Six Nations Week 5: Ireland retain title on a dramatic Super Saturday

Rugby Tuesday March 19, 2024 By: Harry Howes

The Six Nations came to an end over the weekend and rugby fans were not disappointed. We were treated to a thrilling Super Saturday that ultimately saw Ireland crowned champions for the second year in a row.

England had faint hopes of winning the title at the start of the day but their dreams were dashed before they’d kicked off and they were ultimately stunned by France in dramatic circumstances. Meanwhile, Wales’s woes continued as they picked up the infamous wooden spoon.

Six Nations Table

 TeamPlayedWonDrawnLostPDBonusPoints
1Ireland540184420
2France53116115
3England5302-5214
4Scotland52030412
5Italy5212-34111
6Wales5005-5144

Ireland beat Scotland to secure Six Nations

Despite having their Grand Slam dreams ended by England the week before, Ireland entered Super Saturday in the driving seat. They went into their clash against Scotland knowing that one point would clinch them a second successive Six Nations title.

Fittingly, they secured the championship just in time to party the night into St Patrick’s Day. But the Scots didn’t make things easy in a cagey affair that finished 17-13.

Ireland went into the break just 7-6 up and braced themselves for a battle to reclaim their crown. And luckily for their expectant home crowd, they rallied in the second half and managed to break down a stubborn Scotland defence.

Tries from Dan Sheehan and Andrew Porter got them over the line and while the Grand Slam wasn’t to be, they clearly didn’t dwell on it as they secured a fifth Six Nations title since 2014.

Scotland went into the game dreaming of a first Triple Crown since 1990 but the visitors weren’t able to add to Huw Jones’ solitary try, despite a formidable performance.

France’s late late show sinks England

England broke Irish hearts with a last-gasp kick in week four but the roles were reversed in Lyon at the weekend. England were a point ahead late on but Thomas Ramos’ ambitious halfway line penalty secured a 33-31 win for the hosts.

The dramatic win saw France leapfrog England and finish in second place in the table. England had fought back from 16-3 down, with two Ollie Lawrence tries putting them in the ascendancy. Both sides added further tries but it was Ramos who ultimately stole the show.

After Ireland had secured the title earlier in the day, it was a battle for second place and France had the edge in their first home victory since the World Cup. Despite finishing third, England showed good resilience throughout the tournament having trailed at half-time in every match.

They’ll be looking to build on their performances, with Steve Borthwick now with a clearer picture of how he wants to shape his squad ahead of the Autumn Nations series later this year. For France, they’ll be delighted to finish as runners-up having started this year’s competition slowly with defeat to Ireland before they were held to a surprise draw by Italy in week three.

France edge past Wales in tight affair

After being held to a draw by Italy, France put that disappointing result behind them with a comfortable win against Wales. They led by just three points at the break but kicked on to win 45-24 thanks to a masterclass from Nolann Le Garrec.

Fans in Cardiff were treated to eight tries but the home faithful will be mightily concerned looking at the table. Wales are bottom with four defeats from four and they’re in danger of their first whitewash since 2003.

It was Wales’ 11th defeat in their last 12 Six Nations matches and another one against Italy in their crunch clash this weekend will consign them to this year’s wooden spoon.

For France, the victory saw them record their highest-ever points tally in Wales. They now find themselves fourth in the table but are just a point behind Saturday’s opponents England and they’re still mathematically able to win the Six Nations, although it remains unlikely.

Italy condemn Wales to wooden spoon

The opening game of Super Saturday saw Italy and Wales go toe-to-toe in a bid to avoid this year’s wooden spoon. Remarkably, it was Italy who came out on top, condemning Wales to the booby prize for the first time in 21 years.

Wales lost all five of their matches in this year’s Six Nations, including a full throttle affair in Cardiff at the weekend. They were 11-0 down at half-time but a respectable second period gave them hope as they ultimately lost 24-21.

George North’s Wales career ended in disappointment as he was carried off the pitch with injury in his final game before retirement. But he maintains that Warren Gatland remains the right man for Wales, with question marks surrounding the coach’s future.

Italy finished fifth in the table in what was their most successful Six Nations in history. They went unbeaten in three matches for the first ever time and it’s the first time since 2015 that they haven’t finished bottom of the pile.

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