New News

A Sensational Final Round at the 2024 Six Nations!

Welcome back to The Full 80!
As the curtains fall on the 2024 Six Nations Championship, weโ€™re here to revisit the rollercoaster of emotions it brought with it.
So, without further ado, let’s dive into the action!

Skip To:

#1. Wales vs Italy

#2. Ireland vs Scotland

#3. France vs England

Saturday 16th March

Wales vs Italy (21-24)

Last Saturday marked the end of a challenging Six Nations campaign for Wales, which unfortunately concluded without a single victory.

The match was dominated by Italy, who showcased a series of well-executed phases and an impenetrable defence, which led to Wales being awarded the Wooden Spoon for the first time in 21 years, a dubious honour that no team other than Italy had received since 2015.

Italy, however, were on form from the get-go as they sought to take early control of the first 40 by way of two penalties from none other than Paolo Garbisi, with an unconverted Monty Ioane effort bringing in an 11-0 advantage by half-time.

Desperate to make their way onto the scoreboard, Wales had their work cut out for them as the second half commenced, with Italyโ€™s attacking flair proving overwhelming as Lorenzo Pani notched an incredible individual effort to boost his sideโ€™s lead to 18-0.

The home sideโ€™s silver lining finally came in the 74โ€™ as hooker Elliot Dee bundled over for a converted effort from close range to bridge the gap to 18-7.

However, penalties by way of Martin Page-Role and Garbisi ensured Italyโ€™s advantage was extended, and saw the scores reach 24-7 with just 10 minutes remaining.

In the dying moments of the game, and with tensions high, Will Rowlands and Mason Grady quested to hit back for the home side, with Sam Costelow converting to bring the score to 24-21. But as the clock ticked into the red, it was too late. Italy had achieved their second win of the 2024 tournament!

A word from Gatland:

Head Coach Warren Gatland reflected on the teamโ€™s performance and offered to step down from his position. However, his resignation was promptly turned down by WRU Chief Executive Abi Tierney.

Despite the sting of defeat from all five games, Gatland is now channeling his energy into revitalizing the Welsh team and informed the BBC post-match:

โ€œI told Abi in the changing room that Iโ€™m quite happy to resign if thatโ€™s what she wants.โ€

Tierneyโ€™s response was immediate and emphatic,

โ€œLike hell, thatโ€™s the last thing I want. Thatโ€™s what Iโ€™m really afraid of.โ€

Gatland, in turn, assured,

โ€œI can promise you weโ€™ll go away and review this carefully. Weโ€™ve already started some review work and weโ€™ll focus on improving the areas that need it.โ€

As it Happened:

The match kicked off with a frantic first 15 minutes, with both teams eager to make their mark on the scoreboard, but it was Italy who struck first.

Paolo Garbisi, with his precise kicking, managed to score two penalties, giving Italy an early lead.

The pressure on Wales only intensified as Monty Ioane, after a series of well-executed offloads, scored a flawless try. This series of events brought the Azzurri to an 11-0 lead, setting a challenging pace for the match.

Wales, determined to impress on home soil, continued to exhibit a strong formation at the breakdown. However, this soon proved costly as Italy capitalized on their error-making.

As the game edged towards half time, Italy let their penalty chances slip through their fingers, providing Wales with an opportunity to touch down for an additional three points. However, they opted for the lineout and an immediate knock-on halted their advances in Azzurri territory. As a result, Italy took an 11-0 advantage into the break.

Bolstered from leading the first half, Italy returned after the break with a phenomenal try by Pani, who valiantly sped down the right-hand side, simultaneously side-stepping three defenders before touching down. Garbisi converted to bring the Azzurri 18-0 ahead.

Desperate to turn the tables, the home side delivered a series of phase attacks, with the Azzurri dominating at the breakdown, covering all areas to prevent Wales from crossing the whitewash.

It wasnโ€™t until the 64th minute, with just over 15 minutes left on the clock, that Wales finally found their footing. They executed a series of phase attacks before Elliot Dee touched down from short range, all while obtaining the penalty advantage. Costelow added the extras to bridge the gap to 18-7.

Despite Wales exhibiting greater attacking prowess, their renewed determination was interrupted when Garbisi and Martin Page-Relo added penalty conversions to extend Italyโ€™s lead to 21-7, with just under 7 minutes left on the clock.

