The Six Nations U20 is an international Rugby Union championship which is held annually. As its name suggests, it is the equivalent of the Six Nations Championships, but for players under 20 years of age. The event, which first took place in 2008 is held at around the same time as the senior Six Nations and the Women's Six Nations competitions. Due to this timing, many tune in to watch the Six Nations U20 on tv in order to be able to concurrently watch updates from these other competitions from the comfort of their living rooms. Be sure to catch each and every game, thanks to our latest tv schedule right here!
- 21 Feb
- 6 March
Six Nations U20
First organised in 2008, the Six Nations U20 is held annually. The event takes place between February and March and welcomes the same six nations at the Six Nations Championship, which has been organised every year since the year 2000.
Following Rugby Union rules, the Six Nations U20 has proved to be an excellent platform for promising talent to be identified and tested. As a result, the gameplay is sometimes seen as even more competitive than in the main Championship. Perhaps unsurprisingly, the U20 is the second most popular sport on tv in the series, after the over 20 competition.
The format of the championship is very simple. Each team meets all other teams once, totaling 15 matches. In order to keep the competition fair, the team which plays home against a team one year plays away against that same team the following year. During these games, the goal of each team is to get as many points as possible. The team with the highest amount of points at the end of the competition is declared the winner.
A team which wins against another earns four match points, whilst two match points are awarded to teams who draw. A bonus match point is awarded to any team which scored more than three tries in a match. Another way to earn a bonus point is to lose a match with no more than seven points difference. If a team fulfills both requirements it receives two bonus match points.
Three bonus match points are awarded to a team which succeeds to win all five of its matches. This is referred to as a Grand Slam. This system has been introduced to ensure that a Grand Slam team always ranks above a team which wins four matches and gets the maximum number of bonus points.
If two teams happen to get the same amount of points, then the points difference is calculated to determine the winner. This involves subtracting the total points conceded from the total points scored by each team. Should this value also result in a tie, the team with most tries is titled the champion. This latter scenario has yet to ever happen however, with match points and points difference so far proving to be enough to determine the winner of each competition.
Whilst more commonly associated with the Six Nations Championship for over 20s, the team which finishes at the bottom of the rankings is said to have won the Wooden Spoon. Similarly, a team which loses all five matches is said to be whitewashed.
Unlike with many sporting events, the teams which take part in the Six Nations U20 are always the same. There is no qualification into the tournament, so fans watching this sport on tv can be guaranteed their favourite teams will play. The six nations which compete in this competition are England, France, Ireland, Italy, Scotland, and Wales.
With six titles to their name, England is the most successful team in the competition. The team had never "won" a wooden spoon, and leads other teams with a variety of accomplishments, including most Grand Slams.
Stadiums, Notable Records & Stats
Most teams in the competition have multiple stadiums in which they practice and play. England has three stadiums, with the largest being Franklin's Gardens which is located in Northampton and can accommodate over 15,000 fans. Italy too has three stadiums, with its largest being Stadio Danilo Martelli. This stadium is located in Mantua and has a capacity of more than 17,800 seats.
France and Scotland each have two stadiums each, with France's Stade du Hameau in Pau holding the most spectators. The stadium can hold 18,000 cheering fans, making it the largest stadium used for the Six Nations U20 championship.
Whilst England is the biggest success, with eight titles, France and Ireland are runners-up, with three titles each. Many rugby tv fans will know that Italy and Scotland are the least successful teams. Not only did neither win a title, but Italy holds the record for most wooden spoons, at 7, whilst Scotland has 4. Unlike all other teams in the competition, neither Italy nor Scotland have ever accomplished a Grand Slam.
Players and Top Scorers
Whilst the players in the competition are fairly young, they attract a sizeable audience. No stadium, in fact, can hold the tens of thousands of eager fans who watch live rugby on tv. As a result, some players achieve superstar status, thanks also to their superior performance on the pitch.
Rising stars in the competition include Irish Harry Byrne who, in the 2019 edition was the top scorer. Fullback Cai Evans from Wales and French Fly Half, Louis Carbonel are also well-known players in the tournament. Live rugby on tv fixtures in 2019 continually showed these three players compete for the top spot, with Byrne finally making it to first place. Other popular players include Scottish Ross Thompson and Wales Mathieu Smaili and England's Josh Hodge.
The Six Nations U20 competition is a stepping stone for most players to then advance to the Six Nations Championship. As a result, players have a limited time to make a name for themselves during this competition, with their career success normally focused on the latter competition.
Although not as popular as the over 21 Rugby Union competition, the Six Nations U20's popularity is growing and attracts thousands of viewers every year who either watch the games at the stadiums or watch rugby tv from homes and pubs.