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Ireland win Six Nations after thriller

Brian O'Driscoll's international career comes to an end with Ireland holding on to win 22-20 against France.

Last updated: 15 Mar 2014 20:24
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It was Ireland's first win at the Stade de France since O'Driscoll made his championship debut in 2000 [AFP]

Ireland held on grimly in a nail-biting finish to beat France 22-20 and win their first Six Nations since 2009, giving centre Brian O'Driscoll the perfect send off in his last Test.

With just over a minute remaining, O'Driscoll's heart sank when No. 8 Damien Chouly scored in the right corner, but the try was disallowed for a forward pass.

Six Nations Table
  Team Played  Won  Lost  Points 
Ireland 5 4 1 8
England 5 4 1 8
3 Wales 5 3 2 6
4 France 5 3 2 6
5 Scotland 5 1 4 2
6 Italy 5 0 5 0

The game's highlight moment saw an inspirational move for France's first try, scored by fullback Brice Dulin, and a controversial second try from hooker Dimitri Szarzewski, who appeared to knock on before bundling over the line.

Ireland flyhalf Jonathan Sexton did most of the damage, scoring two tries to steal the limelight in O'Driscoll's 141st and final Test.

"I promise you it's the last time in a green jersey. I'm absolutely overwhelmed,'' O'Driscoll said.

"Huge emotions now, the last time I take this jersey off and hang it up inside, that'll be the end. Unless I decide to put one on at home when no one is watching.'' 

England retained hope

Earlier in the day England recorded an emphatic 52-11 victory over Italy to give themselves a chance of winning the Six Nations championship - relying on a France victory over Ireland that never came.

England, hoping to cancel out Ireland's 49-point advantage, looked to be chasing a big score from the start and led 24-6 at halftime after two Mike Brown tries and one for Owen Farrell, who again was faultless with eight out of eight kicks at goal. 

Jack Nowell, Mako Vunipola and replacement Manu Tuilagi, in his first appearance for a year, crossed after the break but an interception score by Leonardo Sarto took the wind out of their sails before captain Chris Robshaw claimed England's seventh at the death.

Having scraped three narrow wins on their last three visits to Rome, it was another hugely impressive performance by Stuart Lancaster's team, who have eight points from four wins following an opening-game defeat in Paris.

Wales thrash Scotland

Elsewhere, Wales cut loose after a first-half red card for Scotland fullback Stuart Hogg to cruise to a seven-try 51-3 win at Millennium Stadium, ending the deposed champions' patchy Six Nations campaign on a stylish note.

George North and Jamie Roberts helped themselves to two tries each in a record Welsh victory over Scotland, which was never in doubt from the moment Hogg was sent off for a late hit on Dan Biggar in the 23rd minute when the score was 10-3.

Liam Williams and Toby Faletau added further scores to put Wales 39-3 ahead by the 48th minute before the Scots stemmed the tide, conceding just one more try to Rhodri Williams late on.

Wales finished on six points, with its three wins all coming at home.

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Source:
Al Jazeera and agencies
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