IRELAND were last night crowned the Six Nations champions with a game to spare and could win a St Patrick’s Day Grand Slam if they defeat England at Twickenham next weekend.

Should the Irish, who beat Scotland 28-8 in Dublin, win their fifth and final game on Saturday, that could help Gregor Townsend’s men finish above England should they win, as they are expected to do, against Italy in Rome with third place their likely position.

England needed to win last night in Paris with a bonus point to have any realistic chance of making it three Six Nation titles in a row but Eddie Jones’ side lost 22-16 to France.

This is Ireland’s third title win in five years, but they have not won a Grand Slam since 2009.

“No one can catch us which is great, as it’s 19 out of 20 points,” said Ireland coach Schmidt. “It was great to get a bonus-point today. It’s a little bit surreal. We’ve never won it, certainly not in my five years with the team... the other two times we’ve won it away from home so it’s nice to have won it at home today.

“At the same time there is still another round to go. We’re just going to be reasonably calm about it and go again next week.”

Schmidt had kind words for Scotland who were left to rue several missed chances.

“Scotland are an excellent side and although the final score says different, I felt it was a one-score game,” the New Zealander said.

Scotland coach Townsend would see three wins as a success for Scotland and admitted his improving side still have a way to go before they catch Ireland.

“We are three or four years behind Ireland in terms of what they’ve done and achieved in their experiences over the last few years.

“We need to make sure that when we have these experiences that are tough, it goes into our work to improve. We play Ireland next year in the Six Nations and we will play them in 18 months at the World Cup and we need to make sure we are a better team when we play them again.”