Warren Gatland won his third and Wales’s first Grand Slam since 2012 as his side tore Ireland apart, on a day that will live long in the memory of any Welshman. 

Wales 25-7 Ireland 

The Welsh had a dream start to the day, as they opened the scoring through a converted try after just 70 seconds from Hadleigh Parks.

With a penalty advantage and a free play, Gareth Anscombe produced an outside foot dink that was perfectly weighted for Parkes to gather and dive over to send the boisterous Welsh crowd into ecstasy.

Anscombe added an emphatic six penalties, to secure a thrashing of the pre-tournament favourites, who never really turned up.

Wales were fantastic in all departments and produced a courageous win, to strengthen their record breaking win streak to 14 games.

Ireland star man Johnny Sexton seemed to have lost his head at the end of the first half, as his frustrations spilled over with him booting the ball away.

Man of the match Gareth Anscombe shun as he contributed a incredible 20 points to the teams 25, as he ran the show with ball in hand throughout.

A last minute converted try from Jordan Larmour was no consolation for the Irish as they were shocking and never turned up and seemed to have gave the title to Wales straight from the off.

Winning the Grand Slam surely puts Wales as favourites from all the European sides in this autumn’s World Cup, as this side will look to give legendary head coach Gatland a perfect send off before he leaves.

On the other hand, Ireland finish third in the standings and can only look back on the tournament as underwhelming and disappointing, especially as they were heavily favoured pre-tournament.

England 37-37 Scotland 

The days final game was an absolute cracker at Twickenham as Scotland overturned a 32-0 deficit to take the lead 37-30, only for George Ford’s last minute try to steal the win away from the Scots.

The game was ultimately pointless in the standings after Wales defeated Ireland earlier in the day, but that would never effect this famous, passionate rivalry match.

England looked set for a thrashing of their Calcutta Cup rivals after they raced into a 31-0 lead after just as many minutes.

Just 66 seconds on the clock and England opened the scoring through a try by Jack Nowell and his score was then followed up by mauled tries from Tom Curry and Joe Launchbury.

Then Henry Slade produced an outrageous, showboating offload to put Jonny May in to score the bonus point securing try as England turned on the style in a first half performance that was scintillating to watch.

Owen Farrell scored a penalty kick, adding to his four conversions to make it 31 points to nothing.

Nobody, not even the most bias of Scotland fans could predict what was about to ensue, as the Scots hit back with six tries and looked set to produce the greatest comeback in top-level international rugby history and put an end to their 36 year Twickenham hoodoo.

The comeback was started by a try from Stuart McInally, before two tries from Darcy Graham, a try from Magnus Bradbury and a score from man of the match Finn Russell, drew the game level.

Sam Johnson seemed to have scored the game winning try and completed an incredible comeback for the Scots, only for Ford’s converted try in the last play of the game to make the game level at the death.

Despite the result, both teams looked deflated on the final whistle as England finish the campaign second, knowing that loss away to Wales on matchday four was detrimental in their once optimistic title hopes. Whereas, Scotland finish fifth unable to finish above France because of that late equalising try, as the Scots struggled throughout the campaign with injuries.

Italy 14-25 France

Italy’s four year wait for a Six Nations win continues, as tries from Frenchmen Antoine Dupont, Yoann Huget and Damian Penaud papered over the cracks of what was a dismal campaign for the French.

The Italians haven’t won a Six Nations match since 2015, when they defeated Scotland in 2015, but were given numerous opportunities by the French to end that hoodoo.

Dupont and Huget crossed to put France in control but the Italians missed a golden chance to get back in the game when just after Tito Tebaldi’s try, Marco Zanon lost the ball over the try line which would have put them in front if the try was converted. Instead, Italy came away with nothing, proving a game changing moment.

The Italians also missed great chances in the first half, most notably Zanon going close again as he looked set to score after running on to a clever kick through, but the ball hit the post and deflected away from him. 

Camille Chat was sent to the sin bin for the French and the Italians dominated possession and territory during the final 10, but were denied a try because of an excellent last ditch tackle by Penaud. He then rounded off a fine performance with a game sealing try on 78 minutes.

The result means Jacques Brunel’s French side finish fourth, on 10 points with just two wins (over Scotland and Italy) and were convincingly beaten by the top three (Wales, England, Ireland). Ultimately, this campaign can only be seen as shocking as Brunel’s struggles to get the best out of his talented but unpredictable side continues.

Conor O’Shea’s men continue to struggle in the Six Nations and even though there were big positives today and they matched the French for most of the contest, there still are question marks over whether Italy should be in the Six Nations after being given the Wooden Spoon again after what was another fruitless campaign.

 

Written By Benjamin Jaycock

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