Sunday, October 29, 2023

Ireland’s First Grand Slam Victory in Dublin’s Six Nations


Ireland has secured their fourth ever Six Nations Grand Slam with a resounding 29-16 victory over England at the Aviva Stadium. This win marks Ireland’s first Six Nations title since 2018 and serves as a powerful statement of their status as the world’s top-ranked Rugby Union team heading into the World Cup in September.

Entering the championship as favorites, Ireland swept through the competition, making a significant statement six months ahead of the Rugby World Cup, where they have yet to win a knockout match. After beating defending champions and second-ranked France at home a month prior, Ireland handled an inadequate England team and secured maximum points from a win and minimum four tries at a packed-out Lansdowne Road.

Andy Farrell’s side was deserving of their clean sweep, having won all of their games by 13 points or more and ending France’s 14-game unbeaten run along the way in one of the best championship games in recent memory. Two tries from Dan Sheehan and one each from Robbie Henshaw and Rob Herring ensured Ireland finished ahead of France in second place and Scotland in third, while England suffered their third defeat, leaving them in fourth place.

Captain Jonathan Sexton was given the perfect send-off in his last Six Nations match with a second Grand Slam and the championship’s all-time point-scoring record. He limped off with six minutes to go to a standing ovation. The 37-year-old moved on to 560 points, surpassing Ronan O’Gara, his predecessor as fly-half, in what was his 60th and final Six Nations Test. O’Gara played 63.

Despite Sexton’s achievement, O’Gara remains Ireland’s overall record points scorer on 1,083, with Sexton on 1,050 points before the match against England kicked off.

For home fans in the middle of St. Patrick’s Day weekend celebrations, the victory was particularly special as it marked the first time Ireland had sealed the Grand Slam in Dublin. Previously, they had done it in Twickenham (2018), Cardiff (2009), and Belfast (1948).

Overall, Ireland’s Grand Slam victory serves as a testament to their dominance in the Six Nations competition and their potential heading into the World Cup. With their top-ranked status and impressive performances throughout the tournament, Ireland is undoubtedly a team to watch in the upcoming competition.

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