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Your Weekend Sports Review

18th to 19th March

Ireland's Flawless Six Nations

Ireland secured the Six Nations Grand Slam yesterday after defeating England 29-16 in Dublin. The march to the title included three matches putting thirty points past their opponents, scoring a total of twenty tries and conceding only six. Only the match against Scotland at Murrayfield did not produce a bonus point. They scored a total of 151 points in their campaign, with 72 scored against them. Coach Andy Farrell believes his team is not near their full potential, which makes the World Cup in France in September this year a very enticing affair. Ireland are grouped with current World Champions South Africa. In addition, the group also includes Scotland, who had a much improved competition ending third on the table. Sadly for the players and their supporters, one of these three teams will not progress past the group stages.

In addition to the success of the senior team, Ireland's U20 Six Nations was equally flawless with a Grand Slam title. Georgia defeated Portugal 38-11 to win the Rugby Europe Men's Championship 2023 title. 

In cricket news, Kane Williamson has achieved a special landmark by becoming the first-ever New Zealand player to notch up 8000 Test runs. In Bangladesh, Shakib Al Hasan also reached a rare milestone by passing 7000 ODI runs in addition to passing 300 ODI wickets. Over to ice hockey where Bosnia and Herzegovina became champions of the IIHF Men's U18 World Championship Division III, Group A. In one of the closest finals this season, Canada secured their first-ever Sail Grand Prix victory after pipping home favourites New Zealand and leaders Australia. Next up is the Grand Final in San Francisco in May with Australia current leading by eleven points. 

Three FIS Freestyle World Cups concluded on Sunday. Mathilde Gremaud (SUI) and Birk Ruud (NOR) secured the Freeski Slopestyle in Tignes, France. Dual Moguls and Aerials featured at Almaty, Kazakhstan. Perrine Laffont (FRA) and Mikael Kingsbury (CAN) won Dual Moguls, with Aerials Gold going to Laura Peel (AUS) and Pirmin Werner (SUI). Craigleith in Canada hosted Ski Cross. Marielle Berger Sabbatel (FRA) and Brady Leman (CAN) claimed gold. 

Oberjoch in Germany concluded the FIS Telemark World Cup on Saturday with Norway's Goril Strom Eriksen and Trym Nygaard Loeken victorious in the Parallel Sprint. Soldeu in Andorra has been the location for the FIS Alpine World Cup Finals with the remaining two events featuring over the weekend. The Slalom champions are Petra Vlhova (SVK) and Ramon Zenhaeusern (SUI), while Mikaela Shiffrin (USA) and Marco Odermatt (SUI) claimed Giant Slalom Gold. The win gives Shiffrin 21 World Cup giant slalom wins, yet another record for the American. It is the most Giant Slalom wins by a woman in World Cup history.

The FIS Cross-Country World Cup was hosted by Falun in Sweden. Norway's Kristine Stavaas Skistad and Johannes Hoesflot Klaebo secured the Sprint Final Free, while Team Gold belongs to Sweden I. Ski jumpers were in Vikersund in Norway for the HS240 World Cup. Halvor Egner Granderud (NOR) and Stefan Kraft (AUT) won World Cup Gold, while the FIS title went to Ema Klinec (SLO). Berchtesgaden in Germany was the location for snowboarders at the Parallel Slalom World Cup. Ester Ledecka (CZE) and Fabian Obmann (AUT) won individual gold, while Austria 2 became the team champions. The FIS Speed Skiing Championships still has the entire week to complete at Vars in France. On Saturday, Britta Backlund (SWE) and Simon Billy (FRA) secured gold in the Speed Skiing. 

We had the Milano-Sanremo on Saturday, the next UCI WorldTour day-race. Final classification has Matthieu van der Poel (NED) claiming the podium in Italy. Staying in Italy and on Sunday the UCI Women's WorldTour featured the Trofeo Alfredo Binda - Comune di Cittiglio. Shirin van Anrooij (NED) secured the victory. Markham in Canada became the first meeting of the World Aquatics Artistic Swimming World Cup new season. Eleven titles were claimed with the full results here: Finnmarksløpet in Alta, Norway, brought together the world's best mushers and their sled dog teams for the International Federation of Sleddog Sports World Championships. Full results can be found here:

At the final International Biathlon Union World Cup of the season, Holmenkollen in Norway was the fitting location for home hero Johannes Thingness Boe claiming a hattrick of wins. Having already won Sprint, JT Boe added Pursuit and Mass Start Gold. Women's Sprint was claimed by retiring Denise Herrmann-Wick (GER), while Hanna Oeberg (SWE) was victorious in the Women's Mass Start. Schladming in Austria was the location for the ISMF Ski Mountaineering World Cup. Emily Harrop (FRA) and Arno Lietha (SUI) are the Senior Sprint Champions, with the U23 titles going to Caroline Ulrich (SUI) and Robin Galindo (FRA). Vertical champions are Sarah Dreier (AUT) Remi Bonnet (SUI). 

Mossel Bay in South Africa hosted the 1st World Championship in Light Tackle Boat Angling. Local stars Mike Babich and Dean Meintjes won the Individual Final, with South Africa also winning the Nations Final. Sweden's Martin Haarahiltunen successfully defended his FIM Ice Speedway World Championship title in Inzell, Germany. Ethiopia’s Amedework Walelegn comfortably won the Seoul international Marathon on Sunday. Spain has beaten Ukraine in the final of the UEFA Women's Futsal EURO in Debrecen, with Portugal winning bronze. 

In the All England Open Badminton Championships 2023 in Birmingham, Feng Li Shi (CHN) and Se Young An (KOR) are the men's and women's singles champions. Indonesia's Fajar Alfian and Muhammad Rian Ardianto are the Men's Doubles champions, with South Korea's So Yeong Kim and Hee Yong Kong winning the Women's Doubles. The Mixed Doubles winners are China's Si Wei Zheng and Ya Qiong Huang. In tennis news, Barbora Krejcikova (CZE) and Katerina Siniakova (CZE) are the doubles winners of the BNP Paribas Open, while the men's title went to Rohan Bopanna (IND) and Matthew Ebden (AUS). It also make Bopanna the oldest ATP Masters 1000 champion at the age of 43. Elena Rybakina (KAZ) has claimed the singles title at Indian Wells, while the men's title went to Carlos Alcaraz (ESP) that also moves him back to World No.1.

In Jeddah, Saudi Arabia, Sergio Perez held of defending champion Max Verstappen to win the Saudi Arabian Grand Prix. Sébastien Ogier has won the Guanajuato Rally México, the next round of the FIA World Rally Championship. The World Padel Tour spent the weekend in Santiago, Chile. Season favourites Alejandra Salazar and Gemma Triay claimed the women's title, with Arturo Coello and Agustin Tapia victorious for the men.

Until next time, have a great week in sport.

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