England missed out on the chance to claim a second successive Six Nations Grand Slam title and set a new world record on Saturday evening (18 March) as they suffered their first defeat under Eddie Jones in Dublin.
Ireland once again relished their role as party poopers at the Aviva Stadium, with Iain Henderson's first-half try and eight points from the boot of Johnny Sexton ensuring that the visitors did not surpass New Zealand with a 19th consecutive Test victory and fell short of achieving another Triple Crown. The 13-9 win also saw Joe Schmidt's men finish the competition as runners-up.
Sexton and Owen Farrell exchanged early penalties, before Henderson clambered over the line from three metres out after an effective rolling maul to give dominant Ireland a deserved 10-3 lead. They would hold that seven-point advantage until 11 minutes after the interval, when Farrell dispatched a long-range kick despite a difficult wind.
Sexton, who was subject to a debatable late hit from Tom Wood, then nailed a difficult 50m penalty after Maro Itoje had strayed offside. Farrell's next successful effort from the tee after Ireland were penalised at the maul brought England back to within four points with 14 minutes still to play.
Man of the Match Peter O'Mahony, a late addition to Schmidt's starting XV following an injury sustained by Jamie Heaslip, then crucially stole a Jamie George lineout as underwhelming England tried and failed to gain any real late momentum in attack.
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With tournament success already wrapped up courtesy of last weekend's evisceration of Scotland at Twickenham, England paraded the trophy after the full-time whistle. However, there was more than a slightly hollow air to those celebrations as the players no doubt pondered what they had just let slip their fingers. It is the third time that Ireland have denied their rivals a Six Nations Grand Slam at the final hurdle.
Earlier, on a typically manic last day, France pipped Wales to victory in a quite incredible and seemingly never-ending climax to a memorable match that lasted for 100 minutes and caused the start of Ireland-England to be delayed. The hosts led by a point at half-time thanks to Remi Lamerat's try, but Leigh Halfpenny kicked six penalties to give Wales an 18-13 lead as the clock ticked into the red.
Rob Howley's side could not hold out during a quite farcical extra 20-minute siege that began with a yellow card to Samson Lee and continued with replacement confusion, allegations of a bite on George North, a raft of French penalties, a head injury assessment for Uini Atonio and, finally, a crucial try from hooker Camille Chat. Camille Lopez added the conversion to secure a totally bonkers 20-18 win.
In the lunchtime clash at Murrayfield, Vern Cotter, who will now be replaced by Glasgow Warriors head coach Gregor Townsend, bid farewell to Scottish rugby with a 29-0 drubbing of Italy. Finn Russell and Matt Scott both notched tries after a poor-quality opening, while Tim Visser later added to the lead.
Tommy Seymour's impressive score sealed a bonus point as Scotland won three Six Nations matches for the first time since 2006. Fly-half Carlo Canna missed three penalties for Conor O'Shea's winless Azzurri, who collect yet another wooden spoon amid growing calls for the implementation of a promotion and relegation system that would allow the likes of Georgia to test themselves at the top level of international rugby on a regular basis.
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