How Ireland retained their title in a staggering Six Nations finale

How Ireland retained their title in a staggering Six Nations finale

Today's staggered finale of the RBS 6 Nations began with four teams - England, Wales, Ireland and France - in contention for the title.

Here we map out how the day unfolded.

1230: Italy v Wales kicks-off at the Stadio Olimpico

Wales needed to overhaul a 25-point deficit to England and 21-point deficit to Ireland to have any hope of a third title in four years.

How Ireland retained their title in a staggering Six Nations finale

1232: Warren Gatland's men fall behind in Rome as Italy kick an early penalty to take the lead.

1255: Giovanbattista Venditti's converted try cancels out Jamie Roberts' score and restores Italy's lead.

1318: A Dan Biggar penalty ensures Wales take a one-point half-time lead, 14-13.

1340: Liam Williams scores a try, converted by Biggar, to enhance Wales' advantage.

1343: George North scores a try to give Wales renewed hope of the landslide victory required. He would score two more.

1418: Leonardo Sarto scores a consolation try in the 79th-minute and Luciano Orquera converts from the touchline, to aid Irish and English hopes.

How Ireland retained their title in a staggering Six Nations finale

1419: Full-time: Italy 20 Wales 61

Seven second-half tries for Wales gives them a 16-point advantage over England and 20-point lead over Ireland. The Welsh win also knocks France out of title contention.

1430: Scotland v Ireland kicks-off at Murrayfield.

Ireland knew they had to win by at least 21 points to have any hope of retaining their title against a side seeking a victory to avoid the wooden spoon.

1434: The visitors and made a fine start, with captain Paul O'Connell barging over and Johnny Sexton converting for 7-0 after five minutes.

How Ireland retained their title in a staggering Six Nations finale

1454: Sean O'Brien scores Ireland's second try to give the visitors a 17-3 lead.

1500: Scotland fly-half Finn Russell darts in and Greig Laidlaw converts.

1517: Ireland lead hosts Scotland 20-10 at half-time, trailing Wales by a difference of 10 points.

1538: Jared Payne's converted score brings Ireland closer to Wales.

1542: Sexton misses a penalty and the chance to give Ireland a 23-point lead and three point advantage over Wales.

1546: Geoff Cross is sin-binned for Scotland, giving Ireland a numerical advantage, but Sexton misses another chance to give his side the championship lead.

1552: Finally Sexton kicks Ireland 33-10 ahead in Edinburgh and in front of Wales in the overall standings.

How Ireland retained their title in a staggering Six Nations finale

1605: O'Brien's second try enhances Ireland's advantage and Ian Madigan converts for a 40-10 lead with seven minutes to go.

1609: Jamie Heaslip makes a try-saving tackle on Scotland full-back Stuart Hogg, dislodging the ball to preserve Ireland's advantage.

1614: Full-time: Scotland 10 Ireland 40

Madigan misses a late penalty, but Ireland move into pole position for the title. Scotland finish with the wooden spoon.

1700: England v France kicks-off at Twickenham

After three successive second-placed finishes, Stuart Lancaster was hoping for his first Six Nations title as England head coach. The hosts knew they had to beat France by a margin of 26 points or more.

How Ireland retained their title in a staggering Six Nations finale

1702: England make a dream start as Jonathan Joseph, Mike Brown and George Ford combine in a scintillating break down the right before Ben Youngs takes an inside pass to cross over the whitewash. Ford adds the conversion to make it 7-0.

1707: Ford misses a long-range penalty attempt and the chance to give England a 10-point advantage in the seventh minute.

1712: France fly-half Jules Plisson has no such issues from the tee and makes it 7-3 with his own penalty.

1715: Sebastien Tillous-Borde takes advantage of a calamitous England mix-up to run in uncontested from deep and put France into an 8-7 lead. Plisson misses the conversion.

1719: France wing Noa Nakaitaci breaks clear down the left wing for what should have been an easy try, but it ended up being awarded contentiously as the television match official was required to confirm he had not stepped over the dead-ball line before grounding it. This time Plisson adds the extras to make it 15-7.

1736: Ford reduces the arrears to five points with a successful penalty attempt for England.

1740: Anthony Watson goes through in the corner after the television match official ruled in England's favour after a scrappy breakdown battle. Ford adds the extras to put England back in front 17-15.

1746: Ben Youngs adds his second try of the game with a neat dart round the fringes to go in under the posts. Ford makes no mistakes with the conversion to give England a 24-15 lead.

1754: Ford adds a penalty to make it 27-15 at half-time.

1809: France get back in it right at the start of the second half, with Maxime Mermoz jinking over and Plisson adding the extras to cut England's lead to 27-22.

1813: Ford goes in under the posts after a surging break and restores England's lead to 12 points at 34-22 by adding the conversion.

1820: Rory Kockott converts a penalty attempt off the post, but they all count as France cut England's lead back to nine points.

1822: But Jack Nowell provides the perfect response, crossing for his second try of the tournament as England stretch out to 41-25 with Ford's subsequent conversion.

1826: James Haskell is sent to the sin bin after senselessly tripping Plisson.

1830: France take full advantage with prop Vincent Debaty going in at the corner after a clever burst from Nakaitaci. Kockott misses the conversion but England now need 15 points in 20 minutes to usurp Ireland.

1835: Billy Vunipola crashes over under the posts, with Ford converting, to give England a target of eight points in 15 minutes to win the tournament - providing they can keep the French out at the other end that is.

1837: Predictably, they are unable to. French substitute hooker Benjamin Kayser dots down at the back of a rolling maul to make it 48-35 after Kockott was unable to add the extras.

1847: Nowell breaks off his wing and links up with Ford to go over for his second try of the game. The Bath and England fly-half makes it 55-35 with five minutes remaining and takes his personal tally to 19 points. What. A. Game.

How Ireland retained their title in a staggering Six Nations finale

1855: Full-time: England 55 France 35

Ireland retain the Six Nations crown as England fall six points short after a remarkable contest at Twickenham on a truly extraordinary day of rugby.

How Ireland retained their title in a staggering Six Nations finale

Cue the celebrations from the Irish team and fans in Murrayfield.

How Ireland retained their title in a staggering Six Nations finale

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