After a quite staggering and exhilarating day of #Rugby union action, with a massive 221 points scored across three breathless international contests, it was Ireland who emerged triumphant by a hair’s breadth in the final analysis by just 6 points. England took second, with Wales just behind them in third, a mere 4 points behind the English. With Ireland, England and Wales all claiming four victories and suffering defeat just the once, their records were almost identical and in the build up to the World Cup it could be said that they could all beat each other on any given day. It bodes well for both the future of the 6 Nations tournament, with all three teams showing that they are capable of producing such a brand of attacking fifteen-man rugby, but also more imminently for their chances of claiming the Rugby World Cup in the autumn.
With all three of the final round of fixtures being played on the one day, one after the other, the tension and excitement built with each passing game. With three teams in with a (realistic) chance of taking the title - discounting France’s slim chance, should the three teams above them all lose – it became a battle to see which one of them could gain the best points’ difference, rather than simply looking to win their respective matches.
Wales were first up, taking on a tired looking Italian side who did not do themselves justice on the day. That takes nothing away from the way in which the Welsh dismantled them, especially after the interval, but the apparent ease with which the Italians were vanquished 61-20 did not reflect well on their growth as a competitive rugby nation. This was nowhere near the level that they displayed so heroically against the Scots, avoiding the wooden spoon as a result of winning at Murrayfield. They did however (crucially) score a late try through Leonardo Sarto and the resultant seven points that the Welsh coughed up, made the equation for the sides to come slightly easier. George North showed that he is over his concussion issues earlier in the tournament, with a fine hat-trick of tries.
Part two, featuring Ireland and England's games will follow.