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Dublin: 10 °C Tuesday 22 October, 2019

Ranking Ireland's 8 best Six Nations performances

From last year’s demolition of Scotland to the Croke Park classic.

8. Scotland 10-40 Ireland (2015)

Source: ArsenaL FanS/YouTube

Granted, Scotland had little to play for, but Ireland still rose to the occasion with the pressure on last year. Having struggled for tries up to that point, Joe Schmidt’s men suddenly delivered some eye-catching attacking rugby when it mattered most to claim a second successive Six Nations title.

7. Wales 24-25 Ireland (2003)

Source: New Century Publishing/YouTube

The dream was very much on for Ireland in 2003, when they made it four wins from four thanks to a last-gasp Ronan O’Gara drop-goal in a performance full of grit and resilience. Sadly for Ireland, they were hammered by a Jonny Wilkinson-inspired England 42-6 in their final match as their hopes ended at the expense of Clive Woodword’s men, who would win the Rugby World Cup later that year, but that doesn’t detract from the tireless display in Cardiff.

6. England 13-19 Ireland (2004)

Source: Default Name/YouTube

A game that was huge from a psychological perspective more than anything else. Having grown accustomed to going to Twickenham and getting beaten heavily, Ireland got their first-ever Six Nations win there in 2004, as a superbly executed Girvan Dempsey try put them on course for a memorable victory.

5. Ireland 20-14 England (2001)

Source: Conor Ryan/YouTube

Another very significant result from a historical perspective. Having been beaten 50-18 the previous year at Twickenham, Ireland stunned a very good England side a year later, thanks in part to a superb Keith Wood try and an equally spectacular Peter Stringer tap tackle.

4. France 20-22 Ireland (2014)

Source: RBS 6 Nations/YouTube

The result that secured just Ireland’s second Six Nations title since the competition began, many doubted whether Joe Schmidt’s side could do it given their abysmal record in France, but they won there for just the second time in 42 years to make history.

3. France 25-27 Ireland (2000)

Source: Conor Ryan/YouTube

Another rare win in Paris and an equally nerve-wracking 80 minutes, it was also the moment when Brian O’Driscoll truly announced himself on the international rugby scene with a sublime hat-trick of tries.

2. Wales 15-17 Ireland (2009)

Source: Conor Ryan/YouTube

It wasn’t exactly vintage rugby, but given what was at stake and the enormous pressure the players were under to deliver a first Six Nations title, this match deserves to be remembered as one of Ireland’s finest performances.

1. Ireland 43-13 England (2007)

Source: Paul Burns/YouTube

What is there left to say about the afternoon where everything went right? Ireland made up for their disappointing loss to France in their previous first-ever Six Nations Croke Park match with a stunning defeat of England, amid a display full of intelligence, courage and skill.

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About the author:

Paul Fennessy

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