By FIONA NALEPA
As of Feb. 1, one of the most anticipated European rugby tournaments has kicked off. The Six Nations Championship is an annual rugby competition between the countries of England, Ireland, Scotland, Wales, France, and Italy. It will be on all the way until Mar. 16.
It is a competition with a long history; its first tournament started back in 1883.
The Six Nations Championship was originally known as the Home Nations Championship. It was played among four nations: England, Ireland, Scotland, and Wales. Eventually in 1910 the championship became known as the Five Nations Championship because France was added to the roster. The championship became the Six Nations Championship in 2000 with the addition of Italy.
Although the men’s tournament is the most well known and widely broadcasted, there is also a women’s and an under-20s championship. All three tournaments are played on the same weekends throughout February and March.
Communication major Meredith Jennings said, “I am very interested in the women’s rugby part of the Six Nations Championship. I think it is important that they have that kind of representation as well.”
The format of the championship is not complicated. Every game is played like a regular rugby match. There are five rounds with three games and each team plays every other team only once.
Art history major Caitlin Kelly said, “I do not watch sports very often. But this rugby championship is pretty interesting. I feel like Ireland or Scotland have the best chances of winning since they seem the most violent.”
A unique aspect of the tournament is the types of trophies that are awarded. Obviously, the winning team is given the Six Nations Championship trophy. If the winning team has defeated all of the other five teams they are awarded with the Grand Slam title. Additionally, the Triple Crown title is awarded if one of the original four Home Unions (England, Ireland, Scotland, or Wales) defeats all of the other three.
There are several smaller trophies that are awarded throughout the competition. Some examples include, the Millennium trophy which is awarded to the winner of the England versus Ireland match. Or the Calcutta cup, which is awarded to the winner of the England versus Scotland match. A newer rivalry trophy is the Giuseppe Garibaldi trophy, which is awarded to the winner of the France versus Italy match.
Historically, England has been the nations with the most wins. Overall, they have won 28 tournaments with 10 of those being shared wins. Shared wins are when two teams have the same amount of points. They are followed closely behind by Wales who have achieved 26 wins with 12 of them being shared. Italy is the nation with the least amount of wins; they have won zero tournaments since their introduction in 2000.
Business administration major Nathan Infanti said, “Rugby is such a great sport to watch and I’m looking forward to watching the matches on Saturday and Sunday.”
Ireland won the championship last year in 2018 so there are high hopes for them to win again. All eyes are on England as well since they are the nation with the most wins. Maybe Italy will win their first ever title.
Communication and digital studies major Nina Bowen said, “I love to watch rugby and I hope that England wins this year since Ireland won last year.”
As of now only the first round of matches have concluded. The first match to kick off the championship was France v. Wales. It was a fierce match that ended with a Welsh victory over the French with the Welsh scoring 24 to the French 19. The England v. Ireland match ended in a win for England. The score was 32-20 with many Ireland fans being upset at their loss. The Scotland v. Italy match had a Scottish victory, with the score ending at 33-20.
The next set of matches starts on Saturday Feb. 9 and goes until Sunday Feb. 10. On Saturday Scotland will face Ireland and Italy will face Wales. Sunday will have the match between England and France, which many people are excited for.
For us here in the United States all of the matches are being broadcasted on NBC.