After last year’s Six Nations was hit by the coronavirus outbreak, this year’s edition has enjoyed better luck – admittedly without fans in stadiums – with just one match resulting in postponement.
And, after a tournament full of intrigue and controversy – which might still result in a seldom seen shared championship – Super Saturday played out in dramatic fashion. Scotland hammered Italy first up, followed by Ireland’s hammering of England.
That set the stage for one of the most explosive matches in recent Six Nations memory. Wales travelled France, where a win would secure European rugby’s equivalent of sporting immortality, a Grand Slam. Any win would give Wales the title and the clean sweep in Paris, but France, too, had tournament ambitions of their own.
Les Bleus knew that a bonus-point win would put them right back in the picture as championship winners, with their postponed match against Scotland to come on Friday March 26.
Wales, too, knew that a draw or two losing bonus points would seal the championship title, even if their Grand Slam dreams would be washed away.
What followed was one of the most pulsating fixtures in Six Nations history, with the lead chopping and changing, with yellow and red cards, until finally, with the clock in red, France scored in the corner to end Wales’ Grand Slam hopes, win the match, and secure the bonus point, too.
Wales did secure a losing bonus point of their own, however, which could be crucial come Friday night.
So who can win the Six Nations?
Points difference could decide the championship. If France beat Scotland and earn a four-try bonus point in the process, they will be level on table points with Wales. That will bring points difference into play.
For France to win
Wales currently have a 20-point lead on France in terms of points difference. That means that, for France to win the tournament, they must beat Scotland on Friday night by more than 20 points and score four tries.
If France score four tries and win by exactly 20 points, then both teams will be level on table points and points difference. The next differentiating factor is tries scored. Wales scored 20 tries in their campaign, while France have scored 15 so far. Therefore, if France win by exactly 20 points, they also need to score six tries or more to win the tournament.
For Wales to win
If France lose, draw, win without scoring four tries, or win with four tries but not by more than 20 points, then Wales will be champions.
For the title to be shared
If table points, points difference and tries scored are all equal come full time in Paris, then the championship will be shared between France and Wales.
That means that, if France score five tries in beating Scotland and win by exactly 20 points, then the championship will be shared for the first time since 1988 (where it was also shared between France and Wales).
Six Nations 2021 fixtures, results and TV schedule
ROUND ONE FIXTURES
Italy 10 France 50…. Stadio Olimpico (Rome)
England 6 Scotland 11… Twickenham (London)
Wales 21 Ireland 16…. Principality Stadium (Cardiff)
ROUND TWO FIXTURES
England 41 Italy 18…. Twickenham (London)
Scotland 24 Wales 25…. BT Murrayfield (Edinburgh)
Ireland 13 France 15…. Aviva Stadium (Dublin)
ROUND THREE FIXTURES
Italy 10 Ireland 48... Stadio Olimpico (Rome)
Wales 40 England 24…. Principality Stadium (Cardiff)
France v Scotland…. Match postponed due to Covid – to be played on Friday March 26
ROUND FOUR FIXTURES
Italy 7 Wales 48…. Stadio Olimpico (Rome)
England 23 France 20…. Twickenham (London)
Scotland 24 Ireland 27…. BT Murrayfield (Edinburgh)
ROUND FIVE FIXTURES
Scotland 52 Italy 10…. BT Murrayfield (Edinburgh)
Ireland 32 England 18…. Aviva Stadium (Dublin)
France 32 Wales 30…. Stade de France (Paris)
FINAL POSTPONED FIXTURE
France v Scotland…. Stade de France (Paris) – 8pm, Friday, March 29 on BBC 1
How to watch Six Nations 2021 live on TV
The final, championship-deciding match between France and Scotland in Paris will be broadcast on the BBC.
Plus we will be live blogging the game, too.