France's ball has been burst, and Ireland's destiny is now back in their own hands.
It was almost taken for granted at this stage that France would win a grand slam, but that door was slammed shut at Murrayfield this afternoon. Scotland dominated in every facet of the game and it never really looked like the visitors were in it.
Their goose seemed all but cooked after Mohamed Haouas' red card at the end of the first half, and that proved to be the case. Gregor Townsend's team dominated the second half and would run out comfortable victors.
All of this means that the tournament has been blown wide open. France have now dropped down to second, meaning a first championship since 2010 looks pretty unlikely.
The main takeaway is that Ireland are very much back in contention.
Here's how the table looks at the minute.
Technically, four teams remain in contention.
Scotland will win the Six Nations if they beat Wales, followed by Ireland losing to Italy and then drawing with France. They would also require England to lose the Italians. It's fair to say that probably won't happen.
Ireland are now very much back in the mix. A win for Ireland against France is a must, but if they manage that they are in with a huge chance of winning the tournament.
A win against France, with no try bonus point, would leave Ireland on 13 points, level with England. Even if France get a losing bonus point, they would likely be out of contention.
This would likely mean top place would come down to points difference. Considering Ireland and England are both likely to get bonus point wins against Italy, whoever has the better points difference will take the trophy.
England currently lead Ireland by ten points in this metric.
If Ireland could manage a win and a four-try bonus point, they would be massive favourites to win the Six Nations. That would leave them on 14 points, meaning a bonus point victory in the final home game against Italy would give them an unmatchable 19 points.
To sum it up:
- Win against France. A bonus point win would leave Ireland's destiny in their own hands.
- A bonus point win against Italy would then guarantee Ireland at least finish level on points with England. It would then come down to points difference.
- Two bonus point wins guarantees Ireland will win the Six Nations.
Despite being second at the minute, France look like major outsiders. They will likely require a bonus point win against Ireland to finish top, assuming England get five points from the game in Rome.
Even if the French manage this, they will have to beat Ireland by three points more than the margin England beat Italy by. It seems unlikely.
England are favourites. You'd imagine they will get a bonus point win against Italy, whenever that game is eventually played.
France will likely only overtake them if they get a bonus point win against Ireland and beat them by a higher margin that England defeat Italy by.
England will finish second if Ireland get two bonus point wins. Ireland will also finish ahead of England if they get four points against France, a bonus point against Italy and then better England's scoring difference.
Simple stuff, right?
- England are favourites.
- Ireland need two wins to have any chance.
- France are probably finished.