Continuing the review of the final day of the 6 Nations tournament, with the key moments in the Ireland and England games.
The Welsh result at least confirmed to the Irish that a win was paramount in their tussle with the Scots away from home and a sizeable one to boot, if the points' difference was to be overturned. They also adopted the attacking mentality that the Welsh had shown the blueprint for in their game, looking to score whenever they could and rack up the points. They achieved the essential ingredient of the victory at least, as their tide of attacking intention brought them a 40-10 success, which piled the pressure on to the English. It also meant that they had at least finished above the Welsh with the extra 30 points on their 'plus' side in the table. There was another vital decision near the end of the game, when the Scots thought that they had scored a try through Stuart Hogg, only for the replays to rule it out for a knock on. Would the points' difference be enough for Ireland to prevent England from surpassing it in their heavyweight battle with the old foes, the French though? It seemed a tall order to win by 26 points, given that the French seemed by far the most difficult of the opponents that the main contenders had to face on the final day.
The England game started at a frenetic pace, as the home side seemed to want to attack at every opportunity and perhaps forgot that they had 80 minutes not 40 to play. Sometimes that paid off as they scored the first try in the early minutes, but it also brought with it several mistakes, which the fleet of foot French were eager to capitalise on and bagged two tries as a result. So a topsy-turvy game developed as England for much of the first-half could not even be sure of beating their rivals, never mind accumulating enough points to take the title. With half-time beckoning they seemed to surge into another gear and the dream seemed possible again, as an unthinkable 15-7 deficit became a 27-15 lead at the break as Anthony Watson and Ben Youngs went over for tries.
The second-half continued to be action-packed as the game ebbed and flowed, each side scoring tries then conceding themselves, the equation for England a constantly changing one. Youngs and Jack Nowell ended up with two tries apiece in a total of seven for the home side, but the French were equally as entertaining with five of their own. Time ran out for the English as they found their highly entertaining 55-35 success leave them just one (agonising) converted try short of the title.
With so many crucial moments occurring across all three games, it would be petty to pick on any single one as being definitive. Instead it is better to just bask in the wonderful #Rugby that was on show and look forward to the World Cup, which will hopefully prove to be just as entertaining.