11 Facts About Six Nations Rugby Championship That’ll Make Your Hair Stand on End
The Six Nations rugby union competition will roll out again in the Winter as England, France, Ireland, Italy, Scotland and Wales compete for the trophy. As the 2015 fixtures were announced the teams named squads to compete in this historic tournament that takes place each year between the nations.
Four Teams Originally Played
The Home Nations Championship was first played in 1883, which led to the establishment of the competition featuring the six teams now playing. The English, Irish, Scottish and Welsh played in the first series, with the English taking the first title. The French national rugby team joined in 1910 as the format remained for the Five Nations until the Italian team joined in 2000.
Teams compete in a league format
The tournament is played in a league format with each team playing the others one time, since the six team format was created in 2000 one point is awarded for a draw and two for a victory.
Many trophies are available
A number of trophies can be won for winning individual games, the Calcutta Cup contested between the English and Scottish teams has been contested since 1879.
England and Wales have had the most success
The English won the first ever Home Nations tournament and have won the most titles in the many formats of the annual event with both they and Wales winning 26 titles through to 2015.
Italy Improve but continue to struggle
Since the Italian team arrived in the event in 2000 they have yet to win a title, but they have won the most wooden spoons by taking home nine wooden spoons home having finished bottom of the table.
The Grand Slam is the aim
Each team sets out in a bid to win the Grand Slam, which is awarded to the team who wins every game in a season.
The tournament is often controversial
Throughout its history the event has seen controversy, with early versions failing to be completed in 1885, 1887 and 1889.
Ireland enter as champions
The Irish team took home the title in 2014 as a thank you for their long serving star Brian O’Driscoll, who retired at the end of the campaign.
Nail biting finishes are the norm
Each season seems to bring a new dramatic close to the event, with the 2013 title being taken on the final day by the Welsh as England lost in dramatic style.
Kickers hold the points records
English kicking legend Johnny Wilkinson holds the record for the most points in a single game with 35 and the season with 89. Irishman Ronan O’Gara is the leading scorer in history with 557 points.
Try scoring records
Brian O’Driscoll is the leading try scorer in the history of the event with 26.