Who tops the Six Nations all-time table?
Which country holds the ultimate bragging rights after 20 years of Six Nations rugby? We've compiled the all-time table to find out.
It’s been 20 years since the Five Nations became six.
Since then, four different teams have lifted the trophy, with England – the favourites in the rugby betting to win the 2020 championship – leading the way with six titles.
But that doesn’t tell the half of it.
In all, 13,123 points and 1,274 tries have been scored by more than 1,500 players during more than 400 hours on the pitch.
But, with every country now having played exactly 100 matches in the competition, who boasts the ultimate bragging rights?
To find out, we’ve compiled the all-time Six Nations table.
This includes the retrospective application of the points system that was introduced in 2017, whereby teams earn four points for a win and two for a draw, and a bonus point for either scoring four or more tries or losing by seven points or fewer.
To avoid the possibility of a team winning all five of their matches in a single year but still missing out on the title, three bonus points are awarded to any side that achieves the Grand Slam.
So, with all that in mind, who comes out on top?
The answer, unsurprisingly, is England, having won more titles and more matches than any other country, while also scoring the most tries and points in the process.
They have also amassed more bonus points than any other country, with 36 try bonuses, 19 losing bonuses and two Grand Slams boosting their total by a whopping 61 points.
England have also established the most dominant home record in the competition, winning 42 of their 50 matches at Twickenham – or 84 per cent.
Second-placed Ireland, meanwhile, have the best record on the road, winning 28 of their 50 away matches (56 per cent).
In third sit France, who have secured five titles and three Grand Slams, but none since their all-conquering campaign in 2010.
The biggest surprise is that Wales are languishing down in fourth, despite having won five titles of their own – the same number as France and one more than Ireland.
Not only that, but four of those five titles were Grand Slams, with no other team securing more than three perfect campaigns this millennium.
That leaves the two nations that are yet to win a championship – Scotland, in fifth, and Italy, who prop up the table.
Scotland lag a long way behind fourth-placed Wales but, having won 16 more games and picked up 16 more bonus points than Italy, they are in no danger of dropping to the bottom of the pile.
The Scots can, however, take some sort of pride in being the Six Nations’ pluckiest losers, having secured 22 losing bonus points – more than any other country.
The table makes ugly viewing for Italy, who have won just 12 of their 100 matches since joining the competition (though they’ve still managed to beat to every team other than England).
The Azzurri have been presented 14 wooden spoons in 20 years, securing just three try bonus points and conceding almost 1,000 more points than any other side.
Questions over their continued involvement in the competition, with nations such as Georgia and Romania rapidly improving, are justified by a glance at the all-time table.
Having applied the modern points system to previous Six Nations, only one big question remains: would the title have changed hands in any previous year if the current rules were in place?
The answer is yes.
In 2007, France beat Ireland to the title owing to a superior points differential, with both teams finishing with four wins and a loss. Ireland, however, would have won a crucial losing bonus point in a 17-20 loss to Les Bleus at Croke Park, handing them the title instead.
There was a similar situation in 2013, when Wales beat England to the title on points difference after a 30-3 final-day win at the Millennium Stadium. England, though, would have secured a try bonus point in their earlier 38-18 win over Scotland, rendering that loss to Wales inconsequential.
That would leave England with seven titles, Ireland with five and Wales with four ahead of the 2020 tournament.
Instead, England begin the 2020 Six Nations just one title ahead of their nearest challengers.
But, should they stretch their lead this year, there can be no doubting their status as the most dominant team in the history of the competition.