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.
For England, revamped after the World Cup, Stuart Lancaster’s men endeavoured to restore pride in the wilted Red Rose jersey and did so with a second-place finish while France and Ireland’s inconsistency cost them dearly.
And in game-week five, Italy pulled off a memorable victory over Scotland in Rome to avoid sixth place in the table under the stewardship of Jacques Brunel, who had replaced the departed Nick Mallett.
The curtain came up on the competition with France easing past Italy in a comfortable four-try win – flying centre Wesley Fofana announcing himself to the international stage with a fine score on debut.
England ground down Scotland at Murrayfield but required Charlie Hodgson’s fortuitous charge-down try to seal a 13-6 win while Wales signalled their intent with an impressive 23-21 victory over Ireland in Dublin – although they needed George North’s 75th-minute try and a late Leigh Halfpenny penalty to get over the line.
Game-week two saw Wales ease past Scotland in Cardiff and England overcome a might scare in Rome to clinch a 19-15 win against Italy, after Giovanbattista Venditti and Tommaso Benvenuti scored tries within three minutes of each other.
After a week’s rest, Ireland then vented their frustrations under the Dublin sun and it was Italy who were on the receiving end – Tommy Bowe helping himself to a double in a 42-10 win before Wales travelled to Twickenham knowing one of the two sides’ perfect runs had to give.
Owen Farrell, one of numerous England new boys to seize his RBS 6 Nations opportunity, appeared to be booting the home side to victory but back came Wales to seal a late 19-12 win, thanks to Scott Williams’ breakaway try.
France, who had yet to properly hit their straps in the Championship, then laboured to a 23-17 win in Scotland – Maxime Medard’s try and Lionel Beauxis’ drop goal dragging Les Bleus to victory, having found themselves 17-13 down.
But World Cup finalists France saw their hopes of claiming the Grand Slam ended by failing to complete a comeback over Ireland in Paris, eventually drawing 17-17 in their rescheduled match.
Ireland had stormed into a 17-6 lead at half-time – again Bowe dotting down twice – but Fofana’s second-half score pulled France back into contention and saw his burgeoning reputation further enhanced.
In the penultimate round of fixtures, Wales’ relentless march towards the title continued with a comprehensive 24-3 win over Italy in Cardiff – Alex Cuthbert, one of the finds of the competition, scoring along with Jamie Roberts.
Ireland then heaped the misery on Scotland with a routine 32-14 win at the Aviva Stadium before England kept their title hopes alive with a thrilling victory in Paris.
England flew out of the blocks with tries from Manu Tuilagi and Ben Foden and when Tom Croft cantered over with ten minutes remaining the 24-22 win was effectively sealed – even if a late Fofana try made things interesting.
Onto the final weekend of the 2012 RBS 6 Nations and after Italy secured their first victory of the campaign thanks to Venditti’s try against Scotland just after half-time in a 13-6 win, Wales sealed the Grand Slam with a 16-9 home win against France and fittingly it was Cuthbert who scored the decisive try.
By the time England kicked off against Ireland at Twickenham, they knew they could not win the RBS 6 Nations but that didn’t stop them signing off on a high – a powerful scrum taking them to a 30-9 victory with Farrell kicking 20 points.