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The 2015 Six Nations championship will be remembered for the final, and fifth round when three nations (England, Ireland, and Wales) fought until the last minute to determine the winner. Not only did the finalists have to win their matches, they had to pile on the points. Staggered start times added tension and drama to the memorable finale.
The week before, pundits complained about the scoring of a dismal 2.9 tries per game in the tournament. But these “experts” had to eat those analyses when a record 27 tries were scored on the last day, the match results exceeding 200 total points.
At day’s end, Ireland won its second Six Nations title in a row (Both on points differential) by defeating Scotland 40-10, the 30 points margin of victory taking them clear of second place England by six points.
Ireland 4-1 +63
England 4-1 +57
Wales 4-1 +53
Unravel the Day – Chronology
Wales and Italy began the day in Rome, and, at the break, Wales were leading 14-13, their chances for a big scoring win hindered by Italian defense. But then, to the surprise of everyone, the Taffies erupted with 47 second half points to triumph 61-20, and pick up 41 points with a 7 try bonanza. Only after the day, would Welsh fans regret the late in the game Italian try by Italy’s Leonardo Sarto that decreased the winning margin by 7 points.
The Irish realized they needed a big win to surpass Wales’s 53 point differential, mathematically, requiring a 21 point win to give them 54 points, one more than Wales. Under the splendid leadership of Captain Paul O’Connell (51st cap), Ireland pummeled last place Scotland 40-10, exceeding the total needed to advance to the top by ten points over Wales.
A packed house at Twickenham understood that for England to take the title, it needed a 27 point victory over France, the strongest opponent of the day for the title contenders. Coach Stuart Lancaster’s side battled bravely to the end scoring 12 tries and winning 55-35 (20 points). This represented the fourth successive years the Red Roses were runners up, the last three on points’ differential.
Record setting numbers
The television viewership set new records for Six Nations games. England France generated 9.63 million. Scotland and Ireland 5.1 million. Italy versus Wales 4.1 million. Further, BBC online recorded 8.2 million unique visitors, and 4.4 million mobile browsers, both records.
It proved to be a great day for European rugby as millions of fans waited all day for the final outcome. And it also served as an involving beginning for autumn’s Rugby World Cup in England and Wales.