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Six Nations Championship -

What Is It?

As part of the Club's goal to make Rugby popular in the US,  we'll offer some lessons for the average American on a rugby-based topic you may hear about in casual conversations, on TV, or on the internet.


The Six Nations Championship tournament is an annual rugby union (15 players per side) tournament among six nations...yep, it's that simple.  You'll hear it referred to as the Guinness Six Nations.  Guinness is simply the corporate sponsor.  In past years it was sponsored by Lloyds, Royal Bank of Scotland ("RBS"), and NatWest.

In 2020 it starts this Saturday, February 1st!!!!!!!!!

In one form or another, this tournament has been going on since 1883...yep, that's 1883.

The six nations are:

  • Ireland (point of political interest - this is made up of players from the island of Ireland, including Northern Ireland)

  • England

  • Scotland

  • Wales

  • France

  • Italy

Where to watch in US

  • Kildare's of West Chester (8 West Gay Street. West Chester PA 19380. (610) 431-0770)

    • Best atmosphere for the events

  • NBCSN on "cable" - I think they are showing all of the matches....which is great!


Tournament Format

This is really simple.  Each team play the other teams just once and the three matches per week usually occur every other week. Teams alternate their home pitch (field) every year.


Scoring in terms of standings is probably the most complicated aspect:

  • Match victory - 4 points

  • Match loss - Zero points

  • Match draw - 2 points

  • Score four or more tries in a match, regardless of outcome - 1 bonus point

  • Loss a match by 7 points or fewer - 1 bonus point

  • Winning all 5 matches ("Grand Slam") - 3 bonus points

  • Standings tie-breakers:

    1. The difference between total points scored and total points against (that is the points scored during play, not the standings points)

    2. Number of tries during the tournament (including penalty tries)

    3. That's it...if they are tied after those two tie-breakers, they are equal.

Tournament History

This is cool for any European history geeks.

  • 1883-1909 - It was the Home Nations Championship with only England, Scotland, Wales, and Ireland.

  • 1910-1931 - It was the Five Nations Champion with the addition of France. (1915-1919 - no tournament due to First World War)

  • 1932-1939 - Back to Home Nations when France dropped out.

  • 1940-1946 - No tournament given the Second World War

  • 1947-1999 - Five Nations again with France back in.

  • 2000-Present - Six Nations Tournament with the addition of Italy.

Previous Championships (incl. shared):

  • England - 28 (10)

  • Wales - 27 (12)

  • France - 17 (8)

  • Scotland - 15 (9)

  • Ireland - 14 (9)

  • Italy - 0 (0)

Wales is the reigning Champion from 2019.

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