The Official Online RBS 6 Nations Store is open. The store has everything you need to get behind your team during the RBS 6 Nations, plus the store is now fully stocked with a much wider range of rugby merchandise.
It was a game that didn’t reflect the kind of rugby that Philip Doyle’s Ireland have tried to embody this season, but in the end the Irish coach gratefully accepted the 6-3 win. It capped off a stellar few months for Ireland, who had previously never finished higher than third in the tournament.
Defence and discipline have been key to Ireland’s success as the final table shows that they employed the meanest defence of the Championship, conceding a paltry 26 points in five games.
Although Ireland scored just 12 tries (12 less than France, who finished second) that defence gave them a huge foundation to win all of their games.
Ireland also unearthed a number of star players during the tournament with young winger Alison Miller ending the tournament as the top try scorer (5), while the impressive full-back Niamh Briggs ended up as the top points scorer (43).
Next up for Ireland is a focus on Sevens as they continue their build-up to the Women’s Sevens World Cup.
France finished their season on a huge high with a 76-0 crushing of Scotland.
Despite missing some of their leading backs for the final game, as they began to prepare to head to China for the Women’s Sevens World Series leg next week, France were unstoppable as Scotland ended the RBS 6 Nations as they had begun it, remarkable suffering the same score-line defeat as they had on the opening day for England.
The French will massively rue their opening day slip up to Italy but in the circumstances will be thrilled with a win at Twickenham and in the end a second-place finish.
For France, No.8 Safi N’Diaye and Sandrine Agricole, playing at centre and at ten, have been superb this season and they are building nicely for the 2014 World Cup, which they host.
Next in the table were England, who were forced to work incredibly hard to secure a 20-16 win over Wales away from home on the final day.
It has been a very tough tournament for England, by their own incredibly high standards, as the focus on Sevens for 2013 has taken its toll.
The brighter news for England though is that a number of new young players have been exposed to the international game and new faces such as Sally Tuson, Hannah Gallagher and Ceri Large are now well able to take the step up and compete for a place in next year’s all important World Cup squad.
Wales succeeded in their main aim this season and that was to qualify for the World Cup by finishing at least fourth.
Though pushed hard by Italy, Wales have had a decent season and have also developed plenty of starts of the future in players like Elinor Snowsill and Rebecca de Filipo.
Without the concerns of Sevens in the season ahead, Wales will be able to focus on building their squad depth ahead of next summer in positive mode.
Italy continued to make fine progress, beating France and Scotland and then running Ireland and Wales very close indeed.
Apart from a comfortable loss to England, Italy showed that they are more than capable of breaking into the top three sides.
Veronica Schiavon was once again their key player at fly half and Italy’s defence was also impressive and well managed. Attacking and try scoring remains a problem, with Italy bagging just two all tournament.
Finally Scotland finished bottom after another tough campaign. The two 76-0 drubbings that bookended their tournament will be difficult to take, as will be a failure to score any tries all tournament. Though showing glimpses of form against Ireland and Wales, poor weather didn’t help their cause.