What is Six Nations rugby?

Europe's premier rugby union tournament

If you're feeling inspired to get involved rugby, it might be worth watching some of the world's best players in a high profile tournament to give you an idea of how rugby is played. Have you heard of the Six Nations rugby union competition but aren’t sure what it’s all about? Then check out the following realbuzz.com guide – which gives you a brief introduction to the popular annual rugby tournament.

What is the Six Nations rugby cup?


The Six Nations is a highly competitive rugby union tournament held each year involving the nations of England, France, Ireland, Italy, Scotland and Wales. The competition dates back as far as 1871 when England and Scotland played the first rugby union international. Wales and Ireland joined the bruising contest in the 1880s, and then in 1910 the French were welcomed into what became universally accepted as the ‘Five Nations’. It was only in 2000 when Italy were accepted into the competition that the tournament was renamed the ‘Six Nations’.

What happens during the rugby tournament?


The tournament consists of each side playing the other once, so they each play a total of five matches. Home advantage for games is done on an alternative cycle, so for example if England played Scotland at home in the previous year’s tournament, they would face them away from home the following year to give an element of fairness to the fixtures.

Where do these rugby teams play?


The rugby teams usually play at the following home grounds:

England – Twickenham, Middlesex
France – Stade de France, Paris
Ireland – Aviva Stadium, Dublin 
Italy – Stadio Flaminio, Rome
Scotland – Murrayfield Stadium, Edinburgh
Wales – Millennium Stadium, Cardiff

What scoring system is used in this rugby tournament?


Unlike most rugby union competitions, the Six Nations has not adopted a bonus point system, so the winners of each match receive two points regardless of the margin of victory or number of tries scored. There is one point awarded for a draw and none for a loss. The team with the most points at the end of their five matches wins the whole tournament.

The Grand Slam and the Triple Crown


A team that wins all its five matches during the competition is said to have achieved the Grand Slam, while the Triple Crown is the prize available to the four home nations (England, Scotland, Wales and Ireland) should one of them beat all three of the other home nations.

The future of the Six Nations rugby tournament


The Six Nations tournament is considered to be the pinnacle of Northern Hemisphere rugby (the Southern Hemisphere has its own Tri-Nations competition involving Australia, New Zealand and South Africa), and it continues to grow in popularity. It’s very possible that other European nations will eventually be welcomed into the tournament in future years.

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