The 6 Nations was back to its heart stopping best this weekend with Wales pushing France out of their comfort zone on Friday evening, and almost out of Grand Slam contention, Italy giving Scotland a fright, and then a battle royal in Twickenham to keep us on the edge of our seats until the dying minutes.

After a moment of pure thuggery in the second minute, England reduced themselves to 14 men, then gathered themselves and put in their performance of the Championship.  A front row held together by veteran hooker and still world class Jamie George and Bristol boy Ellis Genge gave a masterclass in how to destroy the opposition scrum, reminiscent of the Springboks against the Lions in Durban in 2009 when the Beast (aka Tendai Mtawarira) destroyed Phil Vickery and set up the series win for the Boks.  The Irish scrum team will be scratching their heads this morning trying to work out what went wrong.

The arrival of the Irish bench and the enormous work rate the English pack had to put in told in the last 10 minutes to give Ireland a comfortable victory which had looked highly unlikely on 60 minutes when the scores were level.

Onward to the final round next weekend, and whether England can up their game again – and keep 15 players on the pitch – to derail the French train and let Ireland in for the title.

New Leader

The F6NF has a new leader in Colin O’Riordan after those 3 away wins, who goes top with 162 points, 2 ahead of Michael Shalloe who is 12 point ahead of the following pack of Carmen Wolmarans, Donal Crowe and Tomas Purcell.

Totals after Week 4
1 Colin O’Riordan 162
2 Michael Shalloe 160
3 Carmen Wolmarans 148
4 Donal Crowe 148
5 Tomás Purcell 148
6 Kieran Kelly 145
7 Shane McGroary 145
8 Darragh Fitzpatrick 142
9 Lee Walsh 142
10 Ciaran O’Donnell 141

“”I can’t believe it” said a stunned O’Riordan.  ” I was sitting there shampooing the dog and watching Crufts when the news came through on the teleprinter.  I’m overwhelmed.  I won’t be able to sleep all week now”.

Still very much in contention is Michael Shalloe, a long term supporter of the F6NF.  “I’m getting lightheaded at this altitude” said Shalloe from his director’s box in Bective RFC.  “Its been a long haul getting here but at last I have bragging rights.  Wait ’till I tell the brother”.

Prize Time

More prizes this week, but the winner of the Jones Engineering Welder of the Week Award will have to wait until next week for it to be decided on countback, as it was tied 5 ways this weekend.

Week 4 Scores
Declan Grennan 48
Macgo 48
Padraig Carton 48
Paul Boylan 48
Peter McHale 48
Ciarán Quigley 47
Brian Williams 46
Graham McCann 46
Kevin Kinsella 46

Experienced campaigners all, Grennan, McGorrian, Carton, Boylan and McHale have all done their time and backed the 3 away wins, which have not been seen in the F6NF for many years.

Meanwhile the Mac Interiors Nil Point Award has a clear winner in Frank Crowley, the only entrant to score a perfect zero this weekend.

“Well a prize is prize” said Crowley from his micro brewery in Co. Louth.  “I could do with a new mash filter by the way, will the prize money run to that?”

The prize formerly known as The Best Lockdown Takeaway presented by The Chophouse restaurant in the shadow of the Aviva Stadium, renamed this year as The Let’s Get Out and Party Award, goes to 100th in the table, Richie Joyce.

” A prize? I ‘ve won a prize?  I thought that was just something you made up” said a startled Joyce from his chateau on the southern slopes of Clontarf.  “That’s great.  I shall get onto the proprietor now to discuss the terms and conditions of the award.  I presume its a lifetime supply of finest beef fillet”

Next Week

The final chapter for this year will be written next week, with Shalloe’s spreads looking slightly more likely than O’Riordan’s, but an English or Scottish victory could turn the table upside down.