Explosive Ireland raise the Six Nations trophy following Grand Slam glory

After a convincing victory 24-15 over England at Twickenham on Saturday, Ireland took home both the trophy and the coveted Grand Slam title – only the third in their history.

Ireland’s St Patrick’s Day win seemed inevitable this year, with their team looking the strongest from the outset following Johnny Sexton’s spectacular last-minute drop goal against France in the competition’s opening weekend.

Wins from Wales and Scotland put the final nail in England’s coffin, giving them a fifth place finish – their worst position in 35 years.

 

The disappointing result was met with concern from fans – England hadn’t lost at Twickenham in the Six Nations since 2012 before this year’s tournament – especially considering the high hopes that had previously been held for the side going into the summer tests in South Africa, and next year’s World Cup in Tokyo.

England head coach Eddie Jones sparked rumours that some current players could be dropped from the squad following this year’s tournament.

Speaking after Saturday’s loss, he said: “It’s been complex. We’re playing without five top back-rowers and other injuries.

“Some guys have come in and done really well, and some may struggle to participate in the future. We have to get a greater depth to our squad that can play test rugby.”

Wales just about held on for a narrow 14-13 win over France at the Millennium Stadium after a missed French penalty sealed their fate and sent them into fourth place behind Scotland.

Overall, France looked the stronger team but made some frantic mistakes to give Warren Gatland’s Welsh squad the edge – and payback after the 100 minute debacle that was last year’s game.

It was heartbreak for Italy as they lost 27-29 to Scotland in Rome to take the wooden spoon for a third consecutive year, leaving Scotland to slide into third place – one up from last year – after Greig Laidlaw’s 78th minute penalty.