WE’VE FOLLOWED IRELAND to Paris, where Joe Schmidt’s team are targetting a second win in 42 years in order to secure the Six Nations title.
Can they do it? Stay with us to find out.
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- Italy 11-52 England
- Wales 51-3 Scotland
- France 20 - 22 Ireland
12.11 – Welcome along to our Six Nations coverage. RTE are up and running and Clare McNamara has received some ‘Ireland by one score’ from Shane Horgan and Ronan O’Gara. The gang are hanging out at the Eiffel Tower.
Source: RTE Two
12.14 – “And what of George ‘straight shooter’ Hook?” I hear you ask. Well, the Hookie monster is sporting a cravat and believes Munster players have been under-represented in Irish rugby for the past century. Conor O’Shea disagrees and the lads are up and running.
12.16 – Here’s an amusing parody of the excellent, evocative #thankyoubrian video that was doing the rounds yesterday. It comes courtesy of the Lightning Bolts, a Sevens rugby team from Kinsale who want the great man on their team next season:
12.17 – We are 15 minutes from kick-off in Rome as England go chasing a massive score.
Meanwhile, here is what Stephen Ferris got up to on his return to rugby at Ravenhill last night. The big hitter is back.
12.32 – KICK-OFF
Owen Farrell gets us underway in Rome…
12.37 – 4 mins - Crossed wires between Mike Brown and Jack Nowell as the English backline makes a hames of their first attacking foray. Italian scrum bosses their first encounter and they have a penalty coming.
12.38 – PEN: Italy 3-0 England (Orquera ’6)
12.44 – PEN: Italy 3-3 England (Farrell ’9)
Stuart Lancaster’s men back on level terms as Italy infringe at the breakdown.
12.46 – TRY! Italy 3-10 England (Brown ’12)
There’s your first English try. Massive line break from Burrell who feeds the charging Brown — player of the tournament thus far — to sprint over. Farrell laps over the conversion.
12.51 – 18 mins - Italy pressing in the Roman sun but Danny Care box-kicks clear. They break up the left and Sarto should score or at least pass but he is hauled down three metres short of the line. Chance lost.
12.55 – PEN: Italy 6-10 England (Orquera ’22)
Italian pressure turns into points as Orquera lands a tricky penalty from 38 metres out.
13.03 – 30 mins - England go close through Jonny May but Italy go offside to halt the attack. Robshaw opts to go for the line rather than the posts as England chase tries.
13.05 – TRY! Italy 6-17 England (Farrell ’32)
Care sends Farrell scampering away over the line from close range. The line-out play did the trick. Another English score before half-time would make this interesting.
13.12 – TRY! Italy 6-24 England (Brown ’38)
The dream is alive for England. Farrell with a great offload and Brown, from 40 metres out, does the rest, Scything run and McLean can’t keep up. Farrell converts. 18 points to the good now. 30-odd more needed.
13.15 – HALF-TIME
13.26 – Here is that brilliant second try from Brown:
13.31 – 45 mins - Italy botch an attack up the left flank so England show them how it is done. Farrell is really making this side tick. Are Italy still reeling from those record breaking 245 tackles against Ireland last weekend?
13.37 – 49 mins - Mako Vunipola, you ham! He fumbles forward to scuttle and English attack. No bother, says Lancaster, as he primes Manu Tuilagi gears up to enter the fray.
13.38 – Yellow card for Marco Bortolami for a clear and present [Harrison Ford reference] offside. Big scrum pressure coming up on the Italian 5m.
13.41 – TRY! Italy 6-31 England (Nowell ’52)
Italy commit numbers and they are left short out wide. May is on the touchline but Nowell does not need him. That is France out of the picture at least. Ireland’s points difference is next.
13.44 – Meanwhile in Cardiff, the players’ stroll to the stadium fad continues. Kelly Brown leads his Scottish teammates to the Millennium Stadium.
Source: Cathal Noonan/INPHO
13.49 – TRY! Italy 6-38 Italy (Vunipola ’61)
The paper thin Italian defence is ripped up again and the Lions prop scampers over. farrell converts. England need three more tries to make Ireland sweat.
13.57 – 66 mins - The calculator in my brain tells me England need 17 more points to overtake our total. attacking English lineout 5m out and Italy have nothing left to play for but pride. I was sure they would put up a fight. TRY…
TRY: Italy 6-45 England (Tuilagi ’67)
Tuilagi canters over and Italy’s defence is wet paper bag stuff at this stage. 10 points now Ireland’s advantage. BUT!!! Sarto gets over
14.00 – TRY: Italy 11-45 Italy (Sarto ’69)
England caught on the hop with no-one at home. Sarto dives over in the corner. Allan’s conversion is awful.
