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From pricey Aviva tickets to refereeing gaffes: Five things we learned from the final Six Nations weekend

Popular Tadgh Beirne; Italy’s impressive tournament; pricey tickets at Aviva; Ireland lineout trusted; refereeing gaffe

Tadgh Beirne takes the road less travelled to 50 Ireland caps

Tadgh Beirne was sent out on to the field before the game against Scotland began as the rest of the Irish and Scottish players stayed in the tunnel. Beirne was given a few moments on his own to celebrate his 50th cap for Ireland. A few rowdy seconds of reflection, perhaps on a point of his career that he said recently that he never believed he would get to. The crowd stood for the bruising secondrow as most of the 50,000 in Aviva Stadium would have known his backstory of having to leave the Leinster academy and play with Scarlets before he was really recognised as the kind of lock who would be a starting pick in an Irish Test side. Beirne was a turnover machine when he was playing in Wales and the fans also know he brought that to Ireland.

Queseda will be satisfied with Italy’s Six Nations performance

Italian coach Gonzalo Quesada will be a satisfied man after this weekend. While Wales ran in two late tries on Saturday afternoon in Cardiff, Italy earned their second win in this year’s championship. But more than wins over Scotland (31-29) and Wales (21-24), Italy also went head-to-head and drew with France (13-13) in Stade Pierre Mauroy. While Ireland did nil them and scored 37 points, the Italians also ran England close in their first match of the series in Rome. That ended with England winning 27-24 although Italy did lead the match 17-14 at the break before a second-half rally from the visitors. It’s been a good couple of weeks for the Italians and Quesada, enough at least to stop the relegation terrace talk.

Ireland show faith in their lineout

Ireland earned their first penalty of the match against Scotland after 12 minutes. It was easily in range to kick for three points but decided to find touch. Regardless of how the first half turned out for Ireland, it was an early statement of intent to back the lineout and driving maul. As it went Dan Sheehan was pushed into touch by the Scotland defence earning them a lineout five metres out. An overthrow by hooker George Turner, which left lock Grant Gilchrist flapping at the ball, fell to Sheehan lurking at the back of the lineout. Even Andy Christie throwing himself at the 6ft 3in Irish hooker could not stop him from scoring. The kick decision, in the end, pressurised Scotland into error and was a success.

The man in the middle does not always get it right

Referee don’t get it all right all the time. But some of their errors are highlighted for all to see. Speaking to the Scotland players late in the second half, referee Matthew Carley said: “We’re coming back for the penalty advantage, three penalties in succession with 18 being offside for the last one so he’s going in the bin. I need 18, where’s 18?” A confused Finn Russell quickly corrected the English official, telling him that the Scotland 18 Javan Sebastian, a late replacement for the match, was not on the pitch at that time. Carley then quickly backtracked. “That’s fine, who came on for 18? What was the number? Oh, sorry, 16. My apologies.” Only then did Ewan Ashman walk to the bin.

A pretty penny to view a piece of history

The commonly held opinion is that rugby patrons are immune to the price of tickets for the Six Nations Championship. At €155 for a Premium Level ticket for Ireland v Scotland, or €135 for a Category A1 Stand ticket, the costs don’t finish there. If your son or daughter (ticket €22) wants a souvenir program that’s another €8 and if you want to listen in on all the referee on-pitch chat with the TMO and conversations with the players, then a Ref Link earpiece is what you are looking for. That’s another €13 and can be used for one match only, so they go into the bin. Throw in a bar of chocolate or hamburger and the afternoon out comes in at almost €200. A snip for a Championship win.

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