For a second straight year Ireland come out on top of the Six Nations tournament, showing they mean business on a World Cup year, edging out England and Wales thanks to point differentials, beating Scotland by 30 points on the final day to claim their third championship in the Six Nations era.
England finished in a weird manner. They beat France by 20 points in Paris, an impressive achievement regardless of the date or the form the French are in, and still finished the tournament disappointed because of their 19-9 loss in Ireland, not the first time a Grand Slam, Triple Crown and overall perfection or title have been ruined for them in Dublin.
In terms of scoring, England were on top of the table with 157 points (including 55 in their Parisian win) and the most tries, at 18. Their players also led the individual charts, with George Ford finishing with 75 points throughout the tournament and Jonathan Joseph leading the try tables with four. No one from Ireland, France, Scotland and Italy had more than two tries in this championship.
In terms of wins and points, England lead the way, but since the change to a six-nation format, France have won the title more times than anyone (five). The difference between France and England is what happens when they don’t win the title. France, as it’s been for the last two seasons, usually fall flat on their face during their worse years. England have been one win or a few more points shy of taking titles over the last few years ever since their last triumph in the 2011 tournament, leading to a disappointing World Cup.
As for the bottom of the group? For a rare sixth time, Italy have managed to escape finishing with the wooden spoon despite a -120 points difference in their matches, beaten by 30 points against England in week 2 and demolished by Wales in the final weekend of play, losing 61-20 at home.
Scotland kept it close in most of their matches, finishing with a -55 point differential, but five losses are five losses, and keeping things close with England, France and Wales doesn’t help them get out of the slump Scottish Rugby is in, not winning the Six Nations since the move to this format, and waiting for their first title since 1999.