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Ireland give O’Driscoll the perfect send-off
Ireland gave Brian O’Driscoll the perfect farewell in his final international when they hung on to beat France 22-20 in a dramatic finale to the Six Nations Championship Paris.
Earlier in the day, England did as much as they could to pile the pressure on Ireland when they romped to a 52-11 victory over Italy in Rome. Stuart Lancaster’s team ran the Azzurri ragged with 7 tries in a high quality display, leaving Ireland in the knowledge that nothing short of a second win in 42 years over the French in Paris is what was required to lift the championship.
In a pulsating climax to one of the best tournaments in years, Ireland outscored the French by 3 tries to 2, giving them their first championship since 2009. Jonathon Sexton’s radar was slightly off with the boot however he underlined his credentials as the best 10 in world rugby with a brace of tries, ensuring that the final chapter of O’Driscoll’s remarkable career was closed on a winning note.
The final few minutes of the match dished out unbelievable drama and tension as the French sent the ball wide to Damien Chouly who looked to have scored the winning try in the corner, only for the referee Steve Walsh and TMO Gareth Simmonds to determine the final pass was forward.
O’Driscoll’s departure from the sport couldn’t have happened in a more spectacular fashion. The Irish legend bows out as the world record holder with 141 international caps and without question will be regarded as one of, if not the best number 13 to have played.
In the the other game of the day, Wales finished their campaign on a high when they lit up the Millennium Stadium, scoring 7 tries on their way to a 51-3 demolition of a hapless Scotland.
Wales finished third in the Championship behind England with France Scotland and Italy making up the rest of the table.