Six Nations

Six Nations Rugby
Johnny Sexton celebrates his crucial drop-goal against France. Picture: AFP/Getty

Allan Massie: Last word on Six Nations belongs to Sexton

Two kicks by Johnny Sexton and one pass by Finn Russell will be remembered for a long time. Sexton’s drop-goal against France deep into what we used to call injury time not only won that match; it set Ireland on the way to their Grand Slam. His second kick was that steepling Garryowen which enabled Gary Ringrose to touch down for Ireland’s first try at Twickenham. The pass was, of course, Finn Russell’s audacious one against England which set Huw Jones off on a run which a moment later saw Russell put Sean Maitland over in the corner for a 
second Scottish try.

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Greig Laidlaw blocked out distraction to kick Scotland into third

Scotland finished the Six Nations in third place with three wins to their credit, although that didn’t look likely for much of Saturday’s game in Rome. The Scots ended this tournament as they had started it, playing badly, and
it took two tries in the final quarter, the first by Sean Maitland, the 
second by Stuart Hogg, to secure 
victory.

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Scotland due applause for progress, but more is needed

Gregor Townsend can be justifiably proud of his first Six Nations season finishing above England and France even if two of Scotland’s three victories owed little to his running rugby philosophy. Certainly Townsend would have bitten your arm off if you’d offered him three wins after the final whistle in Cardiff.

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Sean Maitland dives over to score Scotland's third try during the win over Italy in Rome.''Picture: Ian Rutherford

Iain Morrison: Where does Italy win leave Scotland?

It was impossible not to feel a smidgen of sympathy for Italy coach Conor O’Shea, who looked like a badly beaten dog that has had a bone snatched from its jaws just when it thought its luck had turned. Italy bossed much of this match and led from the 13th to the 72nd minute only to see that elusive win slip through their fingers again.

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Scotland head coach Gregor Townsend during the captain's run at the Stadio Olimpico in Rome.''Picture: Ian Rutherford

Allan Massie: Scotland have a secure defence, Italy don’t

It didn’t feel like a 20-point defeat. There was, I think, general agreement about this. Nevertheless the score that will stand in the records is Ireland 28, Scotland 8, and, unless we beat Italy in Rome today, we’ll have gone another season without winning an away game in the Six Nations. Of course, neither have France nor Wales, though France have a chance to do so in Cardiff this evening. Home dominance has been a feature of the tournament, no away wins being recorded in the last three rounds. This may change today.

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Ireland skipper Rory Best during the captain's run at Twickenham. Picture: PA

Ireland aim to fulfil grand ambition at Twickenham

At around a quarter to five this St Patrick’s Day afternoon, Ireland’s players will climb a podium in the middle of England’s home pitch at Twickenham and receive their Six Nations winners’ medals in shirt-number order, with the captain Rory Best held back to be presented with the Championship trophy.

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