The tournament has seen some enthralling matches take place. Here are just a selection.
Six Nations Greatest Matches
What are the greatest matches to take place during the Six Nations? There have been titanic matchups, Grand Slam deciders and absolute try-fests to choose from and in this piece we have made our selections for the greatest Six Nations matches ever. Are there any we have missed? Do not hesitate to let us know via our social media channels.
Six Nations Greatest Matches
Heading into the final match of the 2009 tournament, Ireland were the side going for the Grand Slam but their task was difficult as they headed to Cardiff. It proved to be a close and physical contest as Wales continued to rack up points thanks to the boot of Stephen Jones, whereas Ireland had to rely on the genius of Brian O’Driscoll and a brilliant try by Tommy Bowe. Into the final stages of the match Jones again used his boot to knock over a drop-goal with little time remaining, and yet with a couple of minutes to go, Ronan O’Gara did the same to give the Irish a 17-15 lead.
Unbelievably the Welsh were awarded a penalty just inside the Irish half which Jones left just short. The final-whistle blown and the Irish had a famous win and their first Grand Slam since 1948.
Stephen Jones was once again involved in the 2005 matchup with the French. Les Bleus has surged to a 15-6 lead going into half-time but a Martyn Williams double inside the first five minutes of the second-half got the Welsh back in the match. From that point Jones and Dimitri Yachvili shared points from the boot before Jones knocked over a drop-goal with five minutes to go. Of course the Welsh would go on to win their first Grand Slam since 1978 a few weeks later.
In the very first mach of the 2000 Six Nations, and Italy’s first contest in the competition, Italy pulled off a stunning victory over Scotland in Rome, largely thanks to the boot of Diego Dominguez. In all he collected 29 points on that day – six penalties, three drop-goals and one conversion.
Thanks to a couple of tries and the kicking of Chris Paterson and Dan Parks, it looked as if Scotland had secured a shocking victory at the Millennium Stadium. However the Welsh had different ideas heading into the final 5 minutes. In that small amount of time, Leigh Halfpenny scored a try, Stephen Jones knocked over a penalty and then Shane Williams scored the winning try in front of a raucous crowd in Cardiff.
In both the 2000 and 2001 Six Nations Championships, England had been denied Grand Slams after losing to the Scottish and Irish in the final matches of each tournament. However in 2003, they were not to be denied as captain Martin Johnson set the tone before a tackle was made. Usually the Irish lined up on the left hand side because it was said to be their ‘lucky side’, and yet Johnson and the England team lined up there. When asked to move, Johnson rejected the request. This also caused controversy because the President of Ireland had to walk on the pitch and not the red-carpet.
Indeed none of this misguided England’s intentions for the match as they totally destroyed the Irish 42-6 with Jonny Wilkinson in particular in imperious form. England had secured the Grand Slam and would go on to win the Rugby World Cup in Australia later that year.
Facing a 12-point deficit, the Italians bid farewell to the Stadio Flaminio in perfect fashion coming back to shock the French by one-point. The accurate kicking of Mirco Bergamasco proved to be the difference on that day.
Earlier in the day Wales and Ireland both been victorious in their matches which left England with the task of having to beat France by 26 points to seal the title.
At one point this looked totally improbable, France were winning 15-7, but England came back to win by 55-35 points in a pulsating affair. 12 tries were scored during the match and this was the most points England had ever scored against France. However it proved to be six points short as Ireland were champions.