14.01 – 15 points the advantage now for Ireland in the points difference column. We’ll calling this ‘Sarto-day’ in the office!
14.05 – 73 mins - That should be that. Italy finishing strongly and kicking for a 5m attacking lineout. Here is that Nowell try. Once Sarto’s lands we will pop it up.
14.07 – 76 mins - Owen Farrell has looked very good today. Is developing into a rounded out-half. His time with Jonny Sexton in Australia was well spent. Four minutes to go. May goes close out on the left wing but fails yet again.
14.11 – Just as I praise the scamp, Farrell pulls off a WWE-style move on an Italian with a hairstyle homage to Wesley Snipes in Demolition Man. Nasty business but no card.
14.15 – TRY: Italy 11-52 England (Robshaw ’81)
Captain Robshaw dives over in stoppage time but it is too little, too late. Farrell chips over.
FULL-TIME: Italy 11-52 England
14.23 – The ball is in Ireland’s court now. A win is needed and the championship is coming back to Ireland.
Source: Sinead Kissane
14.25 – Here is the table, as it stands. England fell short in the end. France could win by beating us by 70+ points. No red cards now lads and we’ll be grand.
14.38 – Can anyone help Finn Comiskey in Moscow? This is his comment below:
Long shot… Anyone know the best spot in Moscow to see the game?? First time here. Just ‘watched’ England/Italy on this blog, nervous times.
Fair play to Jason Davis for this reply: Call over to Putin’s place, hear he likes sports and a few tinnies.
14.42 – Here is that crucial Leonardo Sarto try from the Italy game. Well met sir.
14.46 – KICK-OFF at the Millennium Stadium as Wales take on Scotland
14.51 – PEN: Wales 0-3 Scotland (Laidlaw ’3)
Scotland rewarded for their bristling start. Denton with a good fend-off to put Cuthbert on his bee-hind. Laidlaw chips over a 30m penalty.
14.57 – PEN: Wales 3-3 Scotland (Biggar ’8)
Kelly Brown’s afternoon is over. the Scottish captain trudges off as Biggar slots over a simple penalty.
14.58 – Amid scurrilous rumours that Gordon D’Arcy may shave his beard off if Ireland win the Six Nations, the artistically amazing Yellowbelly has created this tribute.
15.00 – 12 mins - Laidlaw misses a relatively simple penalty attempt. They have never replaced the kicking dream team of Parks and Patterson. Ye gads, that man Patterson could kick a rugby ball.
15.06 – TRY: Wales 10-3 Scotland (L Williams ’15)
Sweeping move finished off in swan dive fashion from Williams, the fullback. super touchline conversion from prodigal out-half Dan Biggar.
15.13 – Stuart Hogg has been RED CARDED for a disgusting shoulder to the head of Dan Biggar.
15.19 – Laidlaw misses another opportunity to reduce arrears for 14-man Scotland. Interesting about that Hogg hit — he was yellow carded but it was upgraded (downgraded?) to a red card after video replays of the incident.
First Zizou then Hogg.
15.21 – Here is that Liam Williams try:
15.27 – TRY OF THE TOURNAMENT! Wales 20-3 Scotland (North ’34)
Unreal. Catch from a cross-field kick from Williams, burst up the left wing, beats his man and gets away a stunning offload. Phillips finds North in support and he accelerates over.
15.31 – TRY: Wales 27-3 Scotland (Roberts ’39)
Brian O’Driscoll’s No.13 jersey usurper Jonathan Davies with an offload plucked straight out of the great man’s playbook. Getting dragged over the touchline, he floats a beauty for Roberts to clutch on the run. Biggar converts.
15.34 – HALF-TIME in Wales
15.35 – This, my friends, is what a GIF was made for.
15.45 – SECOND HALF
TRY: Wales 32-3 Scotland (North ’41)
That didn’t take long. Wales have the numbers and their giant left winger vaults over a Max Evans tackle to dot down.
15.52 – TRY: Wales 39-3 Scotland (Roberts ’47)
Scottish line-out in the Welsh 22. Warburton steals and beautiful offloading chaos results in a great try for Roberts after great work from Williams and Faletau.
Source: Thomas Niblock
15.59 – TRY: Wales 44-3 Scotland (Faletau ’53)
When Toby Faletau is scoring tries on the wing you know you’ve had it. Epic, beautiful flick from Cuthbert in the process.
