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Page last updated at 19:19 GMT, Saturday, 14 March 2009
2009 Six Nations
7 Feb-21 March

BBC coverage | 606 | Official site

Italy 15-20 Wales R
Scotland 15-22 Ireland R

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By Tom Fordyce

1901: Some quick sums to send us off into the night: Wales would need to beat Ireland by 13 points next Sunday to move ahead of them in the table. See you for England v France on the morrow.

1857: Before we go, a word from a very happy Declan Kidney. "We're delighted. We knew it would be tough coming over here, and although it wasn't overly pretty at times, we're delighted. There was a lot of pressure and expectation to deal with, but we were good and positive with our thoughts in the 20 minutes after half-time. We'll just enjoy today."

Didn't want to be drawn on the Slam, Declan. Refused to even mention the word.

1852: Big love from Keith Wood for Paul O'Connell. "His standards are going up and up," beams Wood, and it's hard to disagree with him. "The pressure in these matches is unbelievable."

1846: Ireland now top of the table by two points from Wales, and as importantly the points difference is now 25 in Ireland's favour. Got to think that's Wales' championship hopes hanging, if not by a thread, then a slightly frayed rope. France, of course, can still win it, but the Slam is there for Ireland to dream about in the next seven days.

1845: "I felt awful after the England game," says O'Gara. "I've had bad days before, but I keep coming back. I keep knocking on the door and believing it could happen. We've come a long way in short space of time, and it's all about next weekend now."

1843: This from Peter Stringer: "You miss it when you're out of it. To be a part of this Irish team is special and to get a win is fantastic. We'll analyse this one, but ultimately it's one game to go now."

1842: ..and now it is. The Grand Slam is on for sure now.

FULL TIME Scotland 15-22 Ireland

79 mins: Ireland drive on through Ferris. Time is nearly up...

78 mins: The try-scoring hero Heaslip bashes on. There's a little kick through from O'Gara and Danielli knocks on sloppily. Irish scrum , deep in Scottish territory.

77 mins: Ireland soaking up the time in the middle of the pitch with a succession of tiny drives. The seconds slip away. Can we say "Grand Slam" yet?

75 mins: Suddenly there are two balls on the pitch. Feast or famine. Scotland kick clear after Kaplan spots another spot of the naughties.

75 mins: Irish scrum 5m out. "We need a ball!" says Ref Kaplan. Fair point.

73 mins: Scotland try to run the ball from deep but the passes go astray. Godman floats one out to no-one, and the home crowd groan as the match begins to slip away.

70 mins: PEN O'Gara Scotland 15-22
Scotland penalised for holding on, and O'Gara has the chance to extend his side's lead to seven points. He's five metres in from the right touchline, 25m out - and that's a super slot under pressure. Bellows and roars roars from the Irish fans - they know what a key score that could be...

68 mins: They fail to take advantage however, and Scotland try to move it wide through Max Evans - only for the ball to go lose. Ireland kick to the corner, and Godman almost tosses the ball to Fitzgerald in the corner.

66 mins: Cusiter kicks to touch after O'Gara pins him deep in the right-hand corner, and Ireland can attack from the line-out.

64 mins: Simon Taylor penalised this time for holding on on the ground as O'Connell hauls him in. O'Gara is in front of the posts, 30m out - and misses left. Let-off for the hosts. Tomas O'Leary comes on for Stringer, who's had a very good comeback game.

62 mins: Oh, Thom Evans - a mis-hit kick flies out on the full; Ireland line-out 30m from the Scottish line.

60 mins: PEN Paterson Scotland 15-19 Ireland
Scotland needed that - Ireland ship a pen 35m out, Paterson performs his usual. The game very much alive again. Flannery on for Best for Ireland.

59 mins: Mistakes from both sides. Godman tries to miss out Morrison with his pass, but the centre tries to grab it anyway and loses the ball - only for BOD to slash his kick out on the full.

57 mins: DROP-GOAL O'Gara Scotland 12-19 Ireland
Sweet hit from the Irish no.10 - he has plenty of time to line it up from 35-odd metres and is turning away and celebrating before the ball's even passed through the posts. Scotland wobbling badly now.

56 mins: It's all Ireland now. BOD nearly blitzes through before the forwards take it on, burrowing and barging.

