Rugby Union | Six things about the Six Nations 2017


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By Ros Satar

  • The Six Nations gets underway and we have six key things to know about the annual tournament
  • Current Champions: England
The Six Nations gets underway this weekend, and we bring you six must-know facts about the tournament.


History & Format

Between 1883-1909 and 1932-39 it was the Home Nations Championships, played between teams from England, Ireland, Scotland and Wales. France joined to make it the Five Nations Championship (1910-31 and 1947-99).

With the addition of Italy it became known as the Six Nations Championships from 200 to this day.

The format is nice and simple – each team plays each other team once, so 15 matches in all with the home grounds alternating each year. This year there is a change from the previous system which was two points for a win, one for a draw and none obviously for a loss.

This year a bonus point system will be trialled as for most rugby championships.

  • Loss – 0
  • Draw – 2
  • Win – 4
  • Four tries or more – 1
  • Losing by 7 points or less – 1
  • Grand Slam winner – 3 extra points to ensure they finish at the top of the table.

There will be a review of how well the new scoring system works after the tournament.

If a team wins all its games, they will win the Grand Slam mentioned above.

Victories by any Home Nation over the other three Home Nations is a Triple Crown

The team that finishes at the bottom of the table is the winner of the Wooden Spoon (although there is no such award!)

If a team has lost all five matches they are said to have been Whitewashed.

Since the start of the Six Nations, England and Ireland are the only teams to have avoided the Wooden Spoon and Italy have been awarded it ten times, with six whitewashes.

As if that were not enough, there are four more competition titles up for grabs


Calcutta Cup

Since 1879, England and Scotland battle for the Calcutta Cup, made of melted down Indian Rupees and donated by the Calcutta Club.


Millennium Trophy

Since 1988 this has been awarded to the winner of the match between England and Ireland


Centenary Quaich

No we can’t pronounce it either, but since 1989 this has been awarded to the winner of the match between Ireland and Scotland.


Giuseppe Garibaldi Trophy

No, nothing to do with biscuits, but a trophy to commemorate the birthday of Italian hero Giuseppe Garibaldi, who helped unify Ital, and then volunteered as part of the French Republican Army against Prussia – not surprisingly this is awarded to the winners of the match between Italy and France.


Full Fixtures

Six Nations 4 February – 18 March
Scotland v Ireland Saturday 4 February 14:25
England v France Saturday 4 February 16:50
Italy v Wales Sunday 5 February 14:00
Italy v Ireland Saturday 11 February 14:25
Wales v England Saturday 11 February 16:50
France v Scotland Sunday 12 February 15:00
Scotland v Wales Saturday 25 February 14:25
Ireland v France Saturday 25 February 16:50
England v Italy Saturday 26 February 15:00
Wales v Ireland Friday 10 March 20:00
Italy v France Saturday 11 March 13:30
England v Scotland Saturday 11 March 16:00
Scotland v Italy Saturday 18 March 12:30
France v Wales Saturday 18 March 14:45
Ireland v England Saturday 18 March 17:00