish performance kept their championship hopes alive, whilst Scotland’s comeback after such a downheartening result against Italy a fortnight ago illustrates the importance of Chris Paterson to the side (statistically the best kicker in the world at the moment).

Later in the day, Italy pulled out a well deserved 23 – 20 victory over Wales to beat their previous record in the Six Nations championship. With ten seconds left on the clock, Wales forewent a penalty to tie the game in order to push for a win by kicking to touch. Perhaps time they included some rudimentary arithmetic with the training. Disappointing for the Wales team, but an important step forward for Italy in the Six Nations championship.

And in a strange game a Twickenham, the championship was really carved open as England edged out a lacklustre France with a nervous start to a game plagued with basic errors from both sides. The result leaves France in top spot on points difference, but denies them a Grand Slam victory, and opens the championship up to four potential victors—France, Ireland, England or Italy, the first three in charge of their own championship hopes. All will be decided on St. Patrick’s Day—perhaps it will finally be Ireland’s year!

Six Nations Triple-Decker

Hell of a day for rugby fans, as all of the Six Nations sides saw action, and what action there was to behold! An historic victory in an historic venue, as Ireland romped over England 43-13 at Croke Park. Meanwhile earlier in the day, Italy celebrated their first Six Nations away win with a decisive result against Scotland at Murrayfield 17-37. Finally, France came from behind to keep their Grand Slam hopes alive with a 23-14 victory over Wales. The results leave the competition open, with plenty to play for in the final two games, France will be looking to retain the title, and Ireland will surely want to finally make their mark on the Six Nations Trophy. Today, with a total of sixteen tries across the three games, there was a true feast for the neutral spectator, and plenty for the passionate fans of three nations to celebrate besides!

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