After more than a century, one of rugby’s defining international tournaments is as popular as it has ever been. The rivalries and history of the Six Nations are a huge part of its appeal, especially for fans of the Home Nations: with so much at stake, the matches between these near neighbours are often close on the scoreboard too. This springtime showcase is one of the highlights of Europe’s sporting calendar – and you can be there. So take a look at the latest fixture list and choose your Six Nations tickets at StubHub!
Six Nations - its background and history
The Championship dates back to the early years of the 20th century, with France being invited to join the Home Nations in 1910. Part of the modern-day excitement comes from the feeling of a “competition within a competition”. Several trophies are awarded for individual fixtures, most famously the Calcutta Cup between England and Scotland. And there’s competition at a personal level too: in a touring year for the British and Irish Lions, the outstanding performers in each position are pitted against each other.
The Six Nations is rarely a predictable affair. Even newcomers Italy – who joined in 2000 – are capable of springing a surprise, and only England have an unbeaten record against them. Winning runs of any sort are remarkable. The great Welsh teams of the 1970s managed seven top finishes, including the unique tied championship of 1973, while the fluent and adventurous attacking rugby of Serge Blanco and Philippe Sella won France a string of titles in the 1980s.
As with the great French and Welsh sides, Six Nations crowds have been treated to some memorable displays. England, captained by Chris Robshaw, arrived at Twickenham for the last game of the 2015 Championship needing to beat France by 26 points to claim the trophy. What followed was electrifying. Frantic offloading and incisive running brought England seven tries, including two each for Ben Youngs and the brilliant Exeter winger Jack Nowell. It ended 55-35: England had fallen short by one converted try.
Sometimes, the tension of the bigger picture results in a fascinatingly close contest that then springs to life. In 2013, Wales and England were locked in a close penalty-kicking duel until after half time, when two tries by Alex Cuthbert and a brilliant drop goal by fly-half Dan Biggar suddenly brought the match to life and won the title for Wales.
Similar rugby tournaments
Watch some of the greats from Northern and Southern Hemisphere rugby join forces for the Barbarians. Or see the top domestic clubs compete for the European Rugby Champions Cup.