With a Six Nations tournament unlike any other coming to a close, it feels only right to highlight the unique moments that this year’s Six Nations has thrown us ahead of the final round.
Scotland’s victory over England
In the first round of games Scotland made Six Nations history. Their 38-year wait to inflict defeat on their bitter rivals away from home finally came to an end after an awe-inspiring performance at Twickenham during the 150th anniversary of the Calcutta Cup.
The last time Scotland achieved victory in the Calcutta Cup on English soil, Billie Jean was no.1 in the charts, the £1 coin was on the way and compact disks were on sale for the first time.
Although the score-line suggested it was a tight affair, the Scots dominated all aspects of the game from the first to the final minute. England were restricted to only six points, their fewest in a Calcutta Cup game since 1965.
The out pouring of Scottish emotions after the final whistle told you the significance of the result. Not only was it a victory over their bitter foe but it helped erecting a platform to launch their Six Nations campaign.
The controversial Welsh tries vs England
England fans will also be trying to erase all memories of Josh Adams and Liam Williams tries in the first half of their clash at the Millennium Stadium.
The Welsh opener was met by a torrent of English fury. Referee Pascal Gauzere had instructed England captain Owen Farrell to have a word with his team after giving away consecutive penalties.
With the water carriers on the pitch, Farrell warned his side not to give Gauzere a reason to bring out the yellow card. As the team began to jog back into position, Gauzere blew his whistle for the restart and quick thinking followed from Dan Biggar with a cross field kick allowing Josh Adams to score in the corner.
If this wasn’t enough for an infuriated Farrell, it would get even worse with the second Welsh score.
It appeared for all the world after a Josh Adams grubber in behind, that Louis Rees-Zammit had knocked the ball on after failing to secure it. Even after Liam Williams gathered the ball and slide over the line, the commentary team appeared ready to announce it was knocked on.
Gauzere decided to check if indeed Rees-Zammit did knock it on. The expression alone of the young winger appeared to show he believed he knocked it forward.
There was some debate when consulting the TMO and eventually Gauzere awarded it, much to Rees-Zammit’s shock.
In the days after the game, with the benefit of hindsight, Gauzere did admit he had got both decisions wrong but this will be little comfort to Farrell and co.
Antoine Dupont being Antoine Dupont
Dupont has risen into the ‘best players in the world’ debates over the past year and his form during this year’s Six Nations has certainly helped his case.
Of all the brilliance that Dupont possesses, the Italian game in the historical city of Rome was the perfect setting for the Frenchman to paint another masterpiece.
His impact alone on this game warrants an article on its own. So instead of detailing every moment in which the Frenchman waved his magic over the Stadio Olimpico, enjoy these highlights of perhaps the best players in world rugby.
Scotland’s bizarre try vs Ireland
If you ever need to research how Scotland play at their best, you wouldn’t have to look any further than Finn Russell’s try against Ireland.
A charge down from Stuart Hogg set in motion a crazy series of events. After trying to kick the ball into his hands, the fullback managed to kick it off his own face.
The friendly bounce allowed Hogg to produce an audacious sliced kick past Ireland fullback Hugo Keenan right in under the shadow of the Irish posts.
James Lowe came scampering back, but Finn Russel beat him to the ball. The maverick playmaker executed an audacious chip over the Kiwi-born winger as he dotted down. The commentary crew seemed certain there was a knock on, but the TMO review showed there wasn’t one.
That one single try demonstrates that once the ball hits the deck, a green light flicks on in the Scottish camp.
Romain Poite channelling his inner Richie McCaw
We’ve all heard about the referees who want to be the centre of attention on a prime time game, such as Mike Dean. However during the Scotland vs Ireland game French referee, Romain Poite, decided to get involved in more unconventional ways.
As Tadhg Beirne powered over the line with the help of the Irish pack, a stressed Scottish defence was clearing at breaking point.
In order to see if the ball was down, Poite decided to enter head first into the mess of a ruck on the Scottish try line like a back row.
If this is how Poite wishes to put himself at the centre of any game, we’re all for it.
Monty Ioane try vs England
Unfortunately for England they find themselves on the wrong side of this list again, which sums up the early part of their tournament.
When the Italians arrived to Twickenham off the back of a 40 point onslaught by France, it felt like the perfect chance for England to get right. However, the visitors decided that wasn’t going to be easy.
In a Six Nations were Italy have taken strides in the right direction, the Monty Ioane try was one of the highlights of a far more promising campaign.
Although it appears Italy will go another Six Nations without a win, there is a crop of promising young talent on the horizon.
Feature image Credit to Kapao of Creative Commons: https://www.flickr.com/photos/37546750@N04