England head coach Stuart Lancaster acclaimed Ireland's coronation as RBS 6 Nations champions as the perfect way to mark Brian O'Driscoll's international retirement.
A 52-11 victory over Italy at the Stadio Olimpico kept England in title contention until the Irish edged France 22-20 in a heart-stopping climax to the tournament in Paris.
Lancaster views Ireland as worthy champions and was delighted for O'Driscoll, the world's most capped player, who participated in the final Test of a stellar 15-year career.
"Credit to Ireland. They are deserved winners and it's a fitting finale and send-off for Brian O'Driscoll, a legend of the game who everyone in this squad respects massively," Lancaster said.
"We always knew this was going to be one of the tightest Six Nations and that it would go down to the wire."