Rugby Six Nations - Naturally Sheepskins

Rugby Six Nations

                                           Rugby Six Nations

Men, women, girls and boys, up and down the country, will soon be clinging to the edges of their seats as the exciting Rugby Six Nations is about to start! Yes, the annual international rugby competition will soon be blasted across our television screens, internet and radio. What actually is the ‘Rugby Six Nations’ though and how is it being carried out this year?

The Rugby Six Nations is an annual international rugby union tournament between six European Teams: England, France, Ireland, Italy, Scotland and Wales. Occurring every Spring, the Six Nations happens over five to six weeks and matches are usually on weekends. This year the competition will run from Saturday 4th February to 18th March 2023. Over the years, the tournament has changed its name but it remains the world’s oldest rugby championship. Steeped in history, the competition started as the Home Nations in 1883 and included the four countries of the United Kingdom (England, Ireland, Scotland and Wales). Later, in 1910, it became the Five Nations because France wanted to compete too. Then, in quite recent history, in 2000, Italy joined – making it the Six Nations that we know and love today. Additionally, in 1996, the women’s rugby competition began - namely the ‘Home International Championship’ and consisted of the four home nations of the UK. France joined in 1999 and Spain in 2000 taking the teams to five and then six. In 2007 though, to make the tournament exactly the same as the men’s, Spain was substituted for Italy and it became the women’s Six Nations Championship.

So, what are the Six Nations 2023 fixtures?

Each team will play the other five teams once. Consequently, there are 15 matches every year. Every alternate year, each match is given what is known as the ‘home advantage’. Let us explain this one…so, if one year England v Scotland is held at England’s ground, Twickenham, then the following year, the match will be held at Scotland’s ground – Murrayfield. This is only fair.

The point-scoring system in rugby can be a little mind-boggling but here, we hope to explain it in layman’s terms. In previous years, the teams were awarded 2 points for a win and 1 point for a draw. Nice and simple. Now, however, a new bonus-point system is used to reward try-scoring and attacking play. If a team wins, they will receive 4 points and bonus points for four or more tries. Even if a team loses, they can still score 2 bonus points for scoring four or more tries. Losing by seven points or fewer also secures you 1 further bonus point. The two teams get 2 points each if they draw and an additional point is up for grabs for high scoring. A team is said to have won a ‘Grand Slam’ if they win all of their five matches. If this happens, they will be awarded a whopping 3 extra points. The previous scoring system was much simpler but this new one literally means it’s all to play for - as they say.

Now, for some cool facts all about the Rugby Six Nations that you can impress your friends with or your rugby-loving date with…

  • England has won the competition 25 times making them the most successful team in the entire history of the Six Nations.
  • The trophy that the winning team is awarded with is made out of sterling silver. It is actually estimated to be worth an incredible £55,000! The insides of the trophy are lined with 22-carat gold too – very fancy!
  • In 1973, there was an amazing five way-tie! All five teams had won two games but also lost two.
  • Now Grand Slams (when a team wins all their five matches) – England have won the most with a total of 13. Wales has a record of 12 Grand Slams and Ireland and Scotland have won three each. Last year’s overall winners, France, have a history of 10 Grand Slam wins.

Diaries at the ready - the Six Nations 2023 Championship fixtures are as follows:

Week 1: 

  • Ireland vs Wales - 4th February 2023
  • Scotland vs England - 4th February 2023
  • France vs Italy - 5th February 2023

Week 2:

  • Wales vs Scotland - 11th February 2023
  • France vs Ireland - 11th February 2023
  • Italy vs England - 12th February 2023

Week 3:

  • Ireland vs Italy - 25th February 2023
  • England vs Wales - 25th February 2023
  • Scotland vs France - 26th February 2023

Week 4:

  • Italy vs Wales - 11th March 2023
  • England vs France - 11th March 2023
  • Scotland vs Ireland - 12th March 2023

Week 5:

  • Scotland vs Italy – 18th March 2023
  • France vs Wales - 18th March 2023
  • Ireland vs England - 18th March 2023

We hope that the expression, “You learn something new every day” is true in this case and you are now full swotted up on all things Rugby Six Nations. Good luck to whichever team you are backing too.


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