Irish eyes smiling as Six Nations victory hits bookies for €900k

Ireland captain Paul O'Connell with the Six Nations Trophy as Jamie Heaslip sprays his team with champagne after the title was decided
Ireland captain Paul O'Connell with the Six Nations Trophy as Jamie Heaslip sprays his team with champagne after the title was decided

In one of the most dramatic days of rugby in living memory, well-backed Ireland retained the Six Nations title ahead of England on Saturday leaving the bookies counting the cost.

Going into the last round of games, Wales, Ireland and England all had three wins each and a realistic chance of being crowned champions.

However, it was the title holders who followed Wales’ early 61-20 annihilation of Italy with their own stunning 40-10 demolition of Scotland at Murrayfield.

Ireland’s tally set England the target of a 26-point winning margin over the French at Twickenham.

The English came close, with a hard-fought 55-35 victory leaving them one converted try away from stealing the title from the Irish.

A spokesman for Paddy Power said the outcome of the final day of the championship was “capped off with Ireland claiming the title which triggered a €900,000 payout” from Irish bookmakers,

Rounding off a remarkable weekend for Irish rugby, the women’s team beat Scotland 70-3 on Sunday to win their own Six Nations on points from France.

Sports Minister Carál Ní Chuilín congratulated both teams, saying it has been “an absolutely amazing 24 hours for Irish sport”.

“The women were absolutely awesome as they completely brushed aside the challenge of a young Scottish team with a performance which matched power with precision,” she said.