Even the most die-hard Wales fans could not have envisaged the outcome of Saturday’s Six Nations title decider. With England going into the match aiming for the first Grand Slam in a decade, it was Wales who recorded their biggest win in over 130 years and confirmed their status as the top nation in the northern hemisphere.
From the moment the Welsh players stepped through the flames and onto the pitch, the sense of occasion clearly swung in their favour. With the roof closed this provided an even more imposing and intense atmosphere, one which ten of the England starting line-up had never experienced before and will certainly never forget.
It is hard to believe that the scoreline was only 9-3 at half-time but come the final whistle and three tries ensured Wales retained their Six Nations title in style. Although all the praise has been deservedly directed towards the Welsh players and their coaches, it should be remembered that their team contained over 350 more caps and England have still come a long way with a relatively young team which will surely gain much from this years competition.
In what was effectively a one sided match for a majority of the game, no one can argue that Wales did not deserve to claim their fourth championship in nine years. The only blemish being that a Grand Slam was well within their grasp had they not collapsed themselves at the hands of Ireland on the opening weekend.
Elsewhere in the Six Nations and there was still plenty to play for as several countries were battling hard to avoid being awarded the wooden spoon on the final weekend of action. First up and Italy continued on from the impressive performance against England the previous weekend by defeating Ireland 22-15 on a sunny day in Rome. With Brian O’Driscoll playing what could be his last game for Ireland, the Azzurri tasted their first victory over the Irish in a game which was marred by ill-discipline from the men in green. Take nothing away from Italy though as they recorded only their second brace of victories in the Six Nations and followed up their opening week defeat of France.
The final game of the 2013 Six Nations saw France entertain Scotland in what would be the decider for the wooden spoon. Simply put, France needed to emerge victorious by at least 17 points to avoid claiming this unenviable title. Although France did record their first victory of the competition, a 23-16 win was not enough for Les Bleus as they suffered the embarassment of receiving their first wooden spoon in front of their home fans. For Scotland, despite the defeat they finished third overall and their best effort since 2006 and so this years campaign shows plenty of room for encouragement.
With the 2013 Six Nations now over, all eyes will all be on the British & Irish Lions tour of Australia this summer. With the squad set to be announced soon, then it will probably come as no surprise that the squad will be dominated by Welsh players after their recent performances. The all-important captains role will also provide plenty of opinions as players and fans alike prepare for one of the greatest sporting spectacles in the world.
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