The game that could have gone either way…
07′: 0-3 Italy Penalty advantage
Italy’s Tomasso Allan was the first to put Italy on the board.
Having failed his first attempt at placing the ball between the posts in the first 03′, the Fullback readjusted his previous wide ball, placing the Azzurri in the lead within just 7 minutes of the game’s start.
12′: 5-3 Van der Merwe Try
With Italy dominating the opening exchanges of the game, it wasn’t long until Scotland retaliated and pushed back to regain possession inside the Azzurri’s 22 through Van der Merwe‘s sensational corner try clincher.
Despite an attempt from Italy’s Fly Half Garbisi to apply the pressure on the Winger’s break for the try line, Merwe delivered a gravity-defying touchdown of the ball.
With concerns raised as to whether or not Merwe touched down the ball inside the line, a quick review by TMO confirmed the touchdown successful, and Merwe secured his 17th Try for Scotland, placing his record on par with head coach Gregor Townsend.
15′: 5-6 (Allan Penalty)
Now desperate to obtain an advantage over Scotland, Italy’s Tomasso Allan restored Italy’s lead in the 15′ by one point- A score that would not see any change for quite some time.
30′: 12-6 (Kinghorn Try, Yellow Card Riccioni)
Falling short of passing over Italy’s line until the 29′, Scotland struggled to wear down Italy’s defence and a succession of scrum penalties given against the Azzurri saw Marco Riccioni fall victim to the sin bin.
Desperate to break free from the shackles of a deadlock, Scotland began to apply the pressure and found their silver lining through Kinghorn.
Exhibiting exceptional playmaking, Kinghorn used his wit to perform a dummy line out from Sione Tuipulotu that placed his side ahead by six points.
With Scotland’s Finn Russell having damaged his knee ligament against Ireland last weekend in Round 4, Fly-Half Blair Kinghorn followed up with a conversation to bring his side 6 points ahead.
43′: 19-6 (Kinghorn Bulldozes Azzurri Defence)
Just minutes into the second half, Scotland returned with the same dedication they exhibited at the start.
It was none other than Kinghorn who bulldozed the Azzurri’s side to drag the Azzurri defenders over the line with him as he touched down to secure their 19-6 lead over Italy.
61′: 19-11 (Italy Bite Back)
Dominating the lead, it seemed almost certain that Scotland were to walk away with a landslide victory over the Azzurri, however a slowed tempo in the final quarter had Scotland put through their paces.
Taking advantage of a break in Scotland’s defence, Paolo Garbisi‘s astonishing low grubber ball saw Garbisi to the try line.
65′: 19-14 (Garbisi Penalty)
Despite missing his conversion, Garbisi came to Italy’s rescue four minutes later.
His electrifying penalty closed the gap to 5 points between the two teams within 4 minutes.
80′: Kinghorn ‘The Hat-trick Hero’
Having been awarded a series of penalties, Italy were within inches of the line, however an unfortunate knock-on saw the nerves get the better of them, and Scotland regained possession.
Bounding out of the Scrum, Van der Merwe bolted down the left wing, entering Italy’s half before performing an inside pass to Kinghorn, who slipped through the clutches of the Azzurri defenders and over the Try line.
A superb second hat-trick against Italy by Kinghorn and a tremendous Third-Place Championship finish for the Scots!
07′: 0-7 (North Try)
In a nail-biting start to the game, France succumbed to pressure following a series of penalties awarded to Wales that saw the Dragons gain territory on Les Bleus’ turf.
Rhys Webb‘s wide pass to North saw the Winger place the Dragons on the board as he sliced through Les Bleus defenders, desperate to make ground and only inches from the Try line.
09′: 10-7 (Penaud Try)
France soon responded, striking from the offset.
Romain Ntamack escaped the clutches of Nick Tompkins‘s attempted tackle and ran toward the Welsh defence with next to no support.
With all eyes now set on the Winger, Ntamack followed with a dummy pass to draw in the defenders, whilst buying time for Dupont to follow behind.
Now making its way into the hands of Dupont, the French Captain was outnumbered and launched the ball wide with unrelenting power toward Penaud waiting on the right wing and followed through with a touchdown.
While a fantastic try, the pass from Dupont was remarkable!
25′: 13-7 (Wales Fail to Release Ball- Ramos Penalty)
Wales exhibited a long-awaited sense of freedom and hair-raising playmaking that has been missing from their championship campaign thus far.
However, despite Wales assessing France’s defence, Les Bleus soon camped in the Wales half thanks to Centre Danty‘s kick passing over the halfway line.
With a breakdown shortly following, France were awarded a penalty opportunity. Ramos banked on his 89% success rate to boot the ball over the posts, placing France firmly in the lead.
33′: 20-7 (Danty Try)
Continuing the onslaught, Les Bleus Captain Dupont applied pressure, meandering down the pitch before landing inside Wales’ 22.
Wales clambered to regain possession of the ball, however the French Forwards slipped down toward the left before going wide to the right-hand side to see Danty launch himself over the try line.
Ramos soon converted, and France propelled themselves into the lead with a spectacular 13-point lead, bringing the score 20-7 in favour of Les Bleus.
43′: 27-7 (Atonio Try)
As the second half commenced, France displayed a newfound readiness that was absent at the start of the first half.
It wasn’t long before they earnt a penalty inside the Welsh 22…
Taking advantage of a scrum, instead of being awarded three points for a penalty, France cashed in their luck, utilising Atonio waiting on the wing to bound over the try line and secure his first Test Try.
Ramos soon converted to bring his side 20 points up against Wales.
48′: 34-7 (Fickou Try)
A quick succession of passes continued to have Wales dazed in the 48′, and it was becoming clear that Les Bleus were more concise in their playmaking, exhibiting greater accuracy and possession of the ball.
