Six Nations 2014: Updated Table and Fixture Info Ahead of Crucial Final Weekend

Rob Blanchette@@_Rob_BFeatured ColumnistMarch 10, 2014

The finishing line is in sight, and three teams still have a chance of being crowned Six Nations champions for 2014.

England performed wonders to claim the Triple Crown as they defeated Wales 29-18 at Twickenham on Sunday. The young lions now travel to Italy knowing a huge performance and big score could take them to Six Nations glory.

Also on Sunday, Ireland defeated Italy 46-7 at home to put themselves in the driving seat, keeping them at the summit of the table.

They now face France in Paris knowing any kind of win should see them deservedly win this title.

However, the French know that if they can win, and if England inexplicably fall in Rome, they will steal the championship.

Here is the list of final fixtures and current standings going into the final match.

Six Nations Rugby Championship Fixtures Round 5
FixtureDateTime (GMT)TV Info
Italy v EnglandMarch 1512:30 p.m.BBC One
Wales v ScotlandMarch 152:45 p.m.BBC One
France v IrelandMarch 155:00 p.m.BBC One
BBC Sport
Six Nations Rugby Championship Table
BBC Sport


Italy v England

England know that a victory over Italy would likely see them crowned as champions, if Ireland are beaten by France. 

Stuart Lancaster's team are unlikely to eclipse Ireland's points differential if both sides win on the final weekend. Ireland boast an impressive +81 compared with England's tally of +32, meaning Lancaster's men would need to beat Italy by over 50 points if Ireland overcome the French.

Lancaster praised his young team after the victory against Wales, telling BBC Sport:

We've tried to remove the fear of playing, and when you've got the courage of your convictions it generally pays off. It's nice to get the win to put last year's result in Cardiff to bed. We lost fair and square on that day but this was our day and we deserved to win. I was really proud of the team. They are a great set of lads who always want to play hard for each other and the shirt.

The Daily Telegraph's chief sports writer Paul Hayward also tweeted his thoughts about England's win over Wales:

Italy will have to produce their very best form to stop England attempting to rack up a cricket score. They have been poor by their standards this year and were hoping to not be bottom of the table once again, as they have on so many occasions. 

The speed with which England moved the ball against Wales on Sunday should be too fast for the quality of this Italian side, and a buffet of tries should be forthcoming.

England themselves conceded too many penalties during the match at Twickenham at the weekend, and if they fail to claim the title by just a few points, they will rue the boot of Leigh Halfpenny and the opportunities they gave him to convert for Wales.

But in Owen Farrell, England have a player who can kick England into the history books. The young player has matured significantly over the last couple of years and looked composed and ready against Wales.

If he can put in a similar performance in Rome, England can win the Six Nations to add to their Triple Crown. 


Wales v Scotland

This was not the way either team wished to end their campaigns, with the meeting at the Millennium Stadium meaning nothing in terms of the Six Nations table.

Wales were soundly beaten by England on Sunday and never really got their game going.

Wales coach Warren Gatland was frank in his assessment, saying, per BBC Sport: "England were a bit more accurate than us. They defended incredibly aggressively and put us under pressure. They deserved to win the game."

Scotland hosted France on Saturday and were unfortunate to be beaten, only losing by the slim margin of 19-17. 

After such a marginal defeat to the French and a valiant effort against the Irish, the Scots will feel that they can give this Welsh team a good game.

Wales will be hurting after surrendering the championship they have held for two consecutive years, but they simply have not been good enough. 

They shone against the French in Cardiff and played the kind of rugby you associate with them. However, they have struggled for form through the whole campaign and did not deserve a chance to win the title on the final day.

Despite this, Wales will be hoping to finish the season with a good victory against a tough Scotland team.


Ireland v France

It seems fitting that the final match of this Six Nations will take place between two of the joint leaders looking to win the title, as Ireland battle France.

As with England, Ireland have been the outstanding team of this year's series.

Their victories over Wales, Scotland and Italy have been tactically perfect, and their slim loss at Twickenham was unfortunate, though they were second best on the day.

Irish legend Brian O'Driscoll will be looking to make it a fairytale ending to his career in his 141st international, per BBC Sport.

The player said his farewell to the Irish fans at the Aviva Stadium against Italy, but he set his sights on a golden farewell by lifting the title. The 35-year-old commented, per BBC Sport:

Hopefully next week there is a performance and a championship in this team. We have to go to France with huge positivity. It is one thing playing in this jersey but another thing altogether winning in this jersey. We have built a good standard. We are capable of doing great things and we have to start next week by trying to win a second championship as this unit of players.

France have disappointed this year and know that even a victory in Paris will probably not secure the title for them should England beat the Italians.

They have looked slow and sluggish in their matches, only being able to edge England and Scotland out of victory, and being humbled by Wales.

If the match goes to the form book the Irish will reign supreme against the French, and a victory by a couple of tries should see them crowned as the 2014 champions.

But if their victory is only by a penalty or conversion, that will allow England a glimpse through the back door.

It promises to be one of the greatest final days in Six Nations history. 


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