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A Weekend of Upsets at the Guinness Six Nations

Credit: Danilo Di Giovani/Getty Images


The rugby world was turned upside down this past weekend at the Guinness Six Nations and was given a good shake, and what fell out was entertainment, as Italy defeated Scotland for their first home victory in over 11 years, and England defeated Ireland which snapped the 11-game win-streak in the championship for the Irish.


It all began with Italy stunning Scotland to win in Rome for the first time since 2013. A packed-out Stadio Olimpico for the first time in a Guinness Six Nations match since 2016 set the stage for possibly one of the largest upsets in recent rugby history, as the Italians handed the Scottish a devastating 31-29 defeat. After Scotland came off a huge win over the English who are seven-time Six Nations Champions, it was not looking too promising for Italy. However, in the end, the Scottish succumbed to a team that is perhaps the most improved outfit in world rugby. 


Italy managed to score early, however, Scotland got it going soon after by doing what they do best, challenging both sides of every breakdown and hammering the Italians with sustained pressure. Scotland nailed down too early tries, and Italy needed a quick response which they delivered in stunning fashion. Some great kicking play saw Italy’s Juan Ignacio slot in a try which was followed up by blows from either team, ending the first half 16-22 with Scotland in the lead. 


Scotland missed a lot of chances and made quite a few unforced errors in the second half, which allowed Italy to capitalize and swing the momentum in their favour. Scotland rallied late and notched another try with their skipper Finn Russell slotting his conversion to put them within two points of the Irish, however, it was too little too late and Italy secured a monumental victory at home.


Marcus Smith Wins with a Drop Goal

Credit: Paul Childs/Reuters


Italy wasn’t the only one who clinched a nail-biter over the weekend though, as the England squad managed to defeat the seemingly untouchable Irish in a clash of the titans, seeing England walk away with a 23-22 victory. 

Despite Ireland enjoying an early three-point lead off of a penalty in the second minute, England enjoyed a lead up until the 34th minute after a try from Ollie Lawrence and a penalty from George Ford gave them eight points. However, Ireland continued to chip away at the English, notching their first try in the 43rd minute as James Lowe crossed after half-time.


England’s top player Ben Earl, then slotted their third try of the game to put them up three points after Smith’s conversion. However, Lowe came back with vengeance, scoring another try for the Irish and giving them a two-point lead in the dying minutes. England was not giving up though, as Marcus Smith, who was on his first 2024 Guinness Six Nations game after injury, came in clutch and slotted a drop goal to secure England a huge victory while also forcing the tournament to be decided on the final weekend of the championship. 


At the end of round five, Ireland remained atop the table with 16 points, followed by England with 12 and Scotland with 11. A positive result for Ireland against Scotland this weekend is vital for them to secure back-to-back Six Nations victories for Andy Farrel’s side. However, if England manage to beat France with a bonus point and Ireland fail to earn any points against Scotland, then Steve Borthwick’s side would win the title. 


Either way, this victory was huge for the English side. With the majority of their former greats beginning to get up in age, England needs some fire from their younger players if they are to secure massive victories like this. Marcus Smith and Ollie Lawrence brought that fire to this game, which complemented the likes of Ben Earl and Maro Itoje, who are consistent scorers and stand-outs for this English side.


Not only does this victory mark a boost in morale for England, it brings some fire back to a Six Nations tournament where the Irish have dominated for the past two years.


Jamie George

Credit: Gonzalo Fuentes/Reuters

The past weekend of Six Nations Rugby was some of the most entertaining rugby played in recent Six Nations history. Two massive upsets occurred and brought back that competitive feeling that the Six Nations had been severely lacking. 


Italy’s victory was more than just a big win. If they were unable to step up once again during this Six Nations tournament, the rumours floating around regarding them being removed and replaced by Georgia could have potentially come to fruition. However, with such a massive win for this young Italian side, they have secured their place in the Six Nations as well as the fan’s hearts for the foreseeable future. 


England managed to defeat an untouchable Irish side. Ireland managed to win the previous Six Nations tournament without suffering any defeats, and it looked like they were on the path to completing that feat again. However, with this loss to the English, they have been denied back-to-back grand slam victories, a feat that has yet to be accomplished in the Six Nations tournament. 


The fire is back in this year’s championship, and the idea that the tournament will go down to the wire and be decided on the last day makes it that much more enjoyable.



Edited By: Josh Reidelbach

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