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The Best Six Nations Games Ever

Since the tournament expanded in 2000, the Six Nations has produced some of the most sensational rugby matches the game has ever seen. Year after year, this annual competition reaches new heights, from incredible clashes that cement Grand Slams to a seemingly endless stream of historic records. 

But with more than two decades of competition now in the history books, which Six Nations matches deserve to be remembered as the greatest? From teams that truly overpowered their opponents to shocking last-minute losses and wins, here’s our guide to the best Six Nations games ever. 

Wales 15-17 Ireland (21 March 2009, Millennium Stadium)

After a 61-year wait, Ireland finally seized the Grand Slam in 2009 – their last clean sweep was in 1948.

After winning their first four matches, it all came down to the final clash: Wales v Ireland. It was a shaky first half for both sides; Wales’ Stephen Jones executed two penalties and Ireland failed to score a single point against a relentless Welsh defence. 

During the second half, the scales tipped in Ireland’s favour. Irish supporters cheered as Ronan O’Gara converted tries from Brian O’Driscoll and Tommy Bowe. But then, Wales fought back once more. With just four minutes remaining on the clock, Jones scored a drop goal that handed his team a 15-14 lead. Not one to be outshone, O’Gara responded in kind, kicking the 78th-minute drop-goal that clinched a famous win for Ireland. 

France 32-30 Wales (20 March 2021, Stade de France)

The 2021 Six Nations final was a heartbreaking affair for Wales. The squad travelled to Paris hoping to win their 13th Grand Slam, but they fell at the final hurdle.

In the first half, the two teams traded points. Romain Taofifénua scored France’s first try six minutes in, while Dan Biggar levelled the score six minutes later. By half time, the match was tied 17-17.

Both sides turned up the heat in the second half. With a try from Josh Adams and two penalties from Biggar’s boot, Wales slotted 13 points in quick succession. Meanwhile, with just three points from Romain Ntamack, France trailed 20-30 with 76 minutes on the clock and the championship appeared to be decided. But, things quickly turned sour for Wales.

With Liam Williams and Taulupe Faletau in the sin bin, France ploughed through Wales’ defensive line twice in the final four minutes. As the final seconds ticked away and the game crossed the 80-minute mark, Brice Dulin soared over the line and Wales kissed the Grand Slam goodbye.

Scotland 17-37 Italy (24 February 2007, Murrayfield Stadium)

Since they joined the tournament in 2000, Italy have produced some of the biggest Six Nations shocks. This includes at the 2007 Six Nations Championship, when Italy handed Scotland a devastating 37-17 loss. 

After two years of disappointing campaigns – the Azzurri failed to win a single match in 2005 or 2006 – no one could have predicted the outcome of this match.

Just seven minutes in, Italy had Scotland on the back foot. Thanks to back-to-back tries from Mauro Bergamasco, Andrea Scanavacca and Kaine Robertson, the Azzurri led 21-0. 

If stunned Scotland fans were hoping for a magnificent recovery, they were left bitterly disappointed. Although the Scots scored 17 unanswered points, a late try from Alessandro Troncon sealed Italy’s victory.

England 55-35 France (21 March 2015, Twickenham Stadium)

The 2015 Six Nations encounter between England and France was one of the most dramatic ever experienced at Twickenham.  

As Super Saturday arrived, three teams were in contention for the title: England, Ireland and Wales. Following Wales’ 61-20 victory against Italy and Ireland’s 40-10 triumph over Scotland, England needed a 26-point win to steal the Championship. What ensued was one of the best Six Nations games ever seen. 

Despite scoring seven of the game’s 12 tries – including braces by Ben Youngs and Jack Nowell – England won by 20 points rather than the 26 they needed to claim the title. A devastated but thrilled crowd (rightly) applauded both sides from the pitch. 

Ireland 6-42 England (30 March 2003, Lansdowne Road)

When you think of the England rugby team, you probably think about 2003. It was a glorious year for the English squad, who excelled at the Six Nations and won the Rugby World Cup.

Going into the final round of the Six Nations, England and Ireland were neck and neck with four wins apiece. As a result, one team was guaranteed the Grand Slam. However, it all went wrong for the men in green. An early try from Lawrence Dallaglio put England ahead and Ireland never managed to gain ground.

David Humphreys kicked all of Ireland’s points during the first half, but England were relentless throughout. After all, England slotted 29 points without reply in the second half. 

England 38-38 Scotland (16 March 2019, Twickenham Stadium)

This edge-of-your-seat match is widely regarded as the best Six Nations draw of all time.

England dominated the first half, scoring 31 unanswered points in 30 minutes. But while England fans were ready to celebrate, Scotland were preparing to produce a very different second half.

Quick off the mark, Darcy Graham scored his first try of the match – his second followed 10 minutes later. With one try apiece from Magnus Bradbury and Finn Russell, Scotland equalised during the 60th minute.

Continuing their comeback, a try from Sam Johnson tipped the score 38-31. Unwilling to concede defeat, George Ford crossed the line in the 83rd minute and this tense game finished 38-38 when he slotted the conversion moments later.  

To date, this is the highest-scoring draw in Six Nations history. What’s more, this match also broke records to become rugby’s highest-scoring draw of all time.