54 mins: Cusiter scragged after a dilly-dally, and that's a pen for holding on. Hines gives Kaplan some whinge, and the ref marches Scotland another 10m back.

52 mins: Mike Blair's in trouble - doesn't look like he can carry on, and Chris Cusiter will replace him.

51 mins: TRY Heaslip Scotland 12-16 Ireland
Who says Peter Stringer can't burst with the ball? He takes the ball off the line-out, skips inside the cover and runs free, off-loading beautifully to Jamie Heaslip to dive over. O'Gara bangs over the extras. Is that the turning-point?

50 mins: White off for Scotland, Nathan Hines on for Scotland. The line-out needed that.

48 mins: Ireland spread the ball out to the right. BOD runs out of space and tries to hack on, but the ball goes into touch. Scotland's line-out is a mess, however, and Ireland steal the ball again.

46 mins: Ireland have come out of the traps at pace. Best picks and goes, followed by O'Connell - but that's a big turnover from Scotland, and Paterson can clear.

44 mins: Waste from Ross Ford - a horribly-crooked throw at the line-out to give Ireland the scrum on half-way. Fitzgerald takes the ball off Kearney out wide but is shoved into touch.

43 mins: Kearney slices his kick horribly. Strokosch gathers but his head goes into touch as he's tackled. Yup, his head.

41 mins: Kearney hits the line at pace. Lungs the size of tubas, that man, but he can't hold on to D'Arcy's beautifully-timed pass, and it's another knock-on.

40 mins: Ireland pile in from the go, and O'Gara tries a long-range dropper.... which falls short.

HALF-TIME: Scotland 12-9 Ireland

40 mins: Now it's Ireland's turn to hammer away at Scotland. Fitzgerald hits the line at pace, O'Connell drives on but the ball squirms loose. Knock on, and that's a breathless half done. Beautifully poised, but Scotland will be happier with that than Kidney's crew.

From orbandsceptre27 on 606: "We are pathetic at the moment... making Scotland look like the All Blacks. Giving away soft penalties for fun and our scrum is a nightmare."

38 mins: "Ireland! Ireland!" roar the visiting hordes as Kearney kicks deep and chases through - but what a counter-attack from Thom Evans, bursting clear with searing pace and only being hauled down shy of the line by Tommy Bowe after skinning O'Gara.

35 mins: Mistakes from both sides. Not pretty this, but it's engrossing. Blair dallies behind a ruck and sees his grubber scooped up; O'Gara's subsequent clearance is half charged-down.

33 mins: PEN O'Gara Scotland 12-9 Ireland
Scotland offside from a knock-on at the drop-out, and O'Gara reduces the deficit. As you were.

31 mins: PEN Paterson Scotland 12-6 Ireland
Kaplan not happy with Hayes this time - the big unit took a backward step in the scrum and is called for trying to wheel it. Paterson does the honours for his 27th consecutive successive Six Nations penalty.

29 mins: Slow ball from Scotland, but suddenly there's half an opening for Paterson out on the left. He tries to off-load to Thom Evans but the ball wriggles loose, and Kearney's meaty boot clears deep. Denis Leamy going off for Ireland; Heaslip on.

26 mins: PEN O'Gara Scotland 9-6 Ireland
Ireland's forwards batter away at the Scottish line. The defence go offside, and O'Gara pops over the easiest three points of his life to overtake Jonny Wilkinson as the Six Nations' record points-scorer - a grand total of 481.

25 mins: Kaplan finds fault with Scotland's forwards - scrum to Ireland 15m out.

23 mins: Better from Ireland - quick hands out wide to keep the ball alive, but Kaplan spots a forward pass.

22 mins: Scrum to Ireland after a super scrag from Wallace on the slippery Thom Evans forces a knock-on.

20 mins: PEN Paterson Scotland 9-3 Ireland
Kaplan calls O'Driscoll over, and ticks him off for use of the studs on Scottish flesh. BOD looks penitent; the dead-eyed Paterson lands the easy pen.

18 mins: Scrappy still, this match, with Ireland shipping too many pens. Scotland win a scrum 24m out, bang in front of the sticks.

15 mins: Kaplan penalises Ireland again for holding on - Leamy held up well, and he's clinging on like a toddler to his rattle. Scotland clear their lines.

From Anon via text: "If you put 'metronomic' in a Thesaurus, you'll find an entry for Paterson."

