By Jonathan Davies

2015 - the year of rugby in the UK

Ireland have been crowned Six Nations champions for the second time in a row after one of the most remarkable days in the tournament's history.

Ireland's 40-10 win over Scotland secured enough points to beat England and Wales, who themselves notched up huge wins, on points difference.

But Joe Schmidt and his team were made to wait until the dying embers of England's game against France in the late kick-off to confirm their place as champions.

Italy 20 - 61 Wales

The day started with Wales, who won the championship in this sort of fashion in 2013 - losing the opening game and needing a big points difference win on the final day. With an inferior points difference compared with Ireland and England, Wales needed a big win in Rome.

But things weren't going entirely their way. Italy started strongly and kept Wales down to one try, scoring one of their own in the first half. But a Dan Biggar penalty shortly before half-time put Wales 14-13 ahead at the break.

Everything changed after the interval, however. Wales stormed to one of the most remarkable 40 minutes of rugby ever seen. Realistically, Warren Gatland's men needed at least 30 unanswered points to half any chance to winning the Six Nations.

Liam Williams crossed the try line early in the second-half. Two minutes later, Williams set-up George North for the first try in five test matches.

With Wales rampant, Italy lost their discipline and when Andrea Masi was soon shown the yellow card, the floodgates opened. North completed his hat-trick inside 10 minutes.

In an era of tactical kicking, Wales ran the ball from almost every position. Rhys Webb, captain Sam Warburton and Scott Williams all scored. And with Dan Biggar in fine kicking form, Wales scored 47 unanswered points in the second-half. At that point, England would need to beat France by 24 points and Ireland 28 to prevent Wales from winning the championship. By as the game drew to a close, Leonardo Sarto raced away for Italy's second converted-try of the game.

A defiant defensive performance against Ireland last week, a stunning attacking performance against Italy in the final game, had Wales peaked at the perfect moment?

Scotland 10 - 40 Ireland

Just 10 minutes after the game finished in Rome, Ireland and Scotland kicked-off in Edinburgh. Pundits and commentators said winless Scotland could play with no fear, and that made them dangerous. Though winless, Scotland hadn't lost by huge margins.

But that late try from Leonardo Sarto meant Ireland needed 21 points, not 28.

If they looked nervous during the anthems, Ireland didn't show it in the opening exchanges. They too ran the ball from almost everywhere.

Only a last-ditch Stuart Hogg prevented Robbie Henshaw from crossing the line inside a couple of minutes. But Ireland took their time and captain Paul O'Connell, who won his 101th cap, scored their first try.

Johnny Sexton, return to fine form after a disappointing performance against Wales, converted and a further penalty gave Ireland a 10 point lead in as many minutes.

Before long, Ireland scored another through man of the match, Sean O'Brien. With a lineout in their own 22, O'Brien brushed past a few weak challenges and put Ireland further ahead.

Scotland did spring into life with their own running game and fly-half Finn Russell scored Scotland's only try of the game.

Two penalties either side of half-time from Sexton and a quick-fire try from Henshaw soon put Ireland 30-10 up, needing a single score to pass the target set by Wales.

When Sexton missed consecutive penalties, Wales thought 'Could it be our day?'. But Sexton was successful at the third attempt and when Sean O'Brien scored a second try, Ireland confirmed that Wales, despite their best efforts, would not be crowned Six Nations champions.

The Ireland team went for their showers and post-match meal, and with an estimated 10,000 Irish supporters staying behind in Murrayfield to watch the England game on the big screens, all they could do it wait.

England 55 - 35 France

Ireland's brilliant performance in Scotland meant England had to win by 26 points to be crowned champions for the first time since 2011.

In a packed and red-hot Twickenham, after thee years of finishing as runners-up, with the Rugby World Cup just months away, England too thought 'this is our year'.

And they couldn't have got off to a better start. Ben Youngs scored England first try in a matter of minutes after trademark Jonathan Joseph break from midfield.

But Twickenham was soon stunned to silence as France hit back with two tries in quick succession through Sebastien Tillous-Borde and Noa Nakaitaci, the second of which came from their own 22.

George Ford hit back with a penalty and Joseph again produced a stunning break from underneath his own posts. Reaching the halfway line, he kicked ahead and when Luther Burrell couldn't gather, Ben Youngs was there again to dodge two tackles and score his second.

Another penalty from Ford made it 27-15 at the break in pulsating first-half, with the Twickenham crowd bouncing in excitement and agony.

Ford's restart went straight out and France expressed their brute strength with a number of drives and Maxime Mermoz scored the first try of the second half.

England again hit back. This time Youngs turned provider for his half-back partner George Ford. The pair then combined to provide wing Jack Nowell with the eighth try of the match.

All of the momentum was with England and it looked like they would go on to score enough points to beat Ireland. But they lost all momentum when James Haskell was sin binned.

France took full advantage when Mermoz and Nakaitaci again ran the length of the pitch and, to everyone's surprise, found prop Vincent Debaty in support to cross for the try.

The drama continued still. Billy Vunipola then charged over. England needed eight more points to win the championship. All eyes were on England's attack, but disaster struck when France pushed Benjamin Kayser over for yet another try. It left England needing 13 points in the space of 13 minutes.

As you might have expected, Nowell scored his second of the game. Five minutes, one more converted try needed.

England came and came, wave after wave of attacks. Ford kicked a penalty into the corner with 30 seconds left and a driving maul looked on. England fell agonisingly close the line and it all looked over when they conceded a penalty when time went dead.

Ordinarily, France, with nothing to play for, would've kicked the ball out and that would've been the end of that. But this wasn't an ordinary day, or an ordinary game. France chose to run the ball from their own try line. They were knocked back by an English defence hoping to steal the ball back. But eventual France saw sense in their madness and kicked to touch, confirming Ireland as Six Nations champions.

Rugby World Cup

Even with a few months left of the club rugby season remaining, all eyes now turn to the Rugby World Cup in England in the autumn.

Ireland go into the tournament as the best team in the northern hemisphere. England won't have the same confidence going into the tournament, but will be boosted by the home support as host nation. Wales join England in the group of death with Australia. But those 61 points against Italy and the defensive effort against Ireland will give them huge confidence heading into the tournament.