What Is the Six Nations Championship?
Like any global sport, rugby has various international tournaments that pit national teams against one another for fame and glory. The oldest and most prestigious of these tournaments is the Six Nations Championship. Every year, the four nations that make up the United Kingdom and two nearby European countries compete for the title. Read on to learn all about the Six Nations Championship.
Six Nations Championship
The Six Nations Championship is an annual rugby union tournament that features teams from six European nations. The Six Nations is one of the most prestigious rugby union competitions in the world, featuring star players from some of the top rugby nations. Read on to learn more about the Six Nations Championship, including its history, teams, and format.
- Venue: Aviva Stadium (Ireland), BT Murrayfield (Scotland), Principality Stadium (Wales), Stade de France (France), Stadio Olimpico (Italy), Twickenham Stadium (England)
- Location: Ireland, Scotland, Wales, France, Italy, England
- Date: February 4, 2023 - March 18, 2023
- First Tournament: 1883
- Most Championships: England (29)
The Six Nations Championship was first played in 1883 among the four “Home Nations of the United Kingdom” (England, Ireland, Scotland, and Wales), making it the oldest international rugby tournament in the world. England won the first few Home Nations Championships, with the other three nations beginning to take their turns winning the championship title later. In 1910, almost 30 years into the tournament’s history, France was added and the competition became officially known as the Five Nations Championship. This name would be held for nearly a century until Italy was added as a sixth competing nation in 2000, creating the Six Nations Championship that we still see today.
As the name of the tournament implies, the Six Nations Championship is always played among the same six national teams. Since 2000, these six nations have been Ireland, England, Scotland, Wales, France, and Italy. Each national rugby team is made up of professional and club players who also participate in international tournaments representing their home countries.
The Six Nations Championship is played in a round robin format. Each team plays each other once, for a total of five games played by each team. Therefore, there are 15 total games in the tournament, with each team playing one game per weekend.
After each match, teams are allocated points based on the result. The tournament scoring system is as follows:
- Win: 4 points
- Draw: 2 points
- Loss: 0 points
- 4 or more tries scored: 1 point
- Lose by 7 points or fewer: 1 point
Additionally, if a team wins all five of their games, they will receive a three-point bonus. The team with the most points after all 15 games have been played will be declared the champion.
When is the Six Nations Championship?
The Six Nations Championship is always played from the first weekend in February to the second or third weekend in March. In 2023, the Six Nations Championship takes place from February 4th to March 18th. Each team plays each other once for a total of five game weekends. The other major rugby tournament organized by Six Nations Rugby, the Autumn International Series, is played in the fall, opposite of the Six Nations Championship.
Who has won the most Six Nations Championships?
The English national rugby team has won the most outright Six Nations Championships, having won 29 times in total. Since the tournament was first held as the Home Nations Championship, England has done well, if not dominated, the playing field. Their first win was in 1883 and their most recent win was in 2020. However, nations have sometimes shared the titles of champion, which means Wales technically has the most titles (28 outright, 12 shared).
Who won the 2022 Six Nations Championship?
The winner of the 2022 Six Nations Championship was France. The French national rugby team even won a Grand Slam, meaning that they beat every other national rugby team during that year’s competition.