Ireland captain Paul O’Connell admitted his side’s European experience put them in pole position to win the RBS 6 Nations title after they thrashed Scotland 40-10 at Murrayfield.
The reigning Six Nations champions knew they needed to win by at least 21 points after Wales blew Italy away 61-20 in Rome – and their 30-point margin of victory in Edinburgh meant England had to beat France by 26 points at Twickenham on the final game of ’Super Saturday’.
“It was very muted at the end of the game because it’s going to be an exciting and nervous afternoon,” O’Connell told BBC One.
“We’ve been fairly focused all week on how we were going to start the game and we were just trying to win it.
“We have a lot experience from the Heineken Cup and the Champions Cup where you go into the last two games and never want to chase a bonus point. You want to win the game first and that’s what we were trying to do.
“We showed that by taking a few kicks, we didn’t kick them all but we had a target to hit at half-time and we got there.”
O’Connell scored the first of Ireland’s four tries as winless Scotland were condemned to the Wooden Spoon, with flanker Sean O’Brien crossing twice and Jared Payne also going over to end Welsh hopes of winning the title.
O’Brien, who was named man of the match, said: “I think we executed very well and did all we could do – and hopefully it goes our way.
“It was important we came out and expressed ourselves. Driving into the ground and seeing all the Irish support put a chill up our backs.
“We had to go out and stick to our process, try and win the game first and foremost and let the scoreboard look after itself.”