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Looking back at the 2019 Six Nations Championship

Posted on December 05, 2019 by Magdalena Rapala

For rugby fans, the year drawing to a close signals that the next Six Nations Championship is not far away. The countdown to everyone’s favorite annual international rugby tournament has begun again. In 2019, the Rugby World Cup offered an added bonus, but now that the dust has settled on a cracking tournament in Japan, attention is being turned to the bread and butter of the Six Nations.

It seems an age since Wales won the Grand Slam at the 2019 Six Nations. As we gear up for another campaign, let’s take a look back at some of the highlights from the last edition of the tournament.

Grand Slam glory for Wales

The 2019 Six Nations was a golden one for Wales and their coach Warren Gatland. They sealed a third Grand Slam success under Gatland’s leadership with a 25-7 win over Ireland in Cardiff. It was a well-deserved triumph, as Wales blew away all opposition before them. 

The campaign began with a Friday night fixture against France, an absorbing contest which Wales won 24-19. From there the momentum grew and grew as Italy, England and Scotland were all dispatched before Wales humbled the Irish to claim the trophy. 

Captain Alun Wyn Jones won the Player of the Championship award for his inspirational performances in the front row. Although Wales scored significantly fewer points than second-placed England throughout the tournament, their stellar defensive performances were a cut above the rest of the field, conceding just 65 points across their five matches. 

Back down to earth for Ireland

Ireland were the defending Grand Slam champions heading into the tournament, but their hopes of a repeat were dashed in the first match. England came to the Aviva Stadium and put on a clinic in beating the home side 32-20. 

Although Ireland won their next three matches, they looked a shadow of the team from 12 months before. By the time the final match came around in Cardiff, Joe Schmidt’s side were still in with an outside chance of winning the Championship if they could defeat Wales. But it was a limp Irish performance as they succumbed to a Wales side who were superior in every department. 

Thriller at Twickenham

One of the highlights of the tournament was the very last match, in which England faced Scotland at Twickenham to slog it out for the Calcutta Cup. Wales had already secured the Grand Slam earlier that day, so it was a chance for both sides to really go for each other. 

England dominated the early exchanges, scoring four tries in establishing a 31-0 lead. A charge-down from Stuart McInally brought a try for Scotland five minutes before half-time and from there the momentum turned. Scotland came out all guns blazing in the second half, and by the 60-minute mark they had drawn level as the Twickenham crowd looked on in disbelief.

The visitors thought they had done the unthinkable when they took the lead through a Sam Johnson try four minutes before time. But it wasn’t meant to be, as George Ford’s last-gasp try ensured a share of the spoils in a dramatic 38-38 final score.

The 2020 Six Nations is sure to throw up more memorable moments, with World Cup runners up England the current favorites to lift the trophy in Six Nations odds from Betfair. Given the drama and entertainment the competition has produced over the years, it’s no surprise that rugby fans look forward to the Six Nations with so much anticipation every year. 

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