Six Nations Finale
What a contest the Six Nations Rugby has given us today. I’ve just got my breath back after England’s extraordinary game against France. England won 55-35, a remarkable scoreline at this level, but just not quite enough to win the title.
Going into today’s final round of three games, Wales, Ireland and England were all level on six points, having won three games each. England were on top on points difference but Wales and Ireland had easier opponents, in Italy and Scotland respectively.
The day started with Wales demolishing Italy by 61-20 to give both Ireland and England a lot to do to catch up. Ireland responded by thrashing Scotland 40-10 which put them top with an even bigger points difference. To win the title England had to beat France by 26 points or more.
It was a tall order and, I thought, a shame that the competition was going to be decided by the scale of the whipping delivered to the weakest teams, rather than a head-to-head between the top ones. Of course the fixture list was compiled months ago before anybody knew the results of the earlier games, but it turned out that the script for this particular drama had been written perfectly!
England gave it everything in their match again France. The game contained great rugby, lots of errors, and breathless end-to-end excitement. They might have done it on another day but that last converted try just eluded them.
So congratulations to Ireland, who actually beat England earlier and are worthy champions. The lesson for England is clear from the table: they’re scoring enough points but need to concede fewer if they are to be serious contenders for the World Cup which takes place in the Autumn.
The last day of the Six Nations comes this year immediately after the Vernal Equinox, which happened last night at 22:45 GMT, both sporting and astronomical calendars telling us that spring is here. I hope England’s cricketers put up as much of a fight against the Aussies this summer!Follow @telescoper