13 mins: PEN Paterson Scotland 6-3 Ireland
Scotland drive at the Irish again and again, and Ireland are penalised for not rolling away - Wallace that time. Referee Kaplan fussy? Not everyone's slice of shortbread, but he got that one right. Paterson holds his nerve despite the blustery wind blowing the ball off its tee - of course he does.

11 mins: PEN O'Gara Scotland 3-3 Ireland
Simple nerve-settler for O'Gara after Scotland infringe in the ruck on their own 22.

9 mins: Blair's kick down-field is well watched by Luke Fitzgerald, and Ireland can finally get some time on the ball.

From eirebilly on 606: "Some big hits already flying in. This has good game written all over it."

5 mins: PEN Paterson Scotland 3-0 Ireland
O'Gara penalised for going off his feet in the ruck. Paterson steps up - and we know what happens next....

3 mins: Cheeky grubber from Max Evans. Kearney runs back to cover and has his kick charged into touch. Scotland will be encouraged by this early pressure.

2 mins: So close - Danielli comes into the line at pace off Blair's pass and is bundled into touch just a metre shy of the Irish line. Good start...

1 min: Mike Blair with the drop-out, and David Wallace gathers.

1659: A thin watery sun sinks over Edinburgh castle as the anthems ring out around Murrayfield. We're almost ready.

1655: Righty - no time to waste - let us strap on the jet-packs and zoom across the Alps, over the Channel and keep heading north to Edinburgh. Brought your coat and hat? Good.

1649: This from Parisse: "We played a very good first half, and against a great team we did well today."

1648: A win's a win, in some ways, but that was disappointing in the extreme from Wales. If Ireland beat Scotland, Wales will need an unlikely pile of points in Cardiff next week to nick the championship.

FINAL SCORE: Italy 15-20 Wales

80 mins: Posts, and S Jones can't get it close from there. Italy catch the ball in front of the posts, there's a knock-on - and that's it.

79 mins: Wales have a pen on halfway. Will they go for the corner or the posts?

76 mins: Italy getting shoved around just outside their own 22. Can Wales reduce that points difference with Ireland a little more? Parisse down injured.

From ritchie4eva1 on 606: "How we needed that try, but the fact remains we CANNOT play like this against Ireland in the final match or we will get stuffed."

74 mins: Jonathan Davies names Sergio Parisse as his man-of-the-match. Hard to argue with that - his covering, tackling and off-loading has been tremendous. Stephen Jones on for Hook.

71 mins: TRY Shanklin Italy 15-20 Wales
From zero to hero in the space of a minute - Shanks bursts onto a lovely pass from Hook after the no.10 draws his man. Super score - and Hook slides over the conversion from right on the touchline for a crucial five-point lead.

70 mins: PEN Marcato Italy 15-13 Wales
Shanklin's first touch of the ball is hands in the ruck. Dear oh dear. Marcato pops over the pen to make it five out of five, and Italy have the lead once again!

69 mins: Byrne limps off injured, to be replaced by Tom Shanklin. Henson will go to full-back.

68 mins: 12 minutes to go, one point in it. Which way will it go?

67 mins: Enormous clearing kick from Byrne, from just in front of his own posts to touch halfway inside the Italian half.

66 mins: Where is Powell going? The touchline, that's where - why didn't he take that straight? Italy have a line-out about 12m out. Daft.

63 mins PEN Hook Italy 12-13 Wales
The ball goes out wide. Henson floats a loopy pass out to Byrne, he's buried under an avalanche of tacklers - but they go over the top, and from the pen Hook bends round a beauty. Wales back in front...

61 mins: Big error from Griffen - he spills Byrne's long punt into touch. Welsh line-out 15m out. Ryan Jones receiving treatment after a clash with Mirco Berga.

59 mins: PEN Hook Italy 12-10 Wales
Instant dividends - penalty 35 out, just to the left, and Hook drills it down the middle. Finally some good news for Wales.

57 mins: PEN Marcato Italy 12-7 Wales
Lovely strike from Marcato, bending the ball between the posts on the wind. At last, Gatland is ready to make changes - Gethin Jenkins, Matthew Rees and Ryan Jones are on - Bennett, Rhys Thomas and Jonathan Thomas make way.

56 mins: And again! Williams is isolated, scragged by three men and penalised for holding on.

