Ireland win historic two-in-a-row 6 Nations championships

Though hopes of a Grand Slam were squashed in Twickenham last week the Ireland squad pulled off an impressive win against Scotland in the Aviva

Ireland have been crowned 6 Nations Champions for 2024 after beating Scotland in the Aviva Stadium on yesterday evening. This is only the third time an Irish team has won back-to-back outright Championship titles, emulating the successes of 1948/49 and 2014/15. Scotland also had a lot to play for, as a first Triple Crown since 1990 for the team was on the line, after they disposed of Wales and England earlier in the competition.

Ireland overcame an early setback, when Hugo Keenan was injured during the warm up with Jordan Larmour taking his place on the starting 15.  Scotland were also on good form, and got the first score off the boot of Finn Russel seven minutes into the match. However, less than 5 minutes later, Dan Sheehan was gifted a try when off an overthrown Scottish lineout on their own 5 metre line; an uncharacteristic mistake as the Scottish lineout has seemed so sturdy all year.

Finn Russel would kick Scotland back into a one-point game in the seventeenth minute, but the rest of the first half was uneventful. Both teams seemed to be going through the motions and Scotland seemed to have the number of Ireland’s attack, which did nothing to aid Lansdowne Road’s flat atmosphere.

Jack Crowley extended Ireland’s lead by 3 points when he scored a penalty early in the 2nd half, making up for an earlier miss in the process. Ireland were on an attacking foot for most of the second half, but the Scottish defence held firm. Bad mistakes by Scotland greatly harmed their chances of winning, with Tadhg Furlong crossing the try-line on the back of a sustained attack. However, TMO Marius Jonker confirmed referee Matt Carley’s on-field decision of no try, saying that the ball had been dislodged from Furlong’s grasp.

Ireland soon found what they were looking for, with Andrew Porter crossing the line off a tap and go penalty, moments after Henshaw turned up the volume in the stadium after running half the length of the pitch, ball in hand. A-midst renditions of “The Fields of Athenry” and shouts of ‘“Ireland, Ireland”, the stage was set for a Championship victory.

However, the match wasn’t over yet, and Scotland threatened to upset the party when Huw Jones stepped four men for a try under the posts on the 77th minute, leaving it a one point match on 17-13. Fortunately for Andy Farrell’s men, Ireland held on to the 80th minute, extending Scotland’s triple crown drought for a 35th year.

In the wake of Ireland’s disappointing exit from the World Cup last October and a final-minute loss to England last week, this championship win signals a positive direction for the Irish squad. This six nations marked the first major tournament without the presence of veteran Johnny Sexton with many questions being asked of the team at the beginning, Ireland held out for the win. Rumours also circulated yesterday that this would be the last six nations campaign for captain Peter O’Mahony, who was visibly emotional during the anthem and lifting the trophy. However, most people’s concerns were alleviated about the relative inexperience of younger players like Jack Crowley stepping into the shoes of giants like Sexton. Players like Crowley and rising rugby star Ryan Baird indicate a positive direction for the team backed by youth.

Looking to next year’s 6 Nations, Ireland could be on track to make history. In the over 140 years of the competition, no team has ever won 3 outright titles in a row. If Ireland was to do that, it would be another accolade added to perhaps the best Irish rugby team to ever play the game. 

Ireland 17 – 13 Scotland, Lansdowne Road, March 16