By News Team
Last Updated: 3rd February 2020
From Ireland conquering the world champions to the greatest day of rugby the competition has ever seen, we celebrate 20 years of the Six Nations by looking at five of the greatest ever games.
England 13-19 Ireland – 06/03/04
England’s first game at Twickenham after being crowned 2003 world champions was against Ireland, a side that had only beaten England once between 1995 and 2004. Something to remember about this one is that England had not lost at home since 1999 but Ireland were about to spoil the party.
A kicking masterclass from Ronan O’Gara gave Ireland a 12-10 lead before Girvan Dempsey scored the only try of the game to heap more misery on the hosts. England piled on pressure towards the end of the game, but they could not get through Ireland’s defence, resulting in a 19-13 loss for the reigning world champions.
England went on to finish third in the tournament whilst Ireland finished second behind France, who won the Grand Slam.
Six Nations final day – 21/03/15
Wales, Ireland and England were all in contention to be crowned champions on the final day of the 2015 Six Nations, but no one was ready for the action that would unveil before them…
England started the day as leaders, but Wales demolished Italy 61-20 in the opening game of the day to jump into top spot. Ireland were the next to go against Scotland knowing that they needed a 21-point victory to clinch first. The game ended 40-10 and Ireland were now top of the tree going into the last game of the day.
England faced France at Twickenham needing a 26-point victory to win the Six Nations. They went on to beat France 55-35, but after an incredibly gutsy performance, England fell six points shy of winning the championship.
The final day saw 221 points scored across three games, which is the most ever on a Six Nations weekend. England recorded their largest ever score against France, Ireland claimed their largest ever Six Nations away win and Wales scored their most amount of tries in a single championship half.
A day that went down in history.
Wales 31-24 Scotland – 13/02/10
Wales were 10 points down against Scotland with five minutes left to play but what happened next was potentially one of the greatest, if not the greatest ending to a Six Nations game in history.
Scotland led 24-10 with only a few minutes left to play and it looked as if Wales were dead and buried in Cardiff, but then everything began to turn on its head. With five minutes left to play, Leigh Halfpenny’s try was converted meaning Wales were now within three points. Scotland had their second man sent off and as a result of this, Wales successfully converted a penalty, meaning the scores were now level at 24-24.
With 20 seconds left to play, Wales collected Scotland’s restart and pushed for the victory. After a succession of attacking plays, Shane Williams finally broke through Scotland’s defensive line to score a try that gave Wales an incredible 31-24 victory.
Wales 15-17 Ireland – 21/03/09
In March 2009, Ireland had the chance to end a 61-year wait to complete the Grand Slam but, in their way, stood a tough Wales side hoping to kill the dream.
Wales led 6-0 at half-time thanks to Stephen Jones’ magical kicking but the biggest worry for Ireland was how they were going to break down Wales’ defence who had been magnificent in the first half. Ireland came out with all guns blazing in the second half with Brian O’Driscoll and Tommy Bowe both scoring tries to give them the lead. Wales then came back at Ireland, scoring another three penalties to lead Ireland 15-14 with two minutes to go, but yet again, it did not end there. O’Gara’s last-minute drop-kick went over, meaning that Ireland had conquered Wales 17-15.
Ireland had won their first Grand Slam since 1948.
Scotland 19-13 England – 02/04/00
England missed out on the 1999 Grand Slam by losing on the last day but in 2000, they travelled to Murrayfield with the hopes of not repeating the same feat this time.
England dominated the game as expected early on, but they could not take charge of the scoreline. After 20 minutes, Scotland finally got on the board, but England came right back at them with Lawrence Dallaglio scoring a wonderful try just before the break. In the second half, Scotland dominated England in every single way with Duncan Hodge not missing a kick the whole game. At full-time, Scotland had defeated their arch-rivals 19-13.
England had been denied their second consecutive Grand Slam.