Six Nations Championship 2020
The Six Nations Championship 2020 – a look the upcoming competition and the promotion’s history
In a few days, a new Six Nations Championship kicks off at Cardiff Stadium, Wales.
Over five weeks, we’ll get to see international rugby union teams from six nations battle it out for the coveted Six Nations trophy. Here’s a look at some relevant team statistics and the history of the Six Nations Championship.
What is the Six Nations Championship?
Six Nations is an annual rugby competition that’s been around since the late 1800s.
Just as the name implies, the competition is made up of rugby teams from six participating nations, these being England, France, Ireland, Italy, Scotland and Wales.
For sponsorship reasons, the competition is also commonly referred to as the Guinness Six Nations. There’s a men’s and a women’s competition, and although the Rugby Union is the world’s largest rugby competition, Six Nations trumps its popularity in the UK.
Six Nations has a long history that goes back to 1871. This year, England and Scotland played the first rugby union international match. The following 12 years a series of friendly matches were held in an inaugural Home Championship that consisted of England, Scotland, Ireland and Wales.
Later on, in 1910, France was officially invited after having played four tournaments. The Championship now became known as the Five Nations. And it stayed that way for 90 years until Italy joined.
The Championship was played all throughout the century, except for shorter breaks during the first and second world wars.
That said, it would take a long time before championship winners got a tangible reward for winning the competition, and France became the first nation lift an actual trophy in 1993.
The trophy was conceived by the Earl of Westmorland and is a sterling silver trophy designed by eight silversmiths from London form William Comyns. A fun fact is that the trophy can hold 3.75 litres, which would be the equivalent of five bottles of champagne. When a team wins, no player misses out on a celebratory sip of bubbly from the prize cup.
In 2015, the 1993-edition was replaced by a new trophy designed by Thomas Lyte silversmiths.
The Grand Slam and The Triple C
In the Six Nations championship, there are two important terms – Grand Slam and Triple C. A Grand Slam is when a team wins all five of its matches and is obviously very hard to achieve.
In recent years, Ireland managed to win its first Grand Slam in 61 years back in 2009. The feat was followed up by France the following year, as the country won its first Grand Slam since 2004.
In 2012, Wales won the title followed by England who its first Grand Slam in 13 years in 2016. Two years later, Ireland won the coveted the title, followed by Wales last year.
The Triple Crown, or Triple C, is a special prize that only the home unions, being England, Scotland, Wales and Ireland can win. To get this coveted prize, a team needs to beat all three of the other home unions. However, that doesn’t necessarily mean the team wins the Six Nations.
Since 2006, this title has its own trophy as the Royal Bank of Scotland, which happens to be the main sponsor of the Six Nations, commissioned Hamilton & Inches to create a Triple Crown trophy.
Six Nations Championship 2020
This year, we’ll get to see international rugby union teams from England, France, Ireland, Scotland, Italy and Wales battle it out for the Six Nations championship title.
After the Rugby World Cup in Japan 2019, there’ve been talks about inviting Japan to the Six Nations, but for the time being, we can only expect the usual European teams to partake.
The 2020 Six Nations Championship will be the 21st Six Nation Championship. The competition begins on Saturday the 1st of February and lasts until the 20th of March.
The first game takes place at Principality Stadium in Cardiff as Wales takes on Italy. That match will be followed by Ireland and Scotland going head-to-head at Aviva Stadium in Dublin, and a clash between France and England on Sunday the 2nd of February. Here’s a look at all fixtures:
- Wales v Italy, Saturday the 1st of February, 2.15pm, Cardiff
- Ireland v Scotland, Saturday the 1st of February, 4.45pm, Dublin
- France v England, Sunday Feb 2, 3.00pm (UK & Ireland)
- Ireland v Wales, Saturday the 8th of February, 2.15pm, Dublin
- Scotland v England, Saturday the 8th of February, 4.45pm, Edinburgh
- France v Italy, Sunday the 9th of February, 3.00pm (UK & Ireland)
- Italy v Scotland, Saturday the 22nd of February, 2.15pm (UK & Ireland)
- Wales v France, Saturday the 22nd of February, 4.45pm, Cardiff
- England v Ireland, Sunday the 23rd of February, 3.00pm, Twickenham
- Ireland v Italy, Saturday the 7th of March, 2.15pm, Dublin
- England v Wales, Saturday the 7th of March, 4.45pm, Twickenham
- Scotland v France, Sunday the 8th of March, 3.00pm, Edinburgh
- Wales v Scotland, Saturday the 14th of March, 2.15pm, Cardiff
- Italy v England, Saturday the 14th of March, 4.45pm (UK & Ireland)
- France v Ireland, Saturday the 14th of March, 8.00pm (UK & Ireland)
Some statistics of Six Nations Championship
If we take a look at the stats, we see that England has won the most matches so far. And despite having played the most games, England still has the highest winning percentage out of all nations.
So far, England has won 54.6% of all matches. Wales is a close second with 476 played matches and a winning percentage of 53.57%.
These two top teams are followed by the other two home unions, while France and Italy hold fifth and sixth place respectively. There’s a particularly large gap between Italy and the other teams, as Italy has only won 12% of its matches. That said, Italy has nowhere near as an extensive track record as the other nations, having only played 100 games.
Looking back at recent years, the Grand Slam title has been passed around quite a lot between the home union teams, meaning they seem to be quite evenly matched.