It was a memorable final round of matches in the Six Nations for the men from Franklin’s Gardens.
In the first game on Saturday George North extended his try scoring record in this year’s competition to four in successive matches, sprinting home from long range as Wales put nine past Italy in a 67-14 romp.
— George North (@George_North) March 21, 2016
North’s all-round performance was such that he took home the man of the match medal, but this was trumped by the silverware that Dylan Hartley had in his bed on Sunday morning.
Morning!! 😄 https://t.co/Bj8dvHKCuh
— Dylan Hartley (@DylanHartley) March 20, 2016
England already knew going into their Stade de France date with France that they were going home with the Six Nations trophy no matter the result. But there was still the Grand Slam to play for, and Hartley’s men were made to work hard by a French team that hung onto the visitors’ coat tails thanks to Maxime Machenaud’s goal kicking accuracy.
However France were unable to match England’s opportunism, with Danny Care, Dan Cole and Anthony Watson scoring the tries that took their team out of reach.
There was a nasty moment for Hartley, who was stretchered off after a collision with Uini Atonio, but he recovered in time to receive the trophy and celebrate on the pitch with his team mates.
Hartley has received plenty of praise from all quarters for the way he has led England over the past two months, no more so than from head coach Eddie Jones.
“The great thing about Dylan is that he’s a bit of a rogue and he’s a likeable rogue,” Jones added.
“He’s got good people skills, he is not afraid to tell people what they should be doing when they are not doing it and he’s not afraid to give someone a pat on the pack – he’s done an outstanding job as captain. He can still get better, as captain, and he will, but he has done a really good job.”
Elsewhere over the weekend Rory Hutchinson final Under-20 Six Nations match ended in disappointment, Scotland going down 26-18 to Ireland in Dublin. And Alex Moon and England Under-20 were overwhelmed 41-17 by France in Pau.