54 mins: Poor kick from Marcato, slicing one straight into touch. But that's a suicidal pass to Shane - munched by four Italians, and the ball is turned over.

51 mins: Wales go off their feet at a ruck to concede another pen after a half-break from Yapp off Hook's inside pass. Still not happening for Gatland's men...

From nowthennathan on 606: "The Italians should clone Parisse and play him everywhere. He has the best hands, is easily the most creative player they have and he can lift a dumper truck. Awesome."

49 mins: Sloppy again from Wales, and that's another knock-on, right on their 22. Italy ready to make two changes - Martin Castro for Nieto, and Delappe replaced by Del Fava.

48 mins: Shane again - he bursts from deep in his own 22 and almost - almost - picks out Byrne's slicing run, but mis-times the pass a fraction and the ball is knocked on.

46 mins: Parisse charges from deep. Rhys Thomas makes a big tackle and Shane seizes on a poor kick-ahead from Canale to hammer a kick of his own 50m downfield.

43 mins: Parisse tries a flashy backhand off-load, but there's no-one there and Wales have a scrum of their own. Time for some control here, and Byrne's long kick should start the process.

42 mins: Another mistake from Wales - a knock-on from their own line-out to give Italy a scrum deep inside the visitors' 22. No changes at half-time from Gatland, by the way.

41 mins: ...and we're off again, Hook making a basic error as he kicks straight to touch from a ball passed back into his own 22.

HALF-TIME - Italy 9-7 Wales

40 mins: Big, big let-off for Wales. After phase after phase of pressure, just metres from the Welsh try-line, Marcato has a simple dink at a drop-goal - and slices it woefully wide. Wales need to make changes at the break, you'd think - they've had no control at all, and the Italian crowd are loving what they've seen.

39 mins: Italy scrum five metres out. Huge pressure on Yapp. Forward after forward charges at the Welsh line - fine defence holds them up.

From Anon via text: "Andy Powell could be playing his way out of the team here. Too loose, too many unnecessary off-loads".

38 mins: An exchange of punts ends with McLean chipping ahead - Mark Jones and Hook crash into each other trying to get to the touch-down, the ball breaks free and Jones has to fling himself desperately to get to the rebound ahead of the rampaging Italian hordes. Whoosh.

34 mins: PEN Marcato Italy 9-7 Wales
Ridiculous penalty from skipper AWJ - he claims that Griffen had his hands on the ball at the ruck before he took him out, but Referee Lewis disagrees, and replays back him up. Another straightforward slot from Marcato, and Italy have the momentum once again.

From Schumi-01 on 606: "Too many changes Mr Gatland."

31 mins: PEN Marcato Italy 6-7 Wales
The Welsh scrum is in trouble once again, and Rhys Thomas is penalised - difficult game that man's having. Marcato does go for the posts this time from 30m out, just to the right of the posts, and he's not going to miss that.

29 mins: Messy from Wales - too many attempted off-loads, and inevitably a knock-on results. Powell again the guilty man, but it could have been any of three or four.

25 mins: TRY Shane Williams, Italy 3-7 Wales
Massive Welsh pressure on the Italian line. and that's clever, clever play from Henson - he goes from blind to open to take the ball off AWJ, draw his man and release Shane to stroll over from five yards out for his 17th Six Nations try. Hook pings over the easy conversion.

22 mins: Poor kick from Hook, looking for a little chip ahead for M Jones, but it's straight down Italy's throat. Canale gets treatment for an eye injury, and the Welsh players gather for a talking-to from AWJ.

19 mins: Super break from Hook - he hands off Nieto to burst through, but has the ball stripped from him in the tackle just as Henson appears at his elbow for the off-load. From the subsequent ruck Italy infringe, but Hook slices a simple penalty wide of the posts.

16 mins: Extravagant from Powell in his own 22, running with the ball in one hand and almost putting M Jones in trouble. Poor territorial kicking again though, and it takes a scamper back from Byrne to make a Mauro Berga kick-through safe.

From Anon via text: "Sitting here revising for my GCSEs. I do hope reading about Wales' back 3's awe-inspiring runs are as good as watching them! Come on Wales!"

14 mins: Big turnover from Rhys Thomas after Powell spills one to give Italy the scrum 15m out. Wales yet to find any control so far.

