On Saturday 19 March 2022, France claimed their first Six Nations Grand Slam since 2010 when they beat England 25-13 at the Stade de France in Paris; before that evening game, however, there were two other important games to be played on the last day of this year's tournament.
First up, Wales hosted Italy at the Principality Stadium in Cardiff. The visitors started the game well and notched up a few penalties to go into the lead, but they were pegged back when Wales got their first try of the game. At half-time, Italy were leading 7-12; after the break, Wales seemed to notch up the pressure and scored two more tries, with Lake and Adams adding to Watkins' effort, to lead 21-15. However, the new kid on the block, 20 year-old Capuozzo dazzled with his feet and ran more than half the length of the pitch, weaving his way in and out of Welsh defenders, to pass for Padovini to touch down near the posts with less than two minutes left of the clock. Garbisi converted for the scoreboard to show a 21-22 final score, earning Italy their first win in the 6Nations following 36 consecutive defeats, and leaving Wales in complete disarray as defending champions.
Next up on "Super Saturday" saw Ireland host Scotland at the Aviva stadium in Dublin. Ireland had entered the tournament on a high, having played very well in the Autumn Internationals, including beating the All Blacks of New Zealand in the process. However, a 30-24 defeat in Paris put paid to their Grand Slam aspirations; nevertheless, they could still win the tournament by beating Scotland and England winning in Paris later in the day. Scotland had entered the match after winning two of their first four games and also with the backdrop of 6 players in their squad having been caught out drinking last Sunday evening which was against team rules. Finn Russell was demoted to the bench, but others including Stuart Hogg retained their places. Ireland scored two tries in both halves thanks to Sheehan, Healy, Van der Flier and Murray, with Sexton adding three conversions, with Scotland's sole score courtesy of a try by Schoeman in the first half. Final score 26-5. Ireland celebrated winning the Triple Crown, not a mean feat in itself, but then awaited the result of the game in Paris to see if their reward would be greater.
The evening kick-off saw France, unbeaten in their four tournament games, take on England who had won just two of their four games, against Italy and Wales. It was a very physical match, with very little between the forwards in the opening exchanges. Jaminet opened the scoring for France with a penalty in the 8th minute, with Gael Fickou scoring France's first try in the 14th minute. With the score at 18-6 at half-time, the result was certainly not a foregone conclusion. England battled but lacked creativity, which was something that France showed glimpses of, but were hindered by a number of handling errors. England's Steward did touch down for a try shortly after half time to narrow the score to 18-13, but Antoine Dupont crossed the line on 60 minutes for what was to be the last try of the game which finished 25-13. Mass celebrations followed as France claimed the championship and the Grand Slam in the process.
France will be particularly happy with this as they host the next Rugby World Cup in the autumn of 2023, but Ireland can be content too, playing well and scoring the most tries (24 – both England and Wales only scored 8 each), scoring the most points (168), conceding the least points (63) and having the best points difference (105). For England, Scotland, Wales and Italy, there is still work to do.
The next time these teams will be in action will be in the summer internationals: France travel to Japan, Ireland travel to New Zealand, England travel to Australia, Scotland travel to Argentina and Wales travel to South Africa.