Wales 24 v Ireland 25
I don’t know where to start or finish on this game! My heart rate is climbing again just writing about the game and what a game it was. If anyone gets a chance to view the last 15 minutes of this then it’s a must see. It had everything barring a Welsh victory, which they contrived to throw away after an heroic fight back.
Ireland led 19-7 midway through the second half and blew a chance to score a try to put the game away. The Welsh then really came at the Irish and seem to break through with every run. Ireland managed to hold onto a 22-14 lead with 10 minutes left.
The Welsh surged forward and scored a converted try to leave a point difference with time running out. Normal time was up when Jones (Welsh fly-half) dropped a goal to take the lead and the stadium erupted. The TV I was watching got a full volley of abuse that turned the air blue (wife and mother didn’t even reprimand me as experience had taught them better!).
A replay of the kick just made me angrier, and when they returned to the action O’Kelly had won the kick-off ball and O’Gara was slotting the drop goal over.
Queue more jumping and shouting around the TV, had we managed to pull it out of the fire? Well the referee was a sadist who insisted on playing another 5 minutes of injury time, which of course the Welsh dominated and had two more attempts at dropping another goal; the final one was blocked down by Hickey.
My heart just about held out. What a finale!
The much-praised Irish defence being shot to pieces by the Welsh who scored 3 tries.
The ‘was the referee playing advantage to the Welsh at the death for a penalty or a scrum?’ debate.
The state of the health in Ireland after enduring that finale…
Why weren’t the Welsh producing this type of performance all along?
The best game of the six nations so far.
England 40 Scotland 9
England proved far too strong for the Scots in this and ran out easy winners, dominating the final hour of the game and scoring four tries to nil. This was their best performance so far and augurs well for the final game on Sunday.
Are the English peaking at the right time?
Italy 27 v France 53
The French romped out to a 41-10 half-time lead and a huge score looked on. However once again the Italians didn’t throw the towel in and battled back.
They dominated the final half hour and credit must go to coach Kirwan for keeping them going. In previous years they would simply have folded. Now they need to get stuck into the game from the start and not let teams overrun them in the beginning.
The flair of the French at last – where has it been all along?
Was it just a coincidence that Castignade played from the start? I think not!
The battling qualities of the Italians – not seen in previous years!
The Final Week
What does it hold?
Well an easy victory for France over Wales in Paris for starters.
Then Scotland take on Italy at Murrayfield and home advantage should see them through, though this could be close.
On Sunday it the big decider at Lansdowne Road for the winner-takes-all Grand Slam and title. The English will come as strong favourites after last week’s performances and will be expected to win (by everyone bar the Irish). However they have bottled the 3 slams and need this one.
The fact it’s in Dublin on what is likely to be a damp day will benefit the Irish and level the playing field somewhat.
The Irish will need to free themselves of the nervousness of last week and being underdogs certainly suits them better.
Let’s hope it a game to remember and a fitting finale to the championship! Oh and of course an Irish victory…