Structure of the Six Nations
The Six Nations always begins on the first weekend in February and it lasts until the second or third Saturday in March, often called the "Super Saturday". The six teams play against each other in a robin round, making a total of 15 games, and where these games are played alternates every year.
In even years, France, Ireland and Wales all have three home matches, whereas England, Italy and Scotland have two home matches. In odd years, England, Italy and Scotland have three home matches and Frances, Ireland and Wales only have two.
The league structure follows that of most rugby championships; 0 points for a loss, 2 points for a draw and 4 for a win, teams can also pick up 1 point if they score four or more tries in a match and 1 if they lose by 7 points or fewer. In the Six Nations, there is also a rule where teams are awarded 3 points if they win all their games, this is to make sure that they are not overtaken by teams they defeated that racked up bonus points.
Until 1994, teams that were tying on points shared the championship, but nowadays in case of a tie, the following tie breakers are used:
- Point difference
- Team that scored the most tries
If the teams cannot be distinguished after the tie breaks, they would share the championship, but this has not happened to date.
Venues of the Six Nations
Each team has a stadium that they use to host their home games, these are sometimes national stadiums that can be used for other sports too.
England - Twickenham Stadium
Based in London, this stadium is owned by the Rugby Football Union. It is the headquarters of the English Rugby Union governing body, and has a capacity of 82,000
France - Stade de France
Located in the Parisian commune of Saint-Denis, the Stade de France is used by the French Rugby Union team as well as the French national football team. It can seat 81,338 people.
Wales - Principality Stadium
This stadium is located in the Welsh capital Cardiff, and is the official playing ground for the Welsh national rugby union team, though it has been used to host football games by the Welsh national football team. Holding a maximum capacity of 73,931, it is the largest stadium in Wales.
Italy - Stadio Olimpico
The Stadio Olimpico is located in Rome, and it is mainly known as the home to local football teams AS Roma and SS Lazio. It is the largest stadium in Rome, and it also hosts the Italian Rugby Union team during the Six Nations, it can seat up to 72,698.
Scotland - Murrayfield Stadium
This stadium can be found in Scottish capital Edinburgh, and it is the largest stadium in Scotland and the fifth largest in the UK. It is the home of the Scottish Rugby Union team, though it has held American football, rugby league and association football matches, it can seat 67,144 people.
Ireland - Aviva Stadium
Formerly known as Lansdowne Stadium, the ground underwent reconstruction in 2007 and it is currently the home to the Irish Rugby union team and the Republic of Ireland football team. It can seat up to 51,700 spectators.
History of the Six Nations
The first Six Nations was played in 1883, back then it was called the Home Nations Championship, and it was played out amongst the four home nations in the UK; England, Ireland, Scotland and Wales. The competition was highly successful and continued until 1910, when it was expanded to include France. This expansion saw the tournament renamed to the Five Nations Championship. The Five Nations Championship was popular amongst rugby union fans, especially in Britain, and the format was kept.
This was until 2000, when the tournament was expanded once again to include Italy. The decision was made when the International Rugby Football Board realised that there was a growing popularity of rugby union in Italy.
Six Nations Awards and Trophies
The winners of the league are awarded the Championship trophy. This cup is the most coveted silverware that can be won in the Six Nations. Currently, England have won the most Championships with 29 wins, Wales come in at a close second with 28, followed by France with 17, Scotland and Ireland are joint on 14 wins, and Italy has yet to win a Six Nations Championship.
A team that wins all of its games is awarded the Grand Slam honour. So far there have been 40 Grand Slams in the Six Nations’ history, England have won the most with 13, but Wales were the first to win a Grand Slam in 1908. Most recently, the Welsh won a Grand Slam in 2019, putting their tally up to 12, one behind England.
The Triple Crown is a special trophy that can only be won by one of the home nations. If either England, Ireland, Scotland or Wales can beat all three of their UK home opponents, they are awarded a Triple Crown. Once again, the most recent Triple Crown was won by Wales in 2021, but the English have the most Triple Crowns with 26 trophies.
The Wooden Spoon is the trophy that no country wants to win. It is awarded to a team that lost all of its games in the tournament. All teams have received Wooden Spoons at one point or another, but currently the Irish team holds the record for the most Wooden Spoons.
The Calcutta Cup is awarded to the winner in the match between England and Scotland. It is the oldest cup awarded to the outcome of a single game, and currently England have the most cups.
The Millennium trophy was first launched in 1988, as the trophy awarded to the winner of the match between England and Ireland. The trophy has the shape of a horned Viking helmet, and to date England have won it the most.
The Centenary Quaich is the award that is given to the winner of the match between Ireland and Scotland. The trophy, initiated in 1989, comes in the shape of a "Quaich" a Gaelic drinking vessel, and so far Ireland have won the most.
Giuseppe Garibaldi Trophy
The Giuseppe Garibaldi Trophy is awarded to the winner of the match between France and Italy. Named after the founding father of Italy, the trophy was introduced in 2007 and so far France has won it the most.
Auld Alliance Trophy
The Auld Alliance Trophy is awarded to the winner of the match between France and Scotland. It was launched in 2018, to mark the centenary of World War I, to pay respect to the Scottish and French rugby players who were killed during the conflict. The teams have only met each other a handful of times since the trophy was created, and so far Scotland has won the most trophies.
Doddie Weir Cup
The Doddie Weir Cup is a trophy that is awarded to the winner of the match between Scotland and Wales. It was created in 2018 and named after former Scottish international rugby union player Doddie Weir who suffers from a motor neurone disease. Since its creation, the teams have played few games, but Wales currently holds the most trophies.
How to Bet on the Six Nations
At mr.play, we cover all of the games in the Six Nations, so you can place your bets on your favourite teams and enjoy our fantastic odds. If you did not place a bet before the start of the game, then do not worry, as we have the option to make in-play bets with our live markets.
Now you should have all the information you need to enjoy the Six Nations, and hopefully you can start betting on your favourite team and enjoying the tournament.
When placing your bets, it is always important to only bet as much as you can afford to lose. If you need more information on how to gamble responsibly, you can turn to Gambleaware.co.uk where you can find helpful information on how you can gamble responsibly.