What Ireland Need To Do To Win The Championship After England's Defeat

What Ireland Need To Do To Win The Championship After England's Defeat

General rugby wisdom dictated this morning that expectations of a potential Grand Slam decider between England and Ireland at Twickenham on St Patrick's Day were premature, and that results today could scupper that prospect.

That has happened, although not as expected: Ireland survived the challenge of Wales, while England slumped to a shock 25-13 defeat at Murrayfield. That means that only Ireland can win a Grand Slam, and while that is undoubtedly the ambition for Schmidt and his players, today's results give Ireland a massive chance of securing the championship.

So here are the Six Nations permutations in light of today's drama.

Six Nations Permutations 

Let's start by taking a look at how the table looks at the end of round three:

six nations permutations

The fact England failed to even get a losing bonus point against Scotland means that they lie five points adrift of Ireland ahead of the final two rounds.


Therefore, if Ireland were to beat Scotland at the Aviva in a fortnight and pick up a four-try bonus point, England will need to do likewise against France in Paris later that afternoon to keep the championship alive going into the final game at Twickenham.

And for England to win the championship, they'll not only have to beat Ireland at Twickenham, they'll also have to score four points and deny Ireland a losing bonus point. Added to all of that, they need to make up a score differential of 24 points over the next two rounds.

Realistically, a bonus-point win over Scotland will ensure Ireland have one hand on the trophy when heading to Twickenham.

If Ireland beat Scotland but fail to score four tries, while England pick up the maximum five points against France, then things in Twickenham will be more interesting. England will need to win, and while they won't need to score four tries, they will need to deny Ireland a bonus point and make up the score differential. If England don't pick up a bonus point against the French in this scenario, it's great for Ireland: England will need to score four tries, deny Ireland a losing bonus point and overturn the score differential to win the championship.

If Ireland draw with Scotland, and England pick up maximum points against France, then England will only need a win against Ireland (by any margin) to win the title.

If Ireland lose to Scotland by any margin, two wins for England over France and Ireland will hand them the title.

Scotland are an outsider for the title. To win, they need to pick up five points against Ireland and Italy to reach 18 points and see other results go their way: they essentially need France to deny England a maximum five points and they also need the winner of the Ireland/England clash to avoid picking up a maximum five points. Scotland could conceivably see England pick up a maximum ten points from their final two games and still win the championship, but in that scenario, they will have to do so on score difference.

To conclude: Ireland are in a very good place to win the title.

Gavin Cooney
Article written by
Changed the spelling of his name upon pressure from Michael Owen.

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