15 Fun Facts on the Six Nations Rugby Championships

By Sarah Hughes on 21 Feb 2023

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Did you know…

1. The Six Nations is one of the oldest international rugby competitions in the world. The first tournament was held in 1883.

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2. The tournament wasn’t always called the Six Nations. When it began it was called The Home Nations Championship which consisted of the four Home Nations of the United Kingdom – England, Ireland,Scotland, and Wales. The tournament then became The Five Nations Championship, in 1910, when France joined. In 2000, the tournament welcomed Italy, thus becoming The Six Nations Championship.

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3. England was excluded from the 1888 and 1889 tournaments due to their refusal to join theInternational Rugby Football Board.

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4. The Six Nations trophy is crafted from sterling silver and has an estimated value of £55,000. The inside of the trophy has been plated with 22 carat gold to protect it from the corrosive properties of the Champagne that the winning team usually drink from the trophy after winning the tournament.

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5. With a few exceptions, all matches have been played in the same stadiums since the tournament began. They take place every year at the following:

    -    Twickenham Stadium in London (82,000 seats)

    -    Stade de France in Saint-Denis (81,338 seats)

    -    Principality Stadium in Cardiff (74,500 seats)

    -    Olympic Stadium in Rome (72,698 seats)

    -    Murrayfield Stadium in Edinburgh (67,130 seats)

    -    Aviva Stadium in Dublin (51,700 seats)

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6. Aside from the grand prize for the Six Nation Championship, there are numerous little battles between sides for different trophies:

Grand Slam: When one team beats all others in the competition, winning all their matches.

Triple Crown: Won by England, Scotland, Wales, or Ireland, if one nation wins all three matches against the others.

Calcutta Cup: Awarded to the winner of England versus Scotland.

Millennium Trophy: Awarded to the winner of England versus Ireland.

Centenary Quaich: Awarded to the winner of Scotland versus Ireland.

Giuseppe Garibaldi Trophy: Awarded to the winner of France versus Italy.

The Auld Alliance Trophy: Awarded to the winner of Scotland versus France.

The Doddie Weir Cup: Awarded to the winner of Scotland versus Wales.

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7. The following have won the most Nations Titles:

           -    England: 39 Titles

           -    Wales: 39 Titles

           -    France: 26 Titles

           -    Ireland: 22 Titles

           -    Scotland: 22 Titles

           -    Italy: 0 Titles

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8. A team that wins all its games wins the 'Grand Slam'. The participating teams have the following number of Grand Slams:

           -    England: 13 Grand Slams

           -    Wales: 12 Grand Slams

           -    France: 10 Grand Slams

           -    Ireland: 3 Grand Slams

           -    Scotland: 3 Grand Slams 

           -    Italy: 0 Grand Slams

9. The team who finishes last in the Six Nations is awarded a metaphorical wooden spoon. The following have the total wooden spoons awarded:

           -    Ireland: 25 Wooden Spoons

           -    Scotland: 24 Wooden Spoons

           -    England: 17 Wooden Spoons

           -    Italy: 17 Wooden Spoons

           -    Wales: 17 Wooden Spoons

           -    France: 13 Wooden Spoons

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10. France are the current Six Nations champions. They lifted the trophy in 2022 for the first time since 2010, with a Grand Slam to top it. Ireland were the runners up, winning the Triple Crown for the sixth time in their history.

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11. The most tries scored by a single player in a match is 5, by Scotland’s, George Lindsay, in 1887.

12. The 2023 tournament will be the 129th edition of the competition.

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13. England team player, Jonny Wilkinson, has the best individual performance in The Six Nations tournaments. He scored 89 points in the 2011 edition, 78 points in 2000, 77 points in 2003 and 75 points in 2002.

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14. From 1999 to 2017, the Royal Bank of Scotland sponsored the tournament, and it was officially named RBS Six Nations. In 2018, the National Westminster Bank took over the sponsorship and gave the tournament the official name of NatWest Six Nations. Since 2019, the official sponsor is no longer a bank but the Guinness brand! The tournament officially takes the name "Guinness Six Nations" in English. Guinness will be the official sponsor of this competition until at least 2024.

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15. In 2000 England won the first Six Nations, winning their first four matches but lost their fifth to Scotland (which was their only win). France were the runners up with three wins in their five matches. England won a Grand Slam in 2003, the same year they then went on to lift the World Cup in an epic win over Australia. Screenshot 2023 02 21 at 15.18.35

 

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