13 mins: Oh dear - Mark Jones is penalised for holding on, and that looked harsh. Italy surprisingly kick for the corner rather than the posts, and that's a waste - a knock-on from the subsequent line-out. Why didn't they take the three points?

11 mins: Both teams happy to kick for territory at the mo. Hook goes deep, the ball comes back and Mike Phillips does the same. Another penalty from Wales - Huw Bennett ticked off by referee Alan Lewis, and Italy can clear.

10 mins: Two super bits of work from Lee Byrne - a fine leaping take under pressure and then a howitzer clearing kick which Paul Griffen spills into touch.

7 mins: Messy from Andy Powell, getting in front of Henson with Wales well placed to ship another pen and allow Italy to clear their lines.

5 mins: PEN Marcato, Italy 3-0
Worrying times for the Welsh pack. The Italians get a rumble on from a scrum 30m out and win the penalty - Andrea Marcato slots over an easy three points.

4 mins: Lovely little break from Mirco Bergamasco as a cheeky inside pass sets him free. Big tackle from Daffyd Jones to haul him down. Good start from Italy.

2 mins: Italy win the first line-out. Luke McLean kicks deep and Mark Jones makes the mark.

1 min: James Hook gets us under way.

1459: Tremendous anthem action from new skipper AWJ. It's like England in Cardiff all over again - he roars it out like a hungry lion.

1455: This from Italy coach Nick Mallett: "The rule changes taking away from the maul have made it a big step up for us this year. But it's not good complaining - we just have to keep on trying to be competitive."

From NewYorkSwan on 606: "Mr Fordyce - did you complete your journey by bicycle, to be greeted in Rome by welcoming Italians, Welsh and saddle sores?"

Ah, what a trip to Paris that was, NewYorkSwan. The bikes are back in the sheds this weekend, but plans are already afoot for a Cardiff-Dublin ride for next season. And a possible North Island extravaganza for that little tournament in 2011...

1450: A reminder that Wales' points difference is currently 23 worse than Ireland's, meaning they need to pile up some decent numbers ahead of any championship decider next weekend in Cardiff. Let's see what the orange marauders in the backs - Hook, Henson, Byrne - can conjure up.

1445: Lovely afternoon in Rome - cloudless skies as blue as the Italian shirts. T-shirts all round.

1435: "Even the mention of the words 'Grand Slam' is bad luck," says former Ireland and Lions hooker Keith Wood, looking forward to the clash at Murrayfield later and - if what he says is true - instantly putting the mockers on the championship leaders.

From Welshdragon164 on 606: "I'm more excited about today's rugby than any of the previous weekends in this tournament. I think that is mostly in wanting to see Henson and Roberts pair up, and also in wanting to see how far Scotland can push Ireland. I can't stop looking at my clock."

1425: Nine changes from Warren Gatland, of course, after that battering in Paris last time out, including starts for centre Gavin Henson, fly-half James Hook, prop Rhys Thomas and flanker Dafydd Jones. Alun-Wyn Jones, meanwhile, becomes the youngest forward to captain Wales since 1934.

1420: With 40 minutes to go until the off, Italy and Wales' players are prowling the turf at the Stadio Flaminio. A few stats to get us warmed up: Wales might be red-hot favourites, but they've lost on two of their last three trips to Rome. At the same time, Italy have lost their last six Tests on the bounce.

1415: "overexcited" (adjective) - Def. excessively enthusiastic or agitated. And why not? The penultimate, and potentially pivotal, weekend of this year's Six Nations is upon us.

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see also
Italy 15-20 Wales
14 Mar 09 |  Rugby Union
I'm not under pressure - Mallett
13 Mar 09 |  Rugby Union
Castrogiavanni dropped by Italy
12 Mar 09 |  Rugby Union
Scotland 15-22 Ireland
14 Mar 09 |  Rugby Union
Hamilton wins Scotland lock role
11 Mar 09 |  Scottish
Ireland 14-13 England
28 Feb 09 |  Rugby Union
Scotland 26-6 Italy
28 Feb 09 |  Scottish
France 22-13 Scotland
14 Feb 09 |  Rugby Union
Italy 9-38 Ireland
15 Feb 09 |  Rugby Union
Scotland 13-26 Wales
08 Feb 09 |  Rugby Union
Ireland 30-21 France
07 Feb 09 |  Rugby Union

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