In sport, everything comes down to the finale.
Whether this is in relation to a flowing team move that needs to be converted into points or the climax of a league campaign, a final day of magic can overcome even the most mundane of tournaments.
The recent Six Nations tournament provides a relevant case in point, as while the 2015 instalment rarely hit the heights in terms of excitement the finale delivered one of the most spectacular sporting occasions in living memory.
It is therefore fitting that the tournament has been celebrated through a social media project called Your Nations, which includes stored photography from match days and captures the excitement of a truly seminal event.
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Final Day Drama: The 2015 Six Nations
Although the final day of the tournament ended with Ireland claiming their second consecutive Six Nations Championship, it actually started with Stuart Lancaster’s England as firm favourites. While Ireland and Wales both offered good value for punters at 40 and 27 respectively on the Sporting Index Outright 60, England held a points’ advantage of +37 and were scheduled to play their home game with France after the other two encounters had been completed. Even though the French harbored an outside chance of victory themselves, Lancaster’s team were expected to win by a comfortable enough margin to carry the day.
Cue a day of unbelievable drama, as Wales kicked off in Rome and produced an astonishing second-half in which they ran in seven tries. Turing a half-time advantage of one point into a huge 41 point winning margin, only a last gasp Italian try prevented the Italians from arguably claiming the championship. Ireland soon turned the tables again, however, overturning their recent form in Edinburgh to destroy the Scottish scrum, overpower the forward line and win by 30 points to move to the top of the table.
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England’s Push and Your Nations Memories
This left England needing to beat France by 26 points at Twickenham, which represented a much larger margin than they had originally anticipated. This looked unlikely when France exposed England’s anxiety to establish a 15-7 lead after 20 minutes. The two giants of European rugby traded tries, hand-offs and free-flowing gameplay for the entire game, however, with England moving to within one converted try of the required points margin with five minutes left. They fell agonizingly short, however, securing a disappointing second place finish for the fourth consecutive year.
English disappointment meant Irish delight, however, but the real victors were the fans who were able to share their incredible memories through the Your Nations social media drive. Chronicling pitch-side memories from both the final day and the whole of the tournament to date, it added an additional tournament to the tournament and was fitting of an event that delivered arguably the most spectacular sporting finish of the decade.