Another Grand 6 Nations but No Grand Slam
Check Out our Review of Round 4 here.
The 6 Nations is over and the last round didn’t disappoint. Although Super Saturday no longer would decide who won the tournament there was still plenty to play for. England had secured the title after last week’s demolition of Scotland but 2nd place, new records, World Rugby Rankings and places on the Lions team were still to be played for.
The bonus point system that was introduced this year seems to be widely accepted as a success and resulted in some thrilling rugby. It was one of the most evenly matched 6 Nations in years with 3 of the Nations all finishing on 14 points, with the exception of Italy who were unable to even capitalise on a losing bonus point. Here’s how the table finished up:
England: 19 Points (3 BP & Score Difference: 65)
Ireland: 14 Points (2 BP & Score Difference: 49)
France: 14 Points (2 BP & Score Difference: 16)
Scotland: 14 Points (2 BP & Score Difference: 4)
Wales: 10 Points (2 BP & Score Difference: 16)
Italy: 0 Points (Score Difference: -151)
The 2017 6 Nations in Numbers
Check out our review of the final weekend below.
Scotland 29 – Italy 0
After one of the best opening three rounds of the 6 Nations Scotland has ever had, they crashed back down to earth at Twickenham in round 4. After that performance, they needed to bounce back with an assured win. Not only could they achieve 2nd place, it was also Vern Cotters last game in charge of the Scots. A bonus point win without conceding a point at home is quite a nice way to bow out.
It was a shabby performance from Italy, their worst of the tournament so far compounded by bad kicking from the tee, with Canna missing all three of his penalties. Scotland meanwhile put on a good show for the home fans and their outgoing coach with four good tries and an assured performance from Finn Russell. It’s a team with a lot of developing talent that Gregor Townsend will be inheriting this summer. After winning 3 from 5 in this tournament, Scotland will be disappointed with 4th place but its a platform they can build on.
Stand Out Players
Hamish Watson: Watson has been a consistent and solid player for Scotland during the whole championship but put in one of his best performances during the final round.
Edoardo Gori: It was a frustrating game for Italy but Gori was still giving the game everything.
France 20 – Wales 18
A nations doesn’t go by without some sort of shambles on the pitch. A tense back and forth game of rugby was overshadowed by a completely bizarre 20 minutes of overtime that saw far too many scrum resets, claims of biting, some dodgy player replacements and just general nonsense. In the end it was to France’s benefit as Chat finally broke through the Welsh line and allowed the home team to seize victory at almost exactly 100 minutes on the clock.
It was a disappointing result for Wales, who had used the fantastic form of Halfpenny to pile the pressure on the home team for the entire game. Their 5th place result isn’t entirely fair given the closeness of their losses but it was a result no one in red was happy with and means they are a 2nd tier team when the Rugby World Cup 2019 selections happen in May.
Stand Out Players
Louis Picamoles: One of the best players of the entire tournament was once again in great form, punching holes in the Wales line and ensuring he got the most offloads in the tournament (18, seven more than any other player).
Leigh Halfpenny: Had the game ended when it was supposed to, it was Halfpenny who would have won it for them. A fantastic day at the tee.
Ireland 13 – England 9
England must have been relieved to have secured the 6 Nations trophy before the final round. With the toughest fixture to play last, a win against Ireland is very hard to do. And so it proved to be. England were on the hunt for a new world record of consecutive games won and back to back Grand Slams but were denied by a tactical and precise Ireland. Still, an impressive streak for England and coach Eddie Jones.
England were in spitting distance the entire game of slipping past Ireland but a lot of their frustrations can be laid at the precise feet of Johnny Sexton. The No10 put on one of his best displays for Ireland in quite some time and was able to dictate the game. Rory Best relished the chance to play to the home crowd and put in his most assured game of the championship, perhaps doing enough to secure the starting Lions hooker position.
The game clearly meant a lot to Ireland who false started in the tournament with a loss to Scotland and later Wales. The victory here secured them 2nd place. But this was England’s championship. Sometimes clumsy but always persistent, England have demonstrated they are one of the best teams in the world and the work will start again to try and break that record. They are sure to form the back bone of the Lions this summer.
Johnny Sexton: Sexton was the thorn in the Lions paw on Saturday and it could well have been sharp enough to earn him the Lions No10 shirt.
Joe Launchbury: The top tackler in the entire championship, Launchbury put in a huge shift against Ireland.
The 6 Nations is over but the Year of the Lions is about to begin. We will soon know the squad that will be travelling to New Zealand this Summer. Let us know in the comments or over on Twitter or Facebook who you think will be going.
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