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2007 RBS 6 Nations
Champions: France (16th title)
Triple Crown: Ireland (9th title)
Calcutta Cup: Scotland
Millennium Trophy: Ireland
Centenary Quaich: Ireland
Garibaldi Trophy: France
Top points scorer: Ronan O’Gara (82 points)
Top try scorers: Jason Robinson (England), Ronan O’Gara (Ireland) – Four tries
In the closest finish since Italy joined the tournament, four countries (France, Ireland, England and Italy) all went into the final week with a chance of topping the table.
But a last-gasp try from Elvis Vermeulen against Scotland proved decisive as France took home the title for the second year in a row, the title once again being decided on points difference.
Favourites for the tournament going in were Ireland, fresh from an impressive autumn that saw them beat both South Africa and Australia and riding high in third in the IRB world rankings.
In addition to their fine form Ireland also had the boost of playing their home games at the historic Croke Park while Lansdowne Road was being rebuilt and they kicked off their campaign in style.
Rory Best’s first-minute try set them on their way to a 19-9 win over Wales at the Millennium Stadium while France also won on away soil, taking down Italy 39-3 at the Stadio Flaminio with Sebastien Chabal running in two tries.
But the story of the first week was World Cup hero Jonny Wilkinson who returned from his string of horrific injuries to inspire Brian Ashton’s England to a 42-20 win over Scotland at Twickenham.
The fly-half broke the record for points in a Calcutta Cup match with a full house that included one try, two conversions, five penalties and a drop goal as he finished with 27 in total.
Ireland’s Grand Slam hopes were ended in week two in a historic tussle at Croke Park as Vincent Clerc, scourge of the Irish, crossed late on to spoil the party and take a 20-17 victory.
Wilkinson was at it again in week two for England as he booted five penalties and Jason Robinson crossed for their only try in a 20-7 win against Italy while Wales’ struggles continued with a 21-9 defeat at Murrayfield.
Round three of the tournament saw history made as Italy won their first-ever away match since joining the competition, the Azzurri crossing for three converted scores in the first six minutes as they beat Scotland 37-17.
England’s unbeaten start came to a crashing halt at Croke Park as Ireland put them to the sword in a rampaging 43-13 win, England’s worst ever defeat in the tournament.
France, meanwhile, continued what looked like serene progress to the Grand Slam as they condemned Wales to their third defeat in a row, David Skrela’s boot inspiring a 32-21 success.
Round four saw France’s hopes of the Grand Slam come to an end as England kept their title hopes alive with a 26-18 win at Twickenham.
Toby Flood, the injured Wilkinson’s replacement, scored 16 points in all as France failed to cross the whitewash at all.
Elsewhere, Italy kept their faint hopes of a shock tournament win alive with a dramatic 23-20 win against a slumping Wales while Ireland edged out Scotland 19-18 at Murrayfield.
All three matches in the final week were played on the same day with France, Ireland, England and Italy all in with a chance of winning the tournament.
France were narrowly ahead of Ireland on points difference while England and Italy could become champions if they won by a large margin and the other results favoured them.
But it did not take long for Italy’s faint hopes to disappear as Ireland ran out impressive 51-24 victors in Rome, although Roland De Marigny’s last-minute try came back to haunt them.
Needing to win by 23 points in Paris against the Scots it was not until Vermeulen’s injury-time score that France had sealed the title, emerging 46-19 winners in the end.
And in Wales Gareth Jenkins’ side managed to avoid the wooden spoon as James Hook led the hosts to a 27-18 win against England.