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Thursday, March 15, 2018

Six Nations Permutations: The Battle for Second Place

This weekend marks the final round of the 2018 6 Nations and while the title has already been wrapped up a week early by Joe Schmidt’s Ireland, there is still much to play for as all but one team have a chance of a satisfying end to the campaign. 

The battle for second place is not one usually met with great anticipation as it is generally considered the first of the losers, but this time it is perhaps the most intriguing for years.

Such has been the competition this season, four of the five other teams are in the hunt to secure the runner-up spot, while Italy are anchored to the bottom of the table for another year.

Wales, England, France and Scotland all sit on two wins and two defeats. Wales head the quartet with two bonus points while Scotland are fifth, having failed to claim any additional points.



After their bonus point win against Italy in Cardiff last weekend, Wales are currently in pole position to claim the second placed spot. They will receive a buoyant France, fresh off the back of two successive wins, in the Welsh capital on Saturday.

Another bonus point victory this weekend will make sure of second place no matter what the other teams manage.

A win without four tries will mean Warren Gatland’s side have to rely on England either losing or winning without a bonus point of their own against Ireland.

After two defeats in a row – against Scotland and France – England need a win in front of their home crowd against 6 Nations champions Ireland if they are to stand any chance of finishing ahead of Wales. If they win with a bonus point, France need to beat Wales without one.

Likewise, if France win with a bonus point, England need to either win without one or lose.

If both teams win with or without a bonus point, it will come down to points difference, which England narrowly head by four points.

Scotland face a bit of an uphill challenge if they are to finish second. If they play to their potential, a bonus point win away to Italy is doable but they will still need to rely on other results to go their way.

Realistically, Gregor Townsend’s men need Ireland to beat England and Wales to draw with France with none getting bonus points. It’s a stretch but not impossible.


As for new champions Ireland, all they need to do is beat England to celebrate the Grand Slam.


Italy v Scotland – Stadio Olimpico (K/O: 12:30 GMT)

England v Ireland – Twickenham (K/O: 14:45)

Wales v France – Principality Stadium (K/O: 17:00)

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