Wales took Rome by storm, Ireland went points crazy in Scotland and England beat France in one of the most enthralling games the world of rugby has ever witnessed. Wouldn’t it be great if it was like that all the time?
Saturday, March 21 is a day that will live long in the memory of rugby fans, especially Irish ones. Who’d have thought we’d have Wayne Barnes to thank for setting up such a spectacular finale?!
1. Spielberg would have been proud
If the rest of the 6 Nations had been a parochial TV mini-series, then Saturday was the big screen adaptation, a true Hollywood blockbuster of an afternoon. Each match was more unbelievable than the last, building to an eye-popping, jaw-dropping, show-stopping crescendo.
Thankfully this particular blockbuster was written, produced and directed by an Irishman, though probably an ex-pat whose now living in America given the gratuitous point-scoring and far-fetched storyline.
2. Caution to the wind
All three teams who were in a position to win the 6 Nations threw caution to the wind in a bid to stake their claim to the title. Thanks to Wales’ emphatic victory against Italy, the bar was set incredibly high. Ireland rose to the challenge and set the bar even higher. Despite their best efforts England fell agonisingly short in the efforts to overcome Ireland’s marker. In summary, it was like an Olympic High Jump competition, except that it was genuinely exciting and people cared about what was happening.
3. Looking in good shape for World Cup
Although Ireland took the trophy, Wales and England will also go into this year’s World Cup buoyed by their performances on the final day. England putting 55 points on France was the most awe-inspiring result of the day, with France proving themselves to be no dozers, notching 35 points of their own. For rival fans it made England’s defeat all the more sweet that they came so close to pulling off the remarkable result they needed. Even French scrum half Rory Kockott felt the need to celebrate at the final whistle even though his team had been beaten by 20 points.
4. Who’s keeping score?
I once played for Lurgan against a touring team from Nottingham in a game that resembled Saturday’s clash between England and France. Most of our opponents were still drunk and it led to the most open game of rugby I’ve ever played in with so many points raining in that we lost count. I’m not saying any of the French team were drunk, but when winger Noa Nakaitaci nearly overran his try into the deadball area there was evidence to suggest he’d been on the Pernod.
5. Scotland deflowered
Despite having entered the 6 Nations with a new found sense of optimism Scotland were knocked onto their arses by every team they played. For this Scottish bloke, the only way to get over it was to drown his sorrows, then go to an American drive thru the following morning to find some breakfast food to quell his hangover…
6. History makers
I nearly forgot to mention that Ireland made history by winning back to back 6 Nations? Yeoooooooooooooooooooooooooooooo!!!!!!!!!!!!