16.04 – 20 minutes left in the Wales v Scotland game. Here is how the Irish U20s and women got on last next in the South of France:
16.23 – 73 mins - Scotland showing some fight and hunting for a consolation try. Meanwhile, the craic is mighty in Cardiff:
16.24 – TMO: Could be another peachy try from Rhodri Williams…
16.25 – TRY: Wales 51-3 Scotland (R Williams)
Lovely chip over the top from James Hook and fellow sub Williams takes it at full tilt and dives over. Searing stuff. Hook converts and Scotland are set for a record defeat. They’re all yours Vern Cotter.
FULL-TIME: Wales 51-3 Scotland
16.33 – Two serious beatings for Italy and Scotland today. I shall now hand ye lot over to Sean Farrell to see you home.
16.40 – Here we go, then. Less than 30 minutes to go to kick-off and there’s no turning back now.
Sean Farrell here to take you through the final leg of today’s Six Nations marathon. And what a game France v Ireland promises to be.
Take a few deep breaths, make an extra large order at the bar, do what you gotta to do to get your game face on, because between now and 70 it’s gonna get real emotional.
16.43 – Joe Schmidt is on RTE looking nervous as ever.
“I’m not sure I agree with the ‘just’” he says when told Ireland just need to win in Paris.
Here’s the team himself and PSA have picked for today’s Six Nations grand finale.
France: B Dulin; Y Huget, M Bastareaud, G Fickou, M Medard; R Tales, M Machenaud; T Domingo, D Szarzewski, N Mas, P Pape (cpt), Y Maestri, L Picamoles, A Lapandry, D Chouly.Replacements: G Guirado, V Debaty, R Slimani, A Flanquart, S Vahaamahina, W Lauret, JM Doussain, M Mermoz.
Ireland: R Kearney; A Trimble, B O’Driscoll, G D’Arcy, D Kearney; J Sexton, C Murray: C Healy, R Best, M Ross; D Toner, P O’Connell (Capt.) P O’Mahony, C Henry, J Heaslip.
Replacements: S Cronin, J McGrath, M Moore, I Henderson, J Murphy, E Reddan, I Madigan, F McFadden.
Referee: S Walsh (ARU).
16.57 – As Hook and O’Shea recite out some wisdom they learned in a philosophy lecture, the teams go in and out of the tunnel. Stade de France is buzzing.
Let’s have your predictions Ireland?
The first 10 minutes will tell us an awful lot, but I think that the final score will be…
France 19 Ireland 23
16.58 – Ireland’s Call is being belted out, Peter O’Mahony making himself heard, natch.
17.00 – Ah, le Marseillaise. No anthem beats that, but fortunately this game will be decided by hits and angles rather than the brilliance of our tunes.
17.02 – Kick-off: Tales gets us under way, deep into Ireland territory. The kick is returned and France can attack.
17.04 – Chris Henry pinged for not releasing after he thought he won a turnover.
PENALTY: France 3 - 0 Ireland. (Machenaud ’2)
The Racing Metro 9 takes the kick and it just brushes off the post and over the bar.
If you’re into omens, that’s not a good ‘un.
17.05 – OOOH. Batareaud mows straight through the middle forcing missed tackles from both D’Arcy and O’Driscoll, but his pass is forward and the green scrum is solid allowing Sexton clear back to halfway.
17.07 – A major fillip, Ireland steal the line-out and move left.
Sexton turns the blue line with a grubber into touch.
17.12 – The good France have shown up here, and they’re looking determined to make this an attritional forward battle, but Ireland force the knock-on.
Devin Toner is down receiving treatment on his nose, and the Fields of Athenry echoes around the most unforgiving international venue.
17.14 – Now, that could be a big landmark in the game. Steve Walsh penalised Tomas Domingo on a re-set scrum and Ireland move up the field thanks to Mike Ross.
17.15 – Lovely set move off that line-out with Dave Kearney taking a reverse pass from Sexton. The cleanout is good, but France’s line-speed forces Ireland to force it and Sexton attempts an identical pass which reaches Healy, but is soon knocked on.
17.17 – Dave Kearney guilty of not releasing after France force the ball back into green territory.
PENALTY: France 6 - 0 Ireland (Machenaud’ 14)
17.19 – Brilliant restart, O’Connell taking the ball off Sexton’s kick and Ireland have a platform, but we are having to work for everything here and France soon win the following line-out and clear.