The home side quickly responded through Rowlands darting over in the 79th minute, with Costelow converting to bring the scores to 24-13 with just over a minute left.

With the clock now in the red, Grady pushed for one last attempt to bridge the gap. He delivered an astounding grubber kick after breaking through Italyโ€™s defences, before touching down under the sticks.

Nevertheless, the opportunity to convert came too late. The scores concluded at 21-24, with Wales awarded the Wooden Spoon for the first time since 2003, and Italy securing two wins and a draw to make their most successfuly Six Nations campaign ever!

Fantastic work from Italy!

#2. Ireland vs Scotland ( 17-13)

The luck of the Shamrock was on Ireland’s side last Saturday as Andy Farrell’s team claimed back-to-back Six Nations titles for the third time in their history, putting an end to Scotland’s campaign as the scores concluded 17-13 in Ireland’s favour.

Despite missing out on the opportunity to secure back-to-back grand slam wins after narrowly losing to England in Round 4, Ireland returned to face the Scots with a newfound determination.

Most notably, tries by way of hooker Dan Sheehan and loosehead prop Andrew Porter, alongside seven points from the boot of Jack Crowley was what ultimately concluded Ireland’s victory, with Scotland’s Finn Russell having responded with two penalties and a late Huw Jones try.

With Ireland emerging victorious, despite having missed out on repeat Grand Slams, the end of the 2024 Championship marks their sixth in the Six Nations era, and fifth in the last 11 years, with 19 outright championship successes.

As it Happened:

The match ignited with Scotland seizing control from the get-go. Finn Russell’s precise penalty kick, a result of Ireland’s James Lowe’s infraction for crawling with the ball, nudged Scotland into an early 3-0 lead.

But soon, the momentum shifted. Crowley and Lowe orchestrated a counterattack, applying immense pressure deep within Scotland’s territory, inching closer to the coveted 22-yard line.

A well-timed offside penalty against Scotland gifted Ireland a prime opportunity. They capitalized on it brilliantly, opting for a strategic kick to the corner. What followed was sheer brilliance: Dan Sheehan’s unexpected try, orchestrated through a masterful lineout move within Scotland’s 22.

Scotland, undeterred, swiftly retaliated after a lackluster clearance kick from Ireland’s Jamison Gibson-Park. Sensing an opening, they pounced on Joe McCarthy’s offside position, narrowing the scoreline to a mere point at 7-6.

The subsequent moments saw both teams showcasing their defensive prowess, with Crowley’s missed penalty attempt keeping the first half tantalizingly close.

As the second half commenced, Ireland emerged rejuvenated. A breathtaking offload from Lowe sent Bundee Aki surging into Scotland’s 22, igniting hopes of another try. Yet, Scotland’s steadfast defense held firm until they conceded a breakdown penalty, allowing Crowley to extend Ireland’s lead to 10-6.

Despite Scotland’s dominant scrum penalty and territorial gains, a critical error from Jordan Larmour near the try-line dashed their hopes of a breakthrough.

With the clock ticking, Ireland intensified their assault. But despite numerous opportunities, including missed chances by Furlong and Ringrose, they struggled to break through Scotland’s resilient defense.

Their frustration mounted, but with just 16 minutes remaining, Ireland seized a pivotal moment. Center Robbie Henshaw burst through Scotland’s defensive line, seemingly destined for glory.

However, in a breathtaking display of determination, Scotland’s Cameron Redpath thwarted Henshaw’s advance, denying Ireland the crucial try, as confirmed by the TMO review.

Prior to this pivotal play, Scotland’s indiscipline cost them dearly, conceding three penalties that led to hooker Ewan Ashman being sin-binned.

Capitalising on their numerical advantage, Ireland wasted no time in exploiting the gap, as Porter surged over the line following a precise five-meter attack and an expert flick-pass from Ronan Kelleher.

Crowley’s successful conversion narrowed the scoreline to 17-6. Yet, Ireland’s grip on victory remained uncertain, as Huw Jones’s electrifying sprint in the 77th minute and Harry Byrne’s subsequent sin bin for a high tackle on Russell injected late drama into the contest.

Despite these setbacks, Ireland remained composed and calculated. Their methodical approach paid off as they forced a critical knock-on, reclaiming possession following the restart. With time running out, Ireland held firm, securing their hard-fought victory.

