The Six Nations is one of the most historic and successful competitions in rugby history. Due to it being so historic, a lot of people question why the competition was created In the first place.
Why did the Six Nations start? The Six Nations started as the Home Nations Championship. It was formed to be the competition played between the British nations of England, Ireland, Scotland and Wales. The first edition started in December 1882 with England being crowned the first Champions in March 1883. The tournament became known as the Five Nations when France joined the competition in 1910. It only became known as the Six Nations in 2000 when Italy joined.
The Six Nations did not begin as the Six Nations, originally being the Home Nations Championship. This was because it was played between the Home Nations of England, Scotland, Ireland and Wales. These four teams wanted an official competition between them, with a trophy being awarded to the winner.
The tournament was designed to help grow the game internationally and help develop international rugby. This meant that they decided to form this tournament. The tournament became known as the Five Nations when France joined the competition in 1910. It only became known as the Six Nations in 2000 when Italy joined.
Six Nations winners last 10 years
France managed to win their first title since 2010 when they defeated every team on their way to the title. It was a crowning achievement for France and has set them up perfectly to be in a good position for the Rugby World Cup in 2023 which they are the hosts for.
2021 was a surprising championship, with Wales producing some brilliant results on their way to another Six Nations title. They missed out on a Grand Slam due to a last-minute winning try from Brice Dulin in Paris. Having finished fifth in 2020, it was a massive turnaround for the Welsh team.
After a loss against France in their first game, England won their next four games in a row to claim an unlikely Six Nations victory. They finished the tournament on the same number of points as France thanks to the French team losing to Scotland thanks in part to a Mohamed Haouas red card. It was England’s 29th Six Nations title.
Wales had a brilliant 2019 Six Nations campaign, winning their first title since 2013. They were led by captain Alun Wyn Jones who was also named the Player of the Tournament. They secured that Grand Slam title with a huge victory over Ireland, with Wales finishing on 23 points.
Ireland claimed just their third Grand Slam in 2018, despite being pushed incredibly close in their first game, beating France by just two points. Jacob Stockdale dominated the championship, scoring seven tries in five games as he was named Player of the Tournament.
A 24-15 victory over England on the final day secured the Grand Slam, with Ireland dominating the championship.
The 2017 tournament was the first time that the bonus point system was introduced and England were able to defend their crown from the previous year. They became Six Nations champions for the 28th title. They almost fell to France in their first game, but a 70th-minute Ben Te’o helped to secure an unlikely title for England.
This was the first time that England won the Grand Slam since 2003, with the first three rounds setting up an interesting match as Wales and England both began undefeated. England defeated Wales 25-21 in a thrilling encounter, despite Wales scoring two tries in the final ten minutes.
They would defeat France in Paris to secure the Grand Slam, with Owen Farrell’s boot securing the title for England and Eddie Jones.
Ireland claimed their second title in a row. It was one of the most competitive Six Nations tournaments. Ireland, England and Wales all finished the campaign on eight points, with all three only losing one game that year. As there were no bonus points at this point, the competition was decided by points difference.
Ireland had by far the competition’s best defence, conceding just 56 points across the five games. Due to this, they had the best points difference and so finished top of the table and were crowned Six Nations champions.
This was another incredibly competitive tournament, with three different teams having a chance of winning the Six Nations going into the final day. It was an incredible final day of rugby and it ended up being decided by a single match. Ireland escaping Paris with a 22-20 victory over France landed them the Six Nations title.
They finished with a points difference ten points better than England which meant they became Six Nations champions again.
Wales started off their campaign as badly as they could, losing to Ireland in Cardiff thanks to the boot of Johnny Sexton. However, from there, Ireland failed to win another game in the competition, with Wales winning their remaining four games including the Six Nations decider.
That final game of the tournament was a brilliant 30-3 victory over England, which prevented England from winning the Grand Slam and gave Wales the title. This game is one of the best in Welsh rugby history.
Did Six Nations used to be Four Nations?
The Six Nations used to be known as the Four Nations. When the Championship was first created, it was originally called the Home Nations Championship. This is because it was only a competition between the home nations.
The original competition was just between England, Ireland, Wales and Scotland. The competition was known as the home nations for 26 years as for that time it was just the four nations that created it. However, this changed to become the Five Nations when France joined the competition in 1910.
The competition went back to being known as the Four Nations in 1932 after France pulled out of the competition. This was the case until 1946 when after WW2, France re-joined the competition. It would then become the Five Nations, becoming the Six Nations in 2000 when Italy joined.
So the Six Nations actually started as the Four Nations due to there only being four teams in the original tournament before it began to expand.