Ireland claim historic grand slam

Ireland secured their third Six Nations grand slam in emphatic style when, on a St Patrick's Day to remember, they overwhelmed defending champions England 24-15 at Twickenham to join the men of 1948 and 2009 in the country's rugby hall of fame.

The Irish made light of sleet and biting wind and an England team desperate to avoid a third successive defeat as they deservedly led 21-5 at halftime with tries by Garry Ringrose, CJ Stander and the prolific Jacob Stockdale.

England, unbeaten at home in the Six Nations since 2012, managed tries by Elliot Daly in each half, but were unable to gain a foothold in the face of ferocious Irish defence.

Ireland's Conor Murray added a penalty in their only second-half score before England finished with a Jonny May try in stoppage time that came far too late to spoil what will be an Irish party to remember.

Following Scotland's win in Rome earlier in the morning and with just the Wales versus France game left in the championship, England will finish outside the top three for the first time in 12 years and could end as low as fifth.

Ireland, who have now won 12 games in a row, top the standings on 26 points ahead of Scotland on 13, Wales 11, France and England on 10 and Italy with one.

Scotland narrowly avoided a nightmare end to their Six Nations campaign, beating Italy 29-27 with a Greg Laidlaw penalty a minute from time after trailing the perennial wooden-spooners for most of the game.

Scotland scored four tries before snatching victory from the distraught Italians but the result could well have gone the other way, with an expectant home crowd of 60,000 on the verge of celebrating a first Six Nations victory in three years.

Italy were already guaranteed to finish last for the 13th time since their first Six Nations. Their string of 17 straight defeats in the competition equals the worst losing streak in the northern hemisphere's premier tournament since France racked up 17 losses a century ago between 1911 and 1920.