Ireland have defeated France, keeping alive their slim chances of retaining their Guinness Six Nations crown. Three teams will enter the final round of games with change of claiming the trophy, and we are set for a stellar weekend of action.
But what exactly do Ireland have to do to win the lot? Looking at the current standings, they are certainly third favourites. It is not impossible, but odds are we won't see Rory Best lifting the trophy in Cardiff.
Here's what has to happen for Ireland to claim their fourth Six Nations crown of the Joe Schmidt era:
Six Nations Permutations
We looked ahead to this very scenario just before Ireland's game against Italy, and everything has played out exactly as we predicted.
Ireland managed to secure bonus point victories over Italy and France, while England also came away with five points against the Italians. Meanwhile, Wales did indeed fail to get a bonus point win over Scotland.
This is how the table currently stands:
Wales sit top of the pile with four wins from four, although they have yet to claim a bonus point. As we will soon see, that could be costly.
England sit only a solitary point behind them in second place, courtesy of their three bonus point wins. Ireland are one point further back on 14.
A win for Wales in Cardiff next week will seal a Grand Slam and the Six Nations crown. While we could have conceivably seen a scenario where Wales win all five games but finish level on points with England, that will be avoided thanks to the Six Nations rule that Grand Slam winners automatically being awarded three bonus points.
A draw between Wass and Ireland, and England failing to win, would also see the Welsh be crowned champions.
So a win for Wales, and it's all over. If they fail to do so, things get a lot more interesting.
What needs to happen for Ireland to win the Six Nations?
So this is what has to happen:
- Ireland need to win
- Hope England fail to beat Scotland
Anything else, and Ireland will not retain their crown.
What needs to happen for England to win the Six Nations?
They need Ireland to do them a favour. Here's what needs to go down:
- They beat Scotland
- Wales fail to beat Ireland
A draw between the Welsh and Irish would also be good enough for England.
So there you have it. In short, Ireland have to beat Wales, and hope England fail to defeat Scotland. Any other combination of results, and the Six Nations trophy will head back across the Irish Sea.
All we can do is hope for the best!