Wales crowned Six Nations champions as Scotland the brave bury Paris hoodoo

Wales were last night "over the moon" after being crowned Six Nations rugby champions for the 28th time – without kicking a ball.

In the most dramatic of finales, France’s failure to beat Scotland in Paris meant Wayne Pivac’s unfancied side took the spoils.

Title glory capped an incredible turnaround by a Welsh team which lost seven of their 10 matches in 2020 and came into the championship friendless in the betting market.

Yet they got within seconds of a Grand Slam last week and on the same pitch seven days later had Scotland to thank for getting them over the finish line.

“What a tournament it’s been,” said Pivac. “Certainly from a Welsh point of view we’re over the moon, very very happy.

“It’s a shame we couldn’t have done it together as a team last week. But that doesn’t take anything away from the fact we’ve come out on top and won the tournament.”

Wales will receive the trophy behind closed doors at their team base today as celebrations, socially distanced of course, take place right across the Principality.

Glasses will be raised and toasts made to Scotland who came from behind three times to triumph in Paris for the first time since 1999 – the year, ironically, a last-gasp Wales win sent the championship north of Hadrian's Wall.

Gregor Townsend’s band of heroes had arrived raging at the injustice of a fixture rearranged to their detriment due to covid breaches in the French camp a month ago.

Their determination to make France pay was clear throughout a performance bookended by tries from giant wing Duhan van der Merwe, who finished with a tournament-high five.

They lost star man Finn Russell to a red card for a dangerous elbow and captain Stuart Hogg to the sin bin, yet refused to buckle against opponents who needed four tries and a 21-point winning margin to deny Wales.

“I’m very proud of the team,” said Townsend, after Dave Cherry and Van der Merwe struck with last-quarter tries to secure an historic result.

“They came here with not a full squad and a bit of adversity, yet showed courage, effort, togetherness and skill to win.”

France would not go quietly, Virimi Vakatawa and Damian Penaud combining for a peach of a try before Swan Rebbadj nudged them in front late on.

And when Russell was sent off nine minutes from time all of Wales had their hearts in their mouths.

But Van der Merwe powered over for the late winner to leave the French frustrated and Wales champions.

FRANCE – Tries: Dulin, Penaud, Swan Rebbadj. Con: Ntamack. Pens: Ntamack 2.

SCOTLAND – Tries: Van der Merwe 2, Cherry. Cons: Russell 2, Hastings. Pens: Russell 2.

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