Rugby Six Nations Wrap-Up: Congrats France & Viva Italia!
The ol’ classic rugby competition of the top 6 nations of the northern hemisphere came to a close on the weekend. ‘Super Saturday’ contained all 3 matches and the finale did not disappoint. I covered some of this tournament in an earlier post so this complements that and brings it to a finish…
So what happened in these 3 games and what was the outcome?
Wales v Italy
Well well well, what have we here. Last year’s winner Wales did not have a great campaign this year and this is the icing on the cake. As for Italy, unfortunately they rarely win since they were added as the 6th nation in the tournament back in 2000. In fact, not since 2015 and 36 games, but surely their day must come soon.
And Saturday was that day. A great performance and they kept themselves in the game throughout, nudging a lead at half-time. It did look like Wales would come back and snatch it from them as the Italians tired. But no, they had the final say - ran in for a try in the final minutes and scored the conversion to win with the last kick of the game.
There’s been a lot said about Italy and whether they should be in the tournament at all. Should they be removed, should there be relegation/promotion to the tournament, and even talk of South Africa taking their place (although I believe that has been quashed for now).
This has shown that yes, they can compete and potentially win games. Yes, it’s only one win but it is a significant moment and they are very strong in the under 20s game, meaning their future is bright.
Score: Wales 21 - 22 Italy
Ireland v Scotland
Ireland went into this as favourites. The stronger side by a margin but you never know with these kinds of matches. Other than Scotland’s opening match (they beat some team in a white shirt) they haven’t offered much.
And no real surprises here as Ireland were on for the Triple Crown (beating the other 3 home nations - England, Wales, Scotland) and would take some stopping. And indeed they proved too strong, running in 4 tries, 3 of which converted by the ever dependable Johnny Sexton. Just the one unconverted try from the Scottish getting them on the scoreboard but never in the hunt.
So a victory and the Triple Crown for the Irish!
Score: Ireland 26 - 5 Scotland
France v England
This was always going to be a toughie for the English, especially going to France and playing in the night game. Quite a spectacle in the Stade de France stadium and the stage was set. But that could also work against France - expectations and hopes were high, could that even be a hindrance in such an atmosphere?
The outshot was a great game. There was a real sense of occasion that I got just from watching on TV, it would have been great to have been there to soak up the full flavour. England, to be fair, perhaps put out their best performance overall. They looked good in parts but never quite good enough.
The French were just that class apart. There were moments where you thought it could be England’s day, but France overall just kept out in front and showed their quality. Not just in spurts but over the course of the game and whole tournament, adding that consistency to their famous flair.
Of course, Ireland were hoping for an English victory as they could still win the tournament, but it wasn’t to be for either as they were just that little bit short of the fantastic French this year.
So France win the tournament and Grand Slam (ie. winning all 5 matches) and whilst a part of me hates to see that, another appreciates it fully and wishes them all the best. For now though, today is their day, but bring on next year’s 6 Nations as well as the Rugby World Cup later in 2023!
Score: France 25 - 13 England
France were deserving Grand Slam winners, and Ireland too with the Triple Crown. England need to up their game again to be world class, Italy showed some late promise so looking forward to their future, and Wales and Scotland were par for the course.
Next weekend the Women’s Six Nations starts - and England’s ‘Red Roses’ are the best in the world!
I enjoyed this years 6 Nations and the French deserved to win the Grand Slam as they were consistent throughout. The Welsh and English were average this year and you guys definitely missed Farrell. I think most of the teams are rebuilding for next year anyway so I wouldn't take the results too seriously right now as the teams will all have new players added to the squads. I actually thought the balance of the English team was far better when the replacements came on and hadn't seen the scrum half before who looked really sharp plus the 8th man who looked seriously good.
Yeah, it was a good tournament all in all, and I think you're right with your summary there… roll on next year!
In rugby more than most sports, things can change quickly. It's not too long since England and Wales were dominant and France were in decline and now the opposite is true.
I was thrilled for Italy getting their win amd what a try to win it! Hopefully they can kick on now and get a few more wins, just not against Ireland ;)
Too right, there's a constant change and it's full of surprises!
Me too, it was a solid game and an exciting bit of action to end it. Agree, Italy to win all games apart from England and Ireland ;)