What is the history of the Rugby Six Nations Championship?

What is the Six Nations Championship?

The Six Nations Championship is an annual rugby union tournament contested by six countries - England, Ireland, Scotland, Wales, France and Italy. 

When did the Six Nations Championship start?

The Six Nations was first held in 2000.

It is the successor to the Five Nations, which was played between England, Ireland, Scotland, Wales and France, with the addition of Italy leading to the inaugural Six Nations Championship.

How has the format of the Rugby Six Nations Championship changed over the years?

The current format sees teams play each other once. Due to the odd number of games for each team, home advantage alternates every year. So, a team that plays two home games one year will play three home games the next.

Before 2017, teams were awarded two points for a win, one for a draw, and none for a loss. However, a bonus point system was then introduced, awarding four points for a win, two for a draw, none for a loss, as well as one point for scoring four or more tries in a match, and one for losing a match by seven points or fewer. If a team wins the Grand Slam, meaning they win all five of their games, they are awarded three additional points. This is to avoid a scenario where a team with one loss could potentially still win the championship on bonus points.

Who are the teams participating in the Rugby Six Nations Championship?

The participating teams since 2000 have been England, Ireland, Scotland, Wales, France and Italy.

What is the triple crown in the Six Nations?

The Triple Crown is an additional honour within the Six Nations. It is contested by the ‘Home Nations’ – England, Ireland, Scotland and Wales. If any of these teams win all of their matches against the others, they are awarded the Triple Crown.

Six Nations Championship FAQ

Is Six Nations every year? How often is the Six Nations?

The Six Nations is an annual tournament which takes place every year.

When does the Six Nations start? And when does it end?

The Six Nations usually starts on the first weekend of February and runs until the middle of March.

Where are the Six Nations matches held?

Six Nations matches are held at the home stadiums of the competing nations:

  • Twickenham Stadium (England)
  • Aviva Stadium (Ireland)
  • Murrayfield (Scotland)
  • Principality Stadium (Wales)
  • Stade de France (France)
  • Stadio Olimpico (Italy)

How many matches are played in the Rugby Six Nations Championship?

Each team plays a total of five matches, one against every other team. With three matches taking place over five weekends, this means there are a total of 15 matches played in the Six Nations every year.

How long is a rugby match in Six Nations?

Rugby matches are 80 minutes long, split into two halves of 40 minutes.

Is Six Nations rugby league or union?

Six Nations is a rugby union tournament.

What is the prize for winning the Rugby Six Nations Championship?

The winners of the Six Nations are presented with the Championship Trophy. The current iteration of the trophy was first presented in 1993, and was originally conceived by the Earl of Westmoreland. It is made of sterling silver, was designed by James Brent-Ward, and constructed by a team of eight silversmiths from William Comyns, a London-based firm.

There is also a prize fund, which is split between the six teams. In 2022, this fund was £16m, with winners France receiving £6m. Some of this prize money is split between players.

How can I watch the Rugby Six Nations Championship matches?

In the UK, Six Nations matches are split between the BBC and ITV. S4C also broadcast some matches in Wales.

In Ireland, the tournament is split across RTE and Virgin Media.

In France, Six Nations matches are exclusively shown on France 2.

In Italy, Sky Italia hold exclusive rights to the tournament.

What is the record attendance for a Rugby Six Nations Championship match?

It is not known what the record attendance for a Six Nations match is, but the biggest stadium to host a Six Nations game was Croke Park, with a capacity of 82,300. Croke Park was used by Ireland between 2007 and 2010 while their traditional home stadium Lansdowne Road was demolished and rebuilt, with the Aviva Stadium being built on the site and opened in 2010.

How much are Six Nations tickets?

Ticket sales are handled by each union individually. A large number of tickets are distributed among union members, clubs and schools. Club rugby fans are usually offered the opportunity to buy Six Nations tickets as well.

Some tickets are also made available for the general public, although it can be hard to secure tickets.

Prices differ between countries and also depend on the game. Prices for the 2023 tournament ranged from £22 (France, Category 7) to £184 (England, Premium).

Winners and Losers

Who has won the most Rugby Six Nations Championship titles?

England have won the most Six Nations titles with seven. France and Wales have both won it six times, while Ireland have won it four times. Both Scotland and Italy are yet to win the tournament. 

Which team has won the most Grand Slams in the Rugby Six Nations Championship?

France and Wales have both won the most Grand Slams in Six Nations history, with four each. England and Ireland have both won two Grand Slams.

Who won the Six Nations 2022?

France won the 2022 Six Nations, which was their first title since 2010. They also won their fourth Grand Slam, winning all five of their games.

Who is the top scorer in the Six Nations Championship?

The top scorer in the history of the Six Nations is Ronan O’Gara of Ireland, who scored 557 points in the tournament during his career.

Jonny Wilkinson of England is second in the table with 546.

O’Gara’s record is likely to be broken in the 2023 tournament by his Ireland successor Johnny Sexton, who is currently on 531 points.

What are the records for the Six Nations Championship?

The player who has made most appearances in Six Nations history is Sergio Parisse of Italy. He played in 69 Six Nations matches between 2004 and 2019.

The top try scorer in Six Nations history is Ireland legend Brian O’Driscoll with 26. 

When did Italy last win a Six Nations game?

Italy last won a Six Nations game in the 2022 tournament, beating Wales 22-21 in Cardiff. This ended a 36-match losing streak in the tournament for the Azzurri, stretching back to 2015.

When did France last win the Six Nations?

France last won the 2022 Six Nations, and are the defending champions.

When did Scotland last win the Six Nations?

Scotland have never won the Six Nations.

When did England last win the Six Nations?

England last won the Six Nations in 2020.

When did Ireland last win the Six Nations?

Ireland last won the Six Nations in 2018.

When did Wales last win the Six Nations?

Wales last won the Six Nations in 2021.

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