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England win Six Nations Championship with back-to-back victories


Including the competition’s previous iterations as the Home Nations Championship and the Five Nations Championship, this was the 123rd edition of the tournament, which, for the first time, used the bonus point system prevalent in most other rugby union tournaments.

A team scoring four tries or more in a match received an additional league table point, as did a team losing by seven points or fewer in a game. A team winning all of their five matches would achieve the Grand Slam, and to ensure that team would then go on to win the Championship (it was previously possible that they wouldn’t), three bonus points were to be awarded for this achievement. No team won the Grand Slam this year, but the champions, England, came close, winning four of their five games, having lost the tournament’s final game against Ireland, nine points to thirteen. This was unfortunate, but England still won back-to-back titles with 2016’s victory, with both years’ England teams being managed by Eddie Jones.

The general consensus is that Ireland played better than England in the final game, and this would of course be evident in the result, but Eddie Jones himself admitted that Ireland played very well indeed, had a good defence, and made it hard for England to get any momentum going and shift play wider due to Ireland being off the line so quickly. After ending New Zealand’s run in November, Ireland has now stopped England in their tracks at the exact same point in their bid. Possession in the game was 61% to 39% in Ireland’s favour, and statistically they were much more offensive than England in the final game. However, England did successfully score all three of their penalty goals.

Regardless of the stats, however, England has won the 2017 Six Nations Championship, which means two in a row! England was, indeed, favourites to win, and Ireland second favourites – with the final table finishing in this fashion. In terms of general performance, perhaps the biggest surprise was how low down in the table Wales finished. Despite being third favourites in the tournament, they finished fifth. But, as they say, there’s always next year. And if we witness England winning the title in 2018, it will be the first time any team has won the Six Nations three years in a row. That would certainly mean a very special time for Rugby Union!

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