Friday, March 26, 2021

Wales wins the Six Nations Championship

Well, they had a lot of drama in this year's Six Nations Rugby Championship.  Six Nations Rugby is probably the closest thing you'll find in the rest of the world to SEC football, and this year's version was even more dramatic.  Here's what happened:

In the first round, played on February 7, France crushed Italy 50-10, Scotland stunned England 11-6, and Wales squeezed past Ireland 21-16, largely because an Irish player was thrown out of the game.

In the second round, played on February 13 and 14, England crushed Italy 41-18, France edged Ireland 15-13, and Wales squeezed past Scotland 25-24, largely because a Scottish player was thrown out of the game.

In the third round, played on February 27, Ireland crushed Italy 48-10, and Wales hammered England 40-24, largely because Wales was a much better team on the night.  The match between France and Scotland was postponed due to COVID issues.

In the fourth round, played on March 13 and 14, Wales crushed Italy 48-7, England edged France 23-20, and Ireland slipped past Scotland 27-24.

So that brought us to the fifth round, which is normally the conclusion of the Six Nations.  At this point Wales was 4-0 and France was 2-1.  No one else could catch Wales.  If Wales beat France, they would have a "Grand Slam" (a sweep of England, France, Ireland, and Scotland) and they would win the title.  If France beat Wales, the title would be decided by the France/Scotland game that had been postponed.  All over Britain, the non-Welsh fans complained that Wales had been lucky to get past Ireland and Scotland, and the Welsh fans complained that everyone else wasn't giving them enough credit.  Over here, I thought Wales should be more focused on France.

In the fifth round, played on March 20 and 21, Scotland crushed Italy 52-10, Ireland smashed England 32-18, and Wales led France 30-27 in injury time.  France was down to 14 men, but Wales was down to 13 men (welcome to France!)  Sure enough, France scored a very late try to beat Wales 32-30.

Anguish across Wales.  Joy in France.  Confusion in America, where France would normally have the tie-breaker since it won the head-to-head matchup.  But they do these things differently in Europe.  To win the title, France needed to beat Scotland tonight, in Paris, by more than 20 points -- and it also needed to score a bonus point for scoring four tries.

Of course, the Welsh spent the whole week in despair.  Scotland had not won in Paris for 22 years.  But on the night, Scotland was magnificent.  Not only did France fail to win by 20 points, it failed to win at all.  Scotland pulled out a 27-23 victory with a late try, and Wales didn't need to rely on the tie-breaker after all.

Here are the final standings in one of the most dramatic Six Nations ever played.  (You get four points for a win, two points for a draw, plus a bonus point for scoring four or more tries in a match or losing by seven points or fewer):

1.  Wales:  4-1-0 (4 bonus points) (20 points)
2.  France:  3-2-0 (4 bonus points) (16 points)
3.  Ireland:  3-2-0 (3 bonus points) (15 points) (point differential of 48)
4.  Scotland:  3-2-0 (3 bonus points) (15 points) (point differential of 43)
5.  England:  2-3-0 (2 bonus points) (10 points)
6.  Itlay:  0-5-0 (0 bonus points) (0 points)

1 comment:

  1. Good for Wales! I saw this was on TV late last night and nearly tuned in, but, instead, we watched Gilmore Girls and Friends reruns. They were great, too.