Whether it was Courtney Lawes running over the poor French fly-half, or seeing Ireland retain their crown as Six Nations champions, no-one can deny that the last week of the Six Nations was a true spectacle.
Northern Hemisphere rugby is forever being called boring and flat in comparison to the fast paced and try scoring rugby of the South. With Super Rugby racking up the scores in each game, and their ball-in-hand game being absolutely exemplary, it’s no wonder. But this past weekend proved that the Northern Hemisphere could play ball-in-hand rugby like the best of them.
Wales ran in an incredible 61 points against a broken Italy, setting the bar high for Ireland and England as the race for the Six Nations became dependent on points. With arguably the easiest job of the weekend, Wales demonstrated that they were not to be underestimated come the World Cup. A mention goes to Leigh Halfpenny, who suffered a severe concussion not long into the game, and the jury is still out on if the formidable full back and kicker will be well in time for the World Cup.
But this past weekend proved that the Northern Hemisphere could play ball-in-hand rugby like the best of them
Ireland fought a hard game against the Scottish who were unable to produce a win this Six Nations, despite flashes of brilliance along the way. Stuart Hogg carried the Scottish team throughout their campaign, showing his resilience as a player and demanding attention on the international stage. He is not to be underestimated. The scores of the Scottish did not reflect their play over the Six Nations, as improvement was obvious from the previous few years, but it is the failure to continue this play that causes them to see the wooden spoon on a rather regular basis.
Whilst Ireland seemed to show convincing wins with their scoreboards, the play took some time to get going in its post-BOD era. Henshaw did well to pick up on the heels of an Ireland legend, but if the Irish take that long to get going in the World Cup come Autumn, they might find themselves falling short of that desired World Cup final.
Having the hardest match of the weekend, England faced France in Twickenham with the tall order of scoring 26 points ahead of the four times World Cup finalists and rivals. With a score in the early minutes of the game, there was a spark of hope from English supporters that it may be possible, but the French executed their game plan time and time again to strike back every time England extended their lead, making the English fall short by a mere six points.
If the Irish take that long to get going in the World Cup come Autumn, they might find themselves falling short of that desired World Cup final
But despite the loss of the title for England and Wales, the wooden spoon for Scotland, again, it was a weekend to remember. Records were broken and so were hearts but the love for rugby was spoken for so strongly, even from those who lost.
The weekend blew the World Cup wide open and there for the taking. While the Southern Hemispheres lie in wait of October, they have seen what the North can do, and they should be scared.
Follow Lucy on Twitter @lucyvictoria44
Images courtesy of telegraph.co.uk