Six Nations Tournament


July 5, 2022

The Six Nations Tournament is a rugby union competition, played each year in February and March by the men's teams of England, Scotland, France, Wales, Ireland and Italy. For sponsorship reasons, this tournament has been officially called in English Guinness Six Nations since the 2019 edition. It took over from the NatWest Six Nations of the 2018 edition, the RBS Six Nations (from 2003 to 2017), Lloyds TSB Six Nations Championship (from 2000 to 2002) and the Lloyds TSB Five Nations Championship (in 1998 and 1999). Before being contested between six teams, it was simply designated Five Nations Tournament (from 1910 to 1931 and from 1947 to 1999), Four Nations Tournament or Home Nations Championship (British tournament, from 1882 to 1909, then from 1932 to 1939). The Home Nations Championship is the first international rugby union tournament, and opposed the four nations of the British Isles. France was admitted in 1910 then Italy in 2000. The best record in the competition is jointly held by England and Wales with 39 victories each since 2021. The winner of the event achieves a Grand Slam when he defeats all the other teams in the Tournament. Victorious in the last edition in 2022, France is the reigning champion, achieving a Grand Slam. There is also a women's version of the Six Nations Tournament (since 1996) and a junior version for those under 20 (created in 2008). When the expression is used without precision, it always refers to the original Tournament. The terms men's tournament and senior are only used to avoid confusion, for example when broadcasting a women's match, or to refer to the whole: men's tournament, women's tournaments and under 20s.

The six participants

The six nations that contest the competition each year are in order of appearance since 1882: Wales and England (December 1882), Scotland (January 1883), Ireland (February 1893), France ( January 1910) and Italy (February 2000). The Ireland rugby team represents unified Ireland. She is a selection of players from the Republic of Ireland and Northern Ireland. It is made up of the best players from the provinces of Connacht, Leinster, Munster and Ulster. This common Irish participation in the Tournament has been maintained over the years, including during the period of the Northern Irish conflict. For the sake of neutrality, this team is traditionally represented either by its emblem, the clover, or by a green banner featuring the coats of arms of the four provinces.


The first editions: the Home Nations (1882-1883)

The first international rugby match was played on March 27, 1871 between England and Scotland. The match is played at Raeburn Place in Edinburgh, a cricket stadium, as the Scottish Rugby Union does not yet have a suitable stadium for an international match. It is contested by two teams of twenty players, in two halves of fifty minutes. The Scots won the match with a score of 1 to 0 (2 tries to 1, but it was the transformations that brought points at the time). Ireland started internationally when they met England in 1875. Wales started a little later with matches against England in 1881, Ireland in 1882 and Scotland in 1883. is that in 1884 these four teams all meet during the same season. Indeed, one match was missing from the inaugural edition of 1882-1883 for the Tournament to be completed. The editions of 1885, 1886, 1888 and 1889 are not finished, following disputes between federations. The English were boycotted by the three nations in the 1888 and 1889 editions due to their refusal to join the International Rugby