Fickou‘s bonus-point try continued to widen the gap, slipping through Wales’s grasp and rolling over to touchdown the ball on the try line.
A conversion from Ramos soon followed to secure France a 27-point lead with just over 30 minutes left on the clock.
55′: 34-14 (Roberts Try)
Now seeking to bridge the gap, Wales fought back soon after in the 55′ with a turnover from Justin Tipiruc inside the French 22, which opened up the opportunity for Roberts to bound over the try line.
Biggar followed moments later with a conversion to bring the score to 34-14.
65′: 34-21 (Williams Try)
With a newfound spring in their step, Wales continued to apply the pressure-Rees-Zammit weaving past Les Bleus’ defenders before a kick from Tomos Williams forced Ethan Dumortier to bring the ball back over his side.
A breakdown soon followed, however the exceptional playmaking of Peato Mauvaka prevented the onslaught, but it wasn’t long until Wales took up yet another opportunity to bridge the gap in the scores.
Rhys Williams‘s monumental try brought hope to Wales, breaking for the try line from close range following on from Wainwright‘s determined charge.
Biggar again converted, and France were 13 points down.
76′: 41-21 (Penaud Try)
As the game drew near to the close, France weren’t showing any signs of conceding and crossed the try line to secure their fifth try of the match from Penaud, who was positioned out wide to deliver his second try.
Ramos soon converted, totaling a 16-point contribution toward the 41-21 score, and his 84th point scored in the Championship- a momentous feat that stands second to Jonny Wilkinson‘s record and all within a single campaign.
79′: 41-28 (Rio Dyer Try)
While France were ready to walk away victorious, Wales sought to make the most of the countdown- devious Dyer avoiding the clutches of Les Bleus’ defence, bounding over the right-hand corner.
Leigh Halfpenny followed with a touchline conversion to end the score at 41-28 to France.
An outstanding match, where despite having conceded numerous tries, saw Wales exhibit unhindered dedication towards the game, their ambition unrelenting.
The Grand Slam decider…
07′: 0-3 (Penalty Farrell)
After a fantastic start from England, having gained greater possession of the ball inside Ireland’s 22 within the first ’07 it was Farrell who placed England on the board in the seventh minute with his impressive chip shot.
However, it wasn’t long until Ireland were on form. Sexton‘s astonishing tap and go of the ball from the five-metre line embodied Ireland’s joint ambition to secure the Grand Slam, however England’s defence was upheld.
14′: 0-6 (Penalty Farrell)
Ireland’s exasperation to push past England’s 22 continued, with a succession of passes not making contact, combined with a pair of knock-ons.
England kept their cool. Farrell stepped up to secure another penalty for his side, catapulting England into the lead by 6 points.
18′: 3-6 (Penalty Sexton)
Ireland continued to be rattled by Borthwick‘s best, however a response from the Shamrocks soon came from Sexton in the 18′ in the form of a penalty thanks to a breakdown error following on from Keenan‘s break midfield.
Sexton had placed Ireland on the board, and became the all-time Championship points scorer by penalty.
32′: 10-6 (Sheehan Try)
As the game progressed, with each side desperate to secure their first Try, Ireland found a newfound hope in hooker Sheehan.
Leading from a lineout in England’s 22, Sheehan delivered the ball to Ryan before passing to Josh van der Flier. Combining exceptional playmaking with a keen eye for utilizing space, the flanker broke off from the maul, rushed toward England and threw an inside pass to Sheehan before crossing the try line.
40′: Steward Sees Red
In an unfortunate exchange between Freddie Steward and Hugo Keenan, Steward was given a red card just before half-time, his elbow making illegal contact with Hugo Keenan’s head.
Both players had to leave the pitch, Keenan for failing his head injury assessment and Steward for the contact made.
Was the red card justified? Let us know in the comments your thoughts!
50′: 10-9 (Farrell Penalty)
With Ireland entering the second half with a man down, following Steward having been sent off, England were undoubtedly at an advantage.
Now dominating the Ireland half, a scrum penalty in the 50′ saw Farrell execute his third successful penalty of the match from 30 metres to bring England only 1 point behind their competitors.
61′: 17-9 (Henshaw Try)
Twenty minutes into the second-half of the match, and speculation permeated the stands as to whether Ireland would emerge victorious as Grand Slam winners.
With Peter O’Mahony having knocked on following a lineout, things weren’t looking too great until Robbie Henshaw delivered his exceptional finish in the 61′ following Akii‘s well-calculated pass to the Centre.
67′: 24-9 (Sheehan Try)
Sheehan was up next in the 68′, touching down a try in the corner, following on from Jack Conan‘s pinpoint precision in making a seamless pass to Ireland’s hooker.
Sexton converted in the 69′ to place Ireland 15 points in the lead. A momentous second half from the Shamrocks- securing 14 points in just 7 minutes!
72′: 24-16 (Jamie George Try)
Continuing to close the gap against Ireland’s 15-point lead, England’s Jamie George added an additional 7 points onto the scoreboard following a conversion from Farrell.
But whilst a courageous effort, it would become a consolation prize for England.
76′: 29-16 (Herring Try)
With victory in grasp for the Shamrocks, one last push came from Ireland’s Robert Herring peeled off the maul to dive over the Try line and conclude the game at 29-16 to Ireland.
Grand Slam Champions
And so it came to be, Ireland dominated all five rounds, earning the title of ‘Grand Slam Champions‘ at the 2023 Six Nations Championship! Congratulations to Ireland!
What did you think of the final round? Let us know in the comments your thoughts and opinions on the games, we’d love to hear from you!
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