17.21 – Ireland are hanging on a bit here. France move it wide and Bastareaud unleashes the hooker, but the pass is forward.
We’ll come back for the scrum one BOD gets a bit of medical treatment.
17.23 – Another scrum penalty for Ireland. It’s one facet of the game we’re dominating but there’s a lot to do before making it count on the scoreboard.
Sexton kicks us to the 22 for a lineout.
17.24 – Making yards now after Murray’s initial burst from that line-out. We’re on the five. Must get a score here. Any score…
17.25 – TRY! France 6 Ireland 5 (Sexton ’21)
A brilliant back-hand offload from Chris Henry puts the 10 into space and he is lethal from there.
Sadly, he’s not so lethal from the kicking tee right of the posts. A similar angle to the one missed against New Zealand and the same result, right of the near post.
17.28 – Ireland went through around a dozen phases before the gap opened for Sexton, but the slickness of the ball presentation eventually opened the door.
We’re still behind, but game on.
17.30 – Louis, Louis, Louis.
Picamoles stands under a Garryowen and ends up spilling it on his own 10 metre line. Scrum Ireland and another Murray break leads to..
TRY! France 6 Ireland 12 (Trimble ’25)
Brilliance from the 9 to coolly pick the right pass and Trimble can dot down right of the posts. Sexton nails the conversion.
17.34 – France are dialing up the intensity, or perhaps the desperation here, but Chris Henry is everywhere. He picks up a loose ball to feed O’Connell, but from there Heaslip is isolated by three French tacklers and it’s a penalty to France.
They kick to the corner and prepare to maul.
17.37 – The maul is held up, but France have an advantage coming after two phases of pick and drives.
Tales kicks across field and Huget reaches it before Rob Kearney and bats it back to Dulin.
TRY! France 13 Ireland 12 (Dulin ‘ 30)
Walsh needed the TMO, but it was never really in doubt. A superb try.
Machenaud follows up with a flawless touchline conversion.
17.38 – How’s the nerves now, Ireland?
17.40 – Here’s the Jonathan Sexton try, if you’re not near a screen.
17.43 – A brilliant few phases from France with Picamoles beasting his way through the breakdown, but a snap drop-goal from Tales is well, well wide.
Nicolas Mas is hurt bad. He’s out of the game holding his ribs. Slimani is next in line to take on Cian Healy.
17.46 – As you may have seen from the replays there, Bastareaud really seems to be targetting Jonny Sexton. Hit him hard two or three times now, not a whole lot of arms in the last hit.
17.47 – Another penalty against Domingo and Steve Walsh gives Pape a long talking to, warning that if he continues then he’ll be binned.
17.48 – Ireland on the edge of the 22 and Domingo comes in from the side to clean Murray out.
Penalty (just right of the posts) can Ireland take a half time lead here?
17.50 – Oh, no, Jonny, no, no, no.
HALF-TIME: France 13 Ireland 12.
17.57 – Well, you didn’t expect Ireland to make this easy on us, did you?
Seriously disappointing to see Sexton kick just one of three pretty straightforward kicks.
Anyway, we’ve played well in patches aside from that and have shown an ability to improve through the second 40 minutes in this campaign.
So with just a point between the sides, the title is still very much there for the taking for Ireland.
18.03 – SECOND HALF:
Paul O’Connell gives his squad a good talking to before Sexton gets the second period underway.
40 minutes to outscore France and win a Championship.
18.06 – Oh, here comes that blue wave we’ve all had nightmares about.
A loose kick out wide is picked up by Medard, he chips through, but Kearney collects and kicks clear before being smashed by Bastareaud.
His kick bounces before the 10 metre mark and Picamoles trucks it up the middle before Ireland are forced to scramble wide.
Captain fantastic to the rescue: Paul O’Connell wins a penalty to allow relief.
Source: Colm Tobin/Twitter
18.08 – Ah, just as I cut that tweet in, the skipper misses a tackle on Picamoles.
18.10 – After another big Bastareaud carry, Huget knocks on and Ireland counter through Trimble…
TRY! France 13 Ireland 19 (Sexton ‘ 47)
The Ulster wing broke on the right flank, but offered a pass to O’Driscoll a touch too early. BOD cut back in and got to the five metre line and that set the platform for Sexton to storm in and around to the posts. Converted.
18.13 – This game is absolutely intense, folks. 30 minutes to go and Ireland lead the way in the Six Nations Championship.
Sexton’s strike-running is making up for his ball-striking.
