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Ireland wins Six Nations

Monday, March 17, 2014

PARIS - Ireland sent centre great Brian O'Driscoll into international retirement with the Six Nations title after a nailbiting 22-20 win over France in Paris yesterday.

"The emotions are starting to kick in now," O'Driscoll, the world's most capped player, told the BBC.

"It feels great to be a two-time Six Nations winner. So many seconds along the years and so many disappointments, it is great to finish my career on a high.

"When I do hang this jersey up on the hook inside it will be with fond memories.

"I am absolutely delighted. There is a huge Irish contingent here and I am glad we gave them something to shout about."

Jonathan Sexton scored two tries and missed five points with the boot before the Ireland fly-half, who plays his club rugby for Paris-based Racing Metro, was knocked out trying to tackle giant French centre Mathieu Bastareaud.

Ireland then survived a late French rally — Jean-Marc Doussain missing a penalty and Damien Chouly having a try disallowed for a forward pass — to secure their first Six Nations title since 2009.

Ulster wing Andrew Trimble's try also contributed to a first Ireland win in Paris since 2000, when O'Driscoll scored a memorable hat-trick.

Earlier on 'Super Saturday', England went to the top of the table with a 52-11 victory over Italy in Rome.

But although England scored seven tries their points difference of +73 was still marginally worse than previous leaders Ireland's +81.

That meant any sort of Ireland win would give them the Championship and, with Wales thrashing Scotland, France — who were title contenders at kick-off — finished fourth.

All England could do was sit and wait for several hours before Ireland's win meant they finished runners-up for the third time in as many Six Nations under coach Stuart Lancaster.

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