Saturday 17 March 2018

The Ireland rugby team cast off history's shackles

Ireland Grand Slam winning team 2009
Ireland Grand Slam winning team 2009

It all comes down to this. Wayne Barnes - yes, it was he - raises his arm. Wales have a penalty. They are out on their feet, they have no interest in the advantage so Andy Powell orchestrates the kick at goal.

The clock says 79.20, the scoreboard says Wales 15, Ireland 17, the tv camera flashes to Jack Kyle in the stand. Stephen Jones is on home turf, with 48 metres separating the ball and the posts. It has come down to this. It is at this point that Brian O'Driscoll is announced as Man of the Match.

On 80.07 Jones strikes; on 80.11 it drops just short. Grand Slams are made in these moments.

Sunday Independent

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