Rugby’s Greatest Championship certainly lived up to its name at the weekend as the 2021 edition of the Guinness Six Nations delivered three spectacular games.
The drama started on Saturday as France issued an emphatic statement of intent with a scintillating seven-try victory against Italy in Rome.
It was then the turn of Scotland to take centre stage as Gregor Townsend’s men overcame the reigning champions England for their first win at Twickenham since 1983.
Last but by no means least, Wales produced a second-half fightback to edge out 14-man Ireland in a thrilling back-and-forth contest in Cardiff to bring the weekend’s action to a close.
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Game One: Antoine Dupont’s no look pass to set up Arthur Vincent – time: 29:43
One man stole the show as Les Bleus defeated Italy 50-10 at the Stadio Olimpico.
Last year’s Guinness Six Nations Player of the Championship Antoine Dupont was in superb form as he set up four of France’s tries and scored one of his own during his hour on the field.
And it was his role in the third try just before the half hour mark approached which demonstrated what a truly special player he is as the visitors launched a counter attack at pace.
Providing support for Gabin Villiere, the scrum-half was able to gather the winger’s pass with one hand before popping an offload on his inside to Arthur Vincent to stroll over for the try.
Game Two: Scotland winning the Calcutta Cup at Twickenham for the first time in 38 years – time 80:00
Visiting the home of the defending Guinness Six Nations champions looked like an ominous task for Scotland, especially knowing they had not won at Twickenham since 1983.
Gregor Townsend’s men had almost ended that barren run in 2019 in the now legendary 38-38 draw at England HQ but came up just short after George Ford scored a try at the death.
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There was a quiet confidence in the Scotland camp this time around, however, and Duhan van der Merwe’s first-half try along with Finn Russell’s boot sealed a historic 11-6 win.
The emotions at the final whistle said it all as the Scotland players celebrated their momentous achievement, ending their Twickenham hoodoo and regaining the Calcutta Cup.
Game Three: Leigh Halfpenny becoming the 6th highest points scorer in Championship history, surpassing countryman Neil Jenkins – time 59:25
After a blockbuster two games on Saturday, the pressure was on Wales and Ireland to deliver in their 2021 Championship curtain-raiser on Sunday at Principality Stadium.
What unfolded was arguably the most entertaining game of Round 1 as Tadhg Beirne’s try helped the visitors into an unlikely 13-6 lead at the break despite being reduced to 14-men.
But Wales surged back after the restart with tries from George North and Louis Rees-Zammit, with Leigh Halfpenny converting the latter to etch his name into the Championship record books.
Halfpenny’s conversion means he is now the 6th highest points scorer in Championship history, surpassing countryman Neil Jenkins, as Wales held on to win 21-16 in Cardiff.
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