The RBS Six Nations tournament came to a dramatic conclusion last weekend as Ireland held on to claim the title. The England players were left thinking what might have been after narrowly losing their first match to France; a result that would ultimately cost them the Grand Slam.
Here at Kitbag HQ, we’ve taken a look back over the tournament to bring you a comprehensive review and pick out our top three players from the campaign.
France recorded the biggest scalp of the first round with a last gasp victory over England. Teenage centre, Gael Fickou, broke English hearts in the 74th minute with a try that would come back to haunt them in the long run.
Ireland defeated Scotland with a comprehensive win at the Aviva Stadium while the Wales boys began their bid for a third Six Nations title in a row with a hard-fought success over Italy.
The second round saw Ireland rout Wales in Dublin and run out 26-3 winners, thanks to tries from Ulster pair, Chris Henry and Paddy Jackson.
France made it two wins in two matches after a simple victory over struggling Italy in Paris as England bounced back to winning ways with a 20-0 win over Scotland at Murrayfield to claim the Calcutta Cup.
The third round of matches produced two absolute thrillers. Firstly, Scotland found win number one with a scintillating 21-20 victory over Italy at the Stadio Olympico, courtesy of a last-gasp drop goal from David Weir.
Secondly, England edged past Ireland with a nail-biting 13-10 at Twickenham. In the final match of the round, Wales stormed past France with a 27-6 victory at the Millennium stadium.
In round four, England sealed the Triple Crown with a solid 29-18 victory over Wales at Twickenham. Owen Farrell was key to England’s success – he contributed 19 points in a flawless display of kicking.
Elsewhere, a Jean-Marc Doussain penalty broke Scottish hearts as his late penalty saw France edge a thriller against Scotland 19-17. Ireland continued on the quest for the Championship with a 46-7 victory over winless Italy.
The curtain came down on a thrilling Six Nations tournament in the fifth and final round and the winner wasn’t known until the final seconds in France.
England, Ireland and France went into the final round level on points, knowing they all stood a chance of sealing the Championship. Ireland topped the table thanks to an impressive points difference and England trailed some way behind. France knew only a massive victory over Ireland, coupled with an England defeat to Italy would be enough to claim the glory.
England kicked off proceedings with a 52-11 victory over Italy, who would end the tournament winless. England would then face a nervous wait as they watched on to see the result of France v Ireland.
Ireland sealed the Championship with a back and forth, 22-20 win against France in what was to be Ireland legend, Brian O’Driscoll’s final game.
Wales heaped the misery on 14-man Scotland and ran out 52-3 winners in the rounds’ final game.
Top 3 players
The decision from the England coaching staff to hand Mike Brown the number 15 jersey proved to be an inspired one as the Harlequins man turned in a series of world-class performances.
The full back will have surely secured his shirt for the 2015 World Cup thanks to his eye-catching displays, which saw him score four tries in five games. The England side has a real gem in Brown and the Southampton-born 28-year-old can look forward to linking up with a backline potentially including units such as Manu Tuilagi, Luther Burell and Sam Burgess.
How could we leave out the legend that is Brian O’Driscoll? The Ireland star brought down the curtain on his illustrious career with the RBS Six Nations Championship and there’s no doubt he’ll be missed on the international scene.
The centre set up two tries on his farewell appearance in Dublin before putting his body on the line to ensure Ireland claimed victory in the final game in Paris.
Luther Burrell grabbed his opportunity with both hands, making his mark on the international scene with tries in his first two tests before adding a third against Wales. The centre is another exciting inclusion in an England backline sure to cause problems in the 2015 World Cup.