#3. France vs England (33-31)

A close call for France saw Steve Borthwick’s best denied the coveted second place spot at this year’s Six Nations as Thomas Ramos edged Les Bleus towards a 33-31 victory over England, bumping Borthwick’s side to a respectable third place.

Despite England’s triumph in being the first to put points on the scoreboard by way of a George Ford penalty, it was France who held the reigns for the majority of the first half as Ramos delivered three penalties and Nolann Le Garrec’s sensational converted try gave Les Bleus the lead.

England weren’t without their moments however, as they hit back just before half time by way of Ollie Lawrence, followed by a Ford conversion to reduce the defecit to just 6 points by half time, bringing the scores to 16-10.

The momentum ensued after the break as England delivered two converted tries within the sapce of just six minutes from Lawrence and Marcus Smith that saw Borthwick’s side obtain a 24-16 advantage.

Undetterred, Les Bleus shortly hit back through Leo Barre’s converted effort to bridgethe gap to just one point.

It was Gael Fickou who bolstered his efforts to bring France back ahead, with Ramos close behind, however his missed penalty opportunity spurred England to hit back through Freeman and Ford for a sensational conversion to bring them to a 31-30 lead.

The almost-certain victory for England was cut short in the closing moments of the game as a Ramos penalty from the halfway line saw France clinch a 33-31 victory, firmly securing the second place spot in the Six Nations.

As it Happened:

A fast-paced start saw the momentum swing like a pendulum as both England and France sought to assert their dominance in the opening moments of the game, as Marcus Smith engaged in the fullback position in place of George Furbank after sustaining a calf injury.

While France applied the pressure, England withstood, becoming the first to make their way onto the scoreboard as Ford chipped one over.

Ramos soon hit back with a penalty of his own, with Le Garrec following up in the ’20 to give the home side the advantage, the scoreboard reading 10-3.

As Franceโ€™s momentum surged, England managed to withstand the onslaught. However, it wasnโ€™t long before a penalty by Ramos widened the gap. The ball soared over the posts, extending Les Bleusโ€™ lead to 13-3 with just 10 minutes remaining in the first half.

The away side continued to dominate the breakdown, exposing vulnerabilities in Englandโ€™s formation and setting the stage for Ramos to take another shot.

Yet, amidst the mounting pressure, England found a glimmer of hope. A series of penalties put them in an advantageous position, allowing Lawrence to exploit a gap and dart under the posts, bringing the scores to 16-10 in favour of France at halftime.

As the second half began, England appeared to be on form as the visitors inititiated a series of attacks that saw Underhill and Earl combine efforts to send Ollie Lawrence powering over for his second try, with Ford converting for a 17-16 lead.

Radiating a sense of new-found confidence, it was Marcus Smith who delivered England’s second try just six minutes into the second half, with Ford converting once more to place England 8 points in front as the scoreboard read 24-16.

Les Bleus were quick to respond however, as a series of multiple passes sent Barre over, with Ramos converting to bridge the gap to just one point.

Further dissapointment struck for England shortly after as a poor lineout throw saw their defences shaken as Damian Penaud and Fickau monopoloised on Smith’s mistakes to combine, with Fickou diving under the posts to place 6 points up, placing France in the lead at 30-24 with just 20 minutes on the clock.

A Tommy Freeman interception soon set pulses racing as his attempt hit hte ground, delivering Ramos with yet another penalty, however failed to send it over, with 6 points being all to play for.

In a twist of fate, it was Freeman who delivered the passing move to place England within just a single point, with Ford delivering an exceptional conversion for a 31-30 lead.

However a late penalty for France saw Ramos send the ball over the sticks, sealing the victory at 33-31, earning them a second place standing after Ireland.

The Final Standings:

As the Six Nations championship concludes for another year, the scores are in! With Ireland on a roll with their back-to-back wins, will they be able to do the same next year?

Time will tell, but for now, that’s all from us here at The Full 80!

Missed out on Week 4?

We’ve got you covered! Check out our Week 4 Recap of the 2024 Six Nations Championship now.

By Peter Wakeford

Just your everyday grassroots guru. I'm here to sprinkle some sportsy magic on your day with the latest boot drops, guides, news, and a dash of quirky humor. Let's lace up and have a laugh on this sporting adventure!