18.13 – Here’s Sexton finishing off his second try. Jog for the posts Jonny…
18.15 – France are running scared of our maul. They refuse to challenge and as we get set, Maestri takes Heaslip out. Penalty (to the right hand of the post.)
18.16 – NAILED IT! France 13 Ireland 22 (Sexton ’52)
18.18 – 10 unanswered points since the break and they’ve all come from Jonny Sexton. The 10′s latest cameo comes on the back of a brilliant Trimble offload, but he’s bundled over.
18.20 – Frantic stuff as France attack with Dulin lying injured, they get around the physios and Medard cuts back inside, but his pass to Bastareaud is knocked on and Best comes away with the ball.
PS. Andrew Trimble and Rob Kearney are being used as Ireland’s aerial hit squad, and to devastating effect.
18.23 – Back come France, a brilliant offload from Huget to Medard and the whistle goes against O’Driscoll for taking out a trail runner.
18.23 – 60 mins: France attack the Irish five metre line.
18.26 – Trojan work from Ireland’s defence, frustrating France as they attack the final inch before the tryline. Tales attempts a crossfield kick, but there’s a penalty coming.
Cian Healy flies into a ruck and connects wit Picamoles head. Ouch!
18.38 – Here’s hoping for a big, big anti-climax for this group of fans.
Source: England Rugby/Twitter
18.29 – The line out comes and BAstaread forces more missed tackles. Somehow, Ireland stop him, but Les Bleus have Picamoles following him. O’Connell and D’Arcy stop him on the line, but the ball comes back to Chouly. Sexton sends him crashing against the post, but it’s not enough to stop the try.
TRY! France 20 Ireland 22 (Szarzewski ’63)
18.30 – Moore, Henderson and Reddan are in the game. 15 minutes to hold or extend this lead.
18.34 – The cavalry are well and truly coming now.
Fergus McFadden is on for D’Arcy, that’s the end of his 56-cap partnership with Brian O’Driscoll.
France withdraw Machenaud in favour of Doussain.
Source: Kate McEvoy/Twitter
18.36 – Jonathan Sexton’s game is over. The 10 is down receiving treatment after taking a Bastareaud elbow to the chin.
He’s out cold.
18.39 – This is the crunching, borderline illegal Bastareaud fend-off on Sexton:
18.40 – Ian Madigan is on for his first appearance of the Championship. And the first play of his game sees the French scrum clean Marty Moore out.
Doussain with the kick, but he. has. SHANKED IT off to the right of the posts.
Is that the slice of luck we needed?
18.42 – 71 minutes:
France are back in possession, but it’s in midfield and as they move left, O’Driscoll goes low on Bastareaud and Trimble forces the attack into touch.
18.43 – From the line-out, Reddan hoists a kick for Trimble to chase. The ball comes back and Madigan sends another one up.
It’s safe rugby from here on in from Ireland.
18.46 – 75 minutes: A huge penalty! France attacking just inside Ireland’s half and Henderson’s presence makes France come in from the side.
Now it’s green ball in the French half. If we could just play it out from here, that’d be pretty sweet.
18.50 – O’Driscoll makes a big carry, Heaslip is knocked over, Toner carries. Madigan feeds McGrath, but Ireland are going nowhere and the penalty is given away.
The kick for touch is missed, back comes Kearney, but his kick is up in the air and Bastareaud sets the attack in motion.
Numbers out wide, France are in for a try, but it looks a MILE forward.
18.51 – THANKS BE TO JAYSUS. Forward pass is finally called by the TMO.
Scrum ireland, we need to get out of our 22. Fast.
78 mins played.
18.52 – The clock keeps ticking. One good scrum and Ireland win.
18.52 – Against the head.
18.53 – Vaahaamina take the ball up central. France are looking for a drop-goal chance, but the big man is held up.
There are six bodies around him and the ball is unplayable.
18.54 – FINAL SCORE: France 20 Ireland 22
IRELAND ARE THE SIX NATIONS CHAMPIONS!
18.56 – ‘Je Suis Tres Content’, says an absolutely drained Brian O’Driscoll on French television.
They ask him to go one more year.
‘I can promise you, it’s the last time.’
19.02 – Thanks be to BOD that’s over. It was a rough day for the great man today, but he bows out at the top of European rugby.
A stunning game, nearly impossible to watch, but Ireland put in an incredible effort to keep the blue wave at bay.
We are the champions.
Thanks so much for joining in our Six Nations final day liveblog, it’s been a long one, but the emotional payoff is there for all of us.