Today saw the latest round of Six Nations matches, headlined by the Wales-Ireland game. Having foolishly lost their opening game to England, Wales needed to beat the undefeated Irish in order to stay in with a chance of winning the championship. Short version, they did it, but it was a magnificent game.
Defense rarely gets the respect it deserves, but I think it is fair to say that defense won the match for Wales today. US readers may need reminding that in rugby the clock doesn’t stop when the ball-carrier is tackled. Your linemen have to get up there, secure the ball, and start a new down with no rest. Equally the opposition has to be ready for the next play, and above all not commit a penalty because is rugby that results in a turnover.
Well today the Wales defense withstood 28 consecutive downs inside their own red zone, before Ireland made a mistake. It was titanic.
So going into the final weekend we have England, Ireland and Wales all on three wins. None of them play each other. In the event of more than one team finishing on the same number of wins, the tie-breaker is points difference (points scored – points conceded). The current status is Eng 37, Ire 33, Wal 12. Ireland are the favorites because they play bottom-of-the-table Scotland. However, Wales have a chance of running up a big score against Italy. England have to play France, but they are the only one of the three with a home game. It should be a great weekend.