Maggie Alphonsi discusses her Tissot Top Moments from Super Saturday

Wales were crowned Grand Slam champions on a Super Saturday which also saw England and Scotland play out the highest-scoring draw in the history of international rugby.

Wales were crowned Grand Slam champions on a Super Saturday which also saw England and Scotland play out the highest-scoring draw in the history of international rugby.

The action kicked off in Rome where France were clinical on their way to a 25-14 win over Italy, who will wonder how they did not manage more than one try in a game they controlled for large periods.

Then attention turned to Principality Stadium where Wales were outstanding on their way to a 25-7 win over Ireland to clinch the third Grand Slam of the Warren Gatland era.

And it all finished at Twickenham where the Calcutta Cup was retained by Scotland, who came from 31-0 down to lead before George Ford’s last-gasp try earned a 38-38 draw.


TISSOT, the official timekeeper of the Guinness Six Nations, has invited some rugby experts and legends to share their views on the games and the teams throughout the Championship.

For Round Five, it is former England Women’s flanker and World Cup winner Maggie Alphonsi who cast her eye over the action, picking out a Top Moment for each game.

It was so unfortunate for Italy, who had their chances and came so close to beating France. When you think about Marco Zanon in particular, on debut, he was so nearly the hero for them.

There was that chance in the first half where the ball just bounced away from him off the post and then another in the second half when Damian Penaud knocked the ball away from him in the tackle.

But I thought Italy played really well and I don’t think the results have really reflected the way they have performed over the course of the Championship.

Wales were relentless in defence, they just never gave up on anything. The try they scored early was very good but for me it was the defence that summed up the way Wales played that game.

I knew that Wales would have an advantage going into that game, just with the way they have played at home and what they did to England.

The confidence in the team has grown over the course of the Championship. It wasn’t a surprise that they won, but it was surprising just how long they kept Ireland out.

Everyone is talking about Warren Gatland being a fantastic coach, and he is, but I think it’s also important to recognise Shaun Edwards and the work he has done with their defence. The ferocity in their defence is brilliant so fair play to them. I think they left their best to the last game.

The whole game was a top moment, but the standout moment was that Sam Johnson try. But you’ve also got Stuart McInally’s try where he charged down Owen Farrell to start it all off. The McInally try was impressive just because a hooker, who is a former back row, got all the way over from halfway. Jonny May came from an angle and McInally just changed his line to make the tackle more difficult. For England to lose a lead like that was remarkable but the way Scotland scored those tries was amazing.

I’ve not really seen any games like that before. The closest thing I can compare it to was England against France at Twickenham back in 2015, when they were going for the Championship and fell just short. That was another that was similarly high-scoring and perhaps unexpected. The final round is always exciting, but the way it ended this year was so incredible.

It’s hard but the TISSOT Top Moment in Rome for me was Damian Penaud getting back to tackle Marco Zanon as he was about to score. Zanon, on debut, looked set to be the hero, having been unlucky in the first half, but he just had the ball in the wrong hand. That gave Penaud the chance to make that tackle, and then a minute later he goes and scores the try to win it.

My TISSOT Top Moment from Cardiff tells you a bit about what I like in a player. For me, I’m all about defence and I love a player who will put their body on the line and never gives up. So I’m going for Hadleigh Parkes’ tackle on Jacob Stockdale. Usually if you give Stockdale a bit of space, he’ll take a mile. But Parkes came back after Stockdale had made the break and wrapped him up with the perfect tackle. It just seemed to epitomise Wales’ defence.

My TISSOT Top Moment at Twickenham has to be the best try of the game, and for me that was Sam Johnson’s one that put Scotland in front for the first time. The way he scored that try, it was Finn Russell’s lovely short pass to put him through. He then brushed off four players on his way to the line. It all starts with Finn Russell, who just draws in players so well to put people into space. But I didn’t think Sam Johnson was going to go all the way. About ten metres from the line he looks sure to be caught but he gets around the last man and then shows superb strength to get over Ben Spencer to score.