How can Ireland secure the Six Nations title? We look at the permutations for Andy Farrell’s side heading into their clash with England as France seek to finish their Six Nations campaign on a high.
Last Updated: 17/03/23 6:35pm
The Six Nations reaches its climax this weekend as Ireland edge ever closer towards a historic Grand Slam, with France hoping for a dramatic twist in their bid to take the crown.
The route to victory is a simple one for Ireland amid a near-faultless campaign, with Steve Borthwick’s England lying in wait with aspirations of raining on their parade.
Win or not, second-placed France will be looking to continue a stunning run of form across which their only recent blemish is a loss to likely champions Ireland.
Six Nations standings
How Ireland will be champions…
Andy Farrell’s side enter the final weekend with a four-point advantage at the top of the table over defending champions France. This means…
- A win over England secures Ireland the title and Grand Slam.
- Ireland are guaranteed the title if they avoid defeat by England
- Ireland are guaranteed the title if France fail to beat Wales.
- Ireland are guaranteed the title if they lose to England but pick up two bonus points.
- Ireland are guaranteed the title if they lose to England but pick up one bonus point and France fail to claim bonus-point win over Wales.
- Ireland will also win the title if they lose to England but pick up one bonus point and France fail to overturn 20-point points difference during a bonus-point win over Wales.
- Ireland will also win the title if they lose to England and France win without a bonus point and fail to overturn 20-point points difference.
How France will be champions…
Defending champions France enter the final weekend on 15 points and a points difference that is 20 points worse than Ireland’s. They play Wales in the game before Ireland vs England. This means…
- France are guaranteed the title if they claim a bonus-point win over Wales and Ireland lose to England without a bonus point.
- France will also win the title if they claim a bonus-point win over Wales, Ireland lose to England with a bonus point but Les Blues overturn the 20-point points difference gap.
- France will also win the title if they beat Wales without a bonus point, Ireland lose to England without a bonus point and Les Blues overturn the 20-point points difference gap.
What’s been said?
Ireland coach Andy Farrell: “We’ve earned the right to have a go at that so we know how much it means to the Irish people, and their support has been unbelievable for us.
“I hope there’s a bit of a two-way thing on Saturday where we try and get them going and they try and get us going as well. You can feel the buzz.
“That’s what we’ve done, we’ve put ourselves in a position to have a crack at this and it’s something that we’ve been up front about from the beginning, which is pretty pleasing.
“Now we’re here, we’ve got to deliver. The expectation of making sure our best is saved to last is key for us.”
France coach Fabien Galthie: “Two years ago, this Wales side was two minutes away from winning the Grand Slam in our stadium. Two seasons isn’t a long time ago and there are players in that side who won three Grand Slams and five (Six Nations) tournaments.
“Whatever happens, the Welsh always put their bodies on the line. They give everything, everything, everything. For a long time, they tormented the France team.”
Owen Farrell: We’re hurting; ‘I’m ready to upset family ties’
England captain Owen Farrell admits his mother Colleen is stuck in an unenviable position as he attempts to deny father Andy Grand Slam glory with Ireland.
The personal circumstances of the Farrell family is a major subplot going into Saturday’s sold-out Dublin showdown, with the hosts odds-on favourites to complete a Six Nations clean sweep.
Fly-half Farrell is out to spoil the St Patrick’s weekend party at the Aviva Stadium after being recalled by Steve Borthwick, having begun last weekend’s 53-10 thrashing by France on the bench.
The 31-year-old insists it will be business as usual for him and his dad but concedes it is a tricky situation for relatives caught in the middle.
“It’s not weird for us two,” he said. “It’s probably a bit more weird for the family that’s supporting, especially my mum.
“She says she doesn’t know what she wants to happen. It’s probably a bit tough for her – well, I know it is.
“But in terms of us, we’re just doing our job. He’s not out there on the field, it’s not direct competition. “We’ve been doing it for a long time now. It’s not the first time we’ve done it.”
Rivalries aside, the Saracens player has been majorly impressed by what his father has achieved on the other side of the Irish Sea.
“Ireland are going really well at the minute, going for a Grand Slam which is a massive occasion for them,” he said. “They’re flying at the minute.
“They’re not number one in the world for nothing and there’s definitely a lot of pride in our family for the job that he’s doing.”
Farrell junior believes he has ironed out the kicking issues he endured ahead of being dropped for the record-breaking humiliation at the hands of the French.
He insists England are far better than that unacceptable showing and have conducted a thorough inquest.
“Obviously we’re hurting a bit from last week,” he said.
“We’re looking to take a step forward, we’re going to play the best we can and we’re looking forward to it.
“It’s two good teams going at it. Off the back of last week, everybody – especially from the outside – is very down about where we’re at at the minute.
“We’ve no doubt we’re better than that and we’re looking forward to the game.
“That wasn’t good enough, it never is in an England shirt.
“We’ve been looking at it closely, probably closer than everybody else, and we’re looking at what we can do better and trying to get that out on the field tomorrow.”