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Ireland's surprise defeat hands Six Nations title to France

Thierry Dusautoir lifts the Six Nations trophy after France complete the Grand Slam by beating England.
Thierry Dusautoir lifts the Six Nations trophy after France complete the Grand Slam by beating England.
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • France win the Six Nations rugby title for the first time since 2007
  • Ireland had to beat Scotland to have a chance of retaining title but lost to Scotland
  • France then beat England 12-10 in final game of tournament to clinch Grand Slam of wins
  • Wales finish fourth for second year in a row after beating bottom side Italy 33-10
RELATED TOPICS
  • France
  • Ireland
  • Scotland
  • Wales
  • Rugby

(CNN) -- France have won the Six Nations rugby title for the first time since 2007 following defending champions Ireland's shock home defeat to Scotland on Saturday.

The Irish needed to win by a big margin and then see Les Bleus handsomely defeated by England in the evening match to have a chance of retaining their crown.

However, Scotland spoiled any hopes of a tense finale by snatching a 23-20 victory in the last rugby union match to be held at Dublin's Croke Park as Dan Parks kicked a last-minute penalty for a personal haul of 18 points.

France then defeated Martin Johnson's much-criticized England team 12-10 in Paris to end the tournament with five wins from five, clinching their first such Grand Slam since 2004.

England led with a sixth-minute try from Ben Foden, but France built a 12-7 halftime advantage thanks to three penalties from Morgan Parra and a drop-goal by Francois Trinh-Duc.

Jonny Wilkinson, dropped to the bench for only the third time in his 12-year career but brought on as a replacement for center Riki Flutey, kicked the only points of the second half.

Ireland captain Brian O'Driscoll scored an 11th minute try to give his side a perfect start, but Scotland moved into a 17-7 lead thanks to a try from No. 8 James Beattie and three penalties and a drop-goal from Parks.

Tommy Bowe crossed for a controversial try to put Ireland level, awarded with 16 minutes to play despite appearing not to properly ground the ball, but Parks held his nerve to give the visitors their first win of the tournament.

Scotland's victory, coming after last weekend's 15-15 draw with England, condemned Italy to bottom place.

Wales finished fourth for the second year in a row after beating the Italians 33-10 in Cardiff earlier on Saturday, with center James Hook scoring two tries.