A nail-biting, nerve-shredding and exhilarating Championship had a fitting conclusion as France and Scotland played out the latest classic of this year’s Guinness Six Nations on Friday night.
Scotland’s Paris hoodoo was brought to an end in dramatic style while Welsh celebrations were already well underway by the time Duhan van der Merwe crossed for the match-winning score.
The Championship crown is heading to Cardiff for the second time in three years and there were no shortage of Welsh players and fans taking to social media to celebrate – and it was another night which had the wider rugby world captivated.
Going into the contest, France needed a bonus-point victory by a margin of at least 21 points to snatch the trophy from Welsh hands.
With Wales relying on their Celtic cousins to do them a favour in Paris, this post echoed the feelings of nervous fans everywhere before the big kick-off…
Wales will not be supporting either side in #FRAvSCO tonight.
— Welsh Rugby Union 🏉 (@WelshRugbyUnion) March 26, 2021
A rollercoaster contest ebbed and flowed throughout. France took a narrow lead into the interval but Scotland fought bravely to stay in the contest.
In-form back-rowers Hamish Watson and Jamie Ritchie attracted plenty of praise, as did the sterling defensive efforts of centre Chris Harris.
Hamish Watson is good at rugby.
— ugo monye (@ugomonye) March 26, 2021
Jamie Ritchie and Hamish Watson. You’d lie in the road for those blokes. Immense.
— David Flatman (@davidflatman) March 26, 2021
Cracking game of rugby! Phenomenal effort from Scotland. They were relentless in defence and showed pure grit in attack. Harris and Van Der Merwe were outstanding. #FRAvSCO
— Maggie Alphonsi MBE (@MaggieAlphonsi) March 26, 2021
Such a close contest meant Wales fans could begin to relax going into the closing stages. The party could truly begin in living rooms from Newport to Wrexham – not to mention north of the border – when Van der Merwe’s last-gasp try sealed a famous Scottish triumph.
And legendary Welsh Championship winners of years gone by were quick to offer their congratulations to the current crop.
Congrats the lads 🙌🏼 🏴 @WelshRugbyUnion
— Jamie Roberts (@Jamiehuwroberts) March 26, 2021
— Mike Phillips (@mikephillips009) March 26, 2021
Well done @WelshRugbyUnion 👏🏻👏🏻👏🏻👏🏻👏🏻👏🏻👏🏻👏🏻👏🏻👏🏻👏🏻👏🏻👏🏻👏🏻
— Tom Shanklin (@TomShanklin) March 26, 2021
— James William Hook (@hookjameshook) March 26, 2021
They not the only sportsmen to bask in the glory of a Guinness Six Nations triumph, with Wales and Juventus footballer Aaron Ramsey enjoying the action from Italy.
— Aaron Ramsey (@aaronramsey) March 27, 2021
Wayne Pivac appeared on BBC 1 shortly after full-time and declared himself ‘over the moon’ to have led Wales to the title.
Staying focused on the interview was not easy with the barrage of messages he was receiving on his phone – and it later transpired his son Brad was among those sending their congratulations.
— Bradley Pivac (@brad_pivac) March 26, 2021
Carol Vorderman and Huw Edwards were among the famous Welsh faces to have had their weekends made by Guinness Six Nations glory.
And the celebrations across the country were so loud they could be heard from space…
— Tim Peake (@astro_timpeake) March 26, 2021
— Huw Edwards (@huwbbc) March 26, 2021
Of course, Wales were not the only nation celebrating on Friday night.
Scotland’s heroic efforts mean they have now won away at England and France in the same Championship for the first time since 1926.
Scrum-half Ali Price and No.8 Matt Fagerson, who was due to start in Paris before a late injury, were among those to take to social media and express their pride.
Thank you for everyone’s support throughout this brilliant tournament 🏴 pic.twitter.com/y0RFVoj4Uy
— Ali Price (@AlistairPrice) March 27, 2021
What a bloody finish @Scotlandteam 😍😍🥵
— Matt Fagerson (@FagersonMatt) March 26, 2021
Scottish players of a certain vintage, meanwhile, were keen to draw comparisons to 1999 – when Wales did Scotland a favour in the final Five Nations campaign.
— Andy Nicol (@AndyNic9) March 27, 2021
— Doddie Weir OBE (@DoddieWeir5) March 27, 2021
Exciting game to close out the 6 Nations. #6Ns #FRAvSCO Great talking points & a brave performance from the Scots. What a finish from the brave boys of Scotland! Brilliant game! Congrats to Wales & @ryanwilson89 50th cap!
— Scott Hastings (@ScottHastings13) March 26, 2021
Perhaps most importantly, the game emphasised what a vintage Championship this has been.
Close contests, terrific tries, late drama – it has had everything, bringing joy to rugby fans around the world over the past seven weeks. Same again next year? You bet.
What a fantastic Six Nations.
— Squidge Rugby (@SquidgeRugby) March 26, 2021
I love the #SixNations
— Sonja McLaughlan (@Sonjamclaughlan) March 26, 2021
Dear 2021 Six Nations,
You’ve been fab.
For a few hours every weekend you’ve allowed us forget this awful time and given us so much joy.
— Sinéad Kissane (@sineadkissane) March 26, 2021
“Don’t be sad it’s over, be happy it happened”
WHAT A CHAMPIONSHIP! pic.twitter.com/dzqu4dFvXk
— Guinness Six Nations (@SixNationsRugby) March 27, 2021