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Guinness Six Nations Review: France win Grand Slam as Italy stun Wales

Guinness Six Nations Review: France win Grand Slam as Italy stun Wales

Guinness Six Nations Review: France win Grand Slam as Italy stun Wales

The 2022 Guinness Six Nations came to a thrilling close as Super Saturday lived up to its name and we enjoyed three sensational matches to close the Championship.

France delivered on their unlimited potential by wrapping up a Grand Slam in front of their loyal supporters in Paris, while Ireland sealed their first Triple Crown since 2018, and continued their unrivalled record at the Aviva Stadium.

Italy also ended an unwanted streak of 36 matches in the Championship without a win, as a star was born in Ange Capuozzo at Principality Stadium.

And history was made in the Wales camp, as Dan Biggar and Alun Wyn Jones reached 100 and 150 Wales caps respectively.

As far as Super Saturdays go this was certainly high up the list, but there was plenty more action to relive that preceded the Guinness Six Nations showpiece.

Round 1 – Scotland regain Calcutta Cup as Villière steals the show in Paris 

The Championship began in Edinburgh and it was Scotland who made the perfect start to the Championship, defeating rivals England 20-17 at BT Murrayfield to win back-to-back Calcutta Cups for the first time since 1984.

It comes after victory at Twickenham in the 2021 Guinness Six Nations, when Scotland won 11-6 to record their first win on English soil since 1983.

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It looked as though England would respond with an away win of their own when Marcus Smith scored to put England 17-10 up, but Finn Russell’s double moment of magic forced Luke Cowan-Dickie’s error and a penalty try, as momentum flipped, and Scotland stole a memorable 20-17 win.

In France, winger Gabin Villière scored an incredible hat-trick, as France laid the foundations for a first title in 12 years in Les Bleus’ 37-10 win over Italy at the Stade de France.

Gabin Villiere France

VIllière’s memorable hat-trick was France’s first in the Championship since Vincent Clerc scored three first-half tries against Ireland in 2008.

Elsewhere, Ireland laid down a marker of their own with a dominant 29-7 win over Wales in Dublin.

Round 2 – Jaminet kicks France to Ireland victory as Wales and England win 

Round 2 was dominated by France and Ireland clashing in Paris, and it did not disappoint in a back-and-forth clash at the Stade de France.

France stormed into a 19-7 lead courtesy of Antoine Dupont’s early score and four kicks at goal from Melvyn Jaminet, but Ireland’s new wing sensation Mack Hansen scored an incredible try off an early kick-off to keep Ireland in the game.

Two second-half tries in five minutes from Josh van der Flier and Jamison Gibson-Park brought Ireland to within three points of tying the scores, before Cyril Baille’s try gave France a much-needed cushion.

Joey Carbery brought England to within three points again with eight minutes on the clock, but Jaminet nailed his sixth penalty of the game late on as France held on for a vital win.

Earlier on in the day, Wales earned a first win of the Championship with a 20-17 win over Scotland at Principality Stadium, while England also won their first match of the Championship with a 33-0 win over Italy in Rome on the Sunday.

Round 3 – England hold on in Cardiff as Dupont inspires France to third win 

Round 3 saw England host Wales at Twickenham, and it was the home side who came out the winners.

Eddie Jones’ men led 12-0 at half-time, with Marcus Smith kicking four penalties, before Alex Dombrandt’s opportunistic try early in the second half put England into a comfortable 17-0 lead.

Marcus Smith with Wyn Jones

But Wales scored twice through Josh Adams and Nick Tompkins to reduce that gap to five points, before Smith kicked England to a more comfortable position, with a late Kieran Hardy try for Wales narrowing the scores further.

Earlier on Saturday, France put in a stellar performance to defeat Scotland at BT Murrayfield, with Damian Penaud scoring two of their six tries as they had too much for Scotland.

Meanwhile, Ireland ran in nine tries to win 57-6 against Italy at the Aviva Stadium.

Round 4 – Ireland win at Twickenham as France go one step closer to glory 

Round 4 saw a win at all costs clash between England and Ireland at Twickenham, and it was to be Andy Farrell’s side who claimed glory on the road.

Charlie Ewels received a red card after just 82 seconds, but England remained in the game regardless and only trailed 15-9 at half time, as James Lowe and Hugo Keenan scored tries for Ireland.

Tadhg Beirne, Hugo Keenan, Ronan Kelleher and Finlay Bealham celebrate after the game

The second half saw England’s 14-men draw level at 15-15 but Ireland bagged two late tries through substitutes Jack Conan and Finlay Bealham to race away to a bonus point 32-15 win.

On the Friday night, France went one step closer to a first Grand Slam since 2010 with a 13-9 win over Wales in Cardiff, while in the earlier Saturday clash, Scotland saw off Italy with a 33-22 win in Rome.

Round 5 – France seal Grand Slam in Le Crunch as Italy snatch win for the ages 

France went into their clash with England knowing that only victory would do, after Ireland’s bonus point win over Scotland earlier in the day.

Fabien Galthié’s men could have been forgiven for feeling the weight of expectation, but there did not appear to be any nerves, as France led 18-6 at half-time with tries from Gaël Fickou and François Cros.

England made it a slightly tense affair when Freddie Steward crossed for a score early in the second half, but France’s talisman Dupont took the pressure away with a classy break to seal a Grand Slam and the inevitable pandemonium that brings.

Dylan Cretin and Antoine Dupont celebrate winning

Ireland’s 26-5 win over Scotland in the middle game of Super Saturday proved only to be enough for a first Triple Crown since 2018, as France won the late kick-off that day, but Andy Farrell’s side finished as the top try scorers in the Championship with an astonishing 24, and they will be delighted with their form.

And earlier in the day Italy stunned Wales in Cardiff to win their first game in the Guinness Six Nations since 2015, as Capuozzo’s break fed Edoardo Padovani to score under the posts, and Paolo Garbisi knocked the extra two points over to seal a famous win and send Italian supporters into raptures.

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