Six Nations 2019: who needs what to be crowned champions?
Ireland remain in the hunt but Wales or England the look more likely title winners
Warren Gatland’s Wales are in pole position heading into the final weekend. Photograph: Ian Rutherford/PA
The final round of the 2019 Six Nations is almost upon us, and three nations head into the final weekend with hopes of being crowned champions.
Ireland’s win over France on Sunday means their Championship defence is still - just about - alive, although it will require a relative miracle for Joe Schmidt to sign off with a fourth title success.
Wales are currently in the box seat - they have four wins from four and are chasing a first Grand Slam since 2012, but welcome a rejuvenated Ireland to Cardiff on Saturday.
England meanwhile know a victory over Scotland will be enough, providing Schmidt’s men do them a favour and win at the Millennium Stadium.
A thrilling denouement awaits - here is are the permutations which would see Ireland, Wales and England lift the Six Nations title.
An opening weekend defeat to England meant Ireland’s hopes of winning the Six Nations were always going to be slim, something compounded by a failure to secure a bonus point away to Scotland. They currently sit in third place on 14 points, meaning an improbable bonus point win away to Wales would leave them on 19. England have 15 points and are likely to beat Scotland with a bonus point - so Ireland’s total of 19 wouldn’t be enough. Should England beat Scotland without a bonus point, they would still be likely to win the tournament ahead of Ireland on points difference - England’s is +83, Ireland’s is +19. If Ireland beat Wales and Scotland beat England, the Championship is almost guaranteed to be Ireland’s.
If Wales beat Ireland with a bonus point they finish on 21 points, with a further three bonus points awarded for the Grand Slam leaving them on 24 overall. Victory without a bonus point would see them finish on 20 points - with the Grand Slam bonus then leaving them on 23. Defeat will see Wales miss out on the title - unless they secure two losing bonus points and Scotland beat England, which is unlikely. Wales currently have a superior points difference to Ireland - +31 to +19.
England are in a strong position providing Ireland can beat Wales in Cardiff. If they do, a bonus point win over Scotland would guarantee the title, while a win without a bonus point should almost certainly be enough, given Ireland are 64 points worse off on points difference. If Scotland win at Twickenham for the first time since 1983, then the title will go to Ireland or Wales.