Ireland were crowned Six Nations Champions yesterday after seven hours of enthralling action which saw the boys in green, England and Wales go odds on for the title at some point in the afternoon. As all three sides racked up huge Six Nations wins, the odds swung dramatically in favour of each side before Ireland came out on top, despite a late English surge.
The Paddy Power Blog went back through the betting book to look at just how the odds changed at the end of each match.
Wales kick-started the day against Italy and at half-time their chances of winning the Championship looked as bleak Nick Clegg’s face as they went down the tunnel ahead by just a point 14-13. A phenomenal second half display for the Welsh however saw them tear Italy apart winning by 41 points in the end to temporarily top the Six Nations table. A hat-trick by George North and five more tries from the Welsh saw them secure a stunning 61-20 win.
That left Ireland needing a 21 point victory against Scotland at Murrayfield to overtake the Welsh who had gone odds-on after their comprehensive spanking of the Italians. At the break Ireland had a 10 point advantage courtesy of tries from captain Paul O’Connell and ‘The Tullow Tank’ Sean O’Brien and the tournament was wide open in the betting. The Irish were marginal favourites for the first time in the day at 6/4.
A dominant second half display from the boys in green featured tries from O’Brien again, and Jared Payne, and despite a few wayward kicks from Johnny Sexton under pressure, Ireland won 40-10. A 21 point victory had appeared difficult beforehand, but a free-flowing attacking display from the Irish made light work of the points total and the Irish were 1/7 to retain their crown.
England could still have had the final say however, but were 4/1 shots going into their home game against France knowing they needed to win by 26 points or more. In what was arguably the best game of the tournament, France suddenly showed just how good they were and England produced a sensational display in what was a pulsating 12-try contest. At the break England had a 12 point lead and were ahead 27-15. Ireland’s odds had come in to 4/9 while England’s chances had crashed to 9/4. A sold out Twickenham believed that it could be done. But despite the English racking up their highest ever score against France, a 55-35 win was not enough and Ireland were crowned champions.
The wheels fell off the chariot, Paul O’Connell lifted the trophy, and the Irish pubs made a killing. After 13 winners at the Cheltenham Festival and St Patrick’s Day, the Emerald Isle really needed another excuse for a party…
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