The Six Nations returns this weekend! While Ireland are looking to retain their title, England are hoping to bounce back under Eddie Jones following their dreadful World Cup Campaign.
It promises to be an electrifying tournament packed with plenty of questions. How will Dylan Hartley deal with the pressure of being England captain? How will Ireland respond to O’Connell’s retirement and injuries to key squad members after their disappointing World Cup? Will Scotland continue to make steady progress in the tournament scene?
We’ll soon have the answers to these questions! But first, let’s take a look at the history of the Six Nations.
What is the Six Nations Championship?
The Six Nations Championship is the oldest rugby championship in the world, dating back to 1882. Originally held between the four United Kingdom countries – England, Scotland, Wales and Ireland – France joined in 1910 and Italy followed in 2000.
Contested each season over seven weekends, each team plays one another once with the RBS Six Nations Championship Trophy presented to the team who earn the most points – 2 points awarded for a win and 1 point for a drawn match.
There have been some truly remarkable moments in Six Nations history with some classic games. So we’ve delved into the history books to pick our top 5 matches from recent Six Nations seasons:
- Ireland 6 England 42, 2003
Martin Johnson’s near faultless England score five tries in Dublin to bring long-awaited Grand Slam glory – a classic Quarter Final!
- Wales 15 Ireland 17, 2009
Ireland’s first slam in 61 years was sealed by Ronan O’Gara’s late drop goal. Stephen Jones’ later penalty attempt for Wales fell just short.
- France 18 Wales 24, 2005
Wales rein in the French with passionate defence and two tries from flanker Martyn ‘The Nugget’ Williams en route to a first Grand Slam since 1978.
- Italy 34 Scotland 20, 2000
A truly defining moment for the expanded tournament as Italy make a winning start against the reigning champions Scotland, with 29 points from fly-half Diego Dominguez.
Wales 11 England 9, 2005
A game which showed what Gavin Henson could achieve when fully fit! Looking back it also serves as a reminder that talent alone does not make a career.
What do you think of our top 5? Have we missed a match that should have been included on the list? Leave us a comment below with your thoughts.
*Image sourced from David Barkhausen