The Six Nations Championship is one of the most popular international Rugby union tournaments in the world. Outside of the Rugby World Cup, it is perhaps THE most highly anticipated tournament in the game and takes place annually, each February through March.
Featuring 15 matches, the tournament is contested between the four recognised home nations of England, Scotland, Wales and includes Ireland. For many years, the competition was known as the five nations, the fifth nation being France. As of 2000, Italy joined the competition making it the Six Nations it remains today.
Format wise, each team plays each other once, either home or away depending on the previous year’s schedule, and rewards 4 points for a win and 2 points for a draw. As of November 2016, a bonus point system was introduced, similar to other Rugby tournaments, that means a bonus point is awarded to teams that score four or more tries in a match plus another for losing by 7 points or less. In the Six Nations tournament, 3 bonus points are awarded to the Grand Slam winner to ensure that they finish top of the table.All points are applied to a league table format, of which the team that finishes on top is crowned the winner of the Rigby Union Six Nations.
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How To Bet On Rugby Union Six Nations
There are many ways to bet on the Six Nations, or Rugby in general for that matter.Rugby betting will normally consist of several types of bets, the most popular of which are listed below.
Outright Results Betting
Outright bettingis pretty straight forward and simply means to bet on the outcome of an event. For the purposes of Six Nations rugby, this could mean an individual match, say England V Wales, or the overall winner of the tournament. Owing to this simplicity, outright bets have become one of the most common types of bets that you will see in any sport. With an outright bet, bettors look at the odds listed for both Rugby teams to see which team is considered more likely to win, or go with their own hunch of course, before placing a bet on the predicted outcome of a Rugby match or tourney. When looking to bet on the Six Nations odds, you will find odds on a team winning the Triple Crown or the Grand Slam which can offer great value.Another popular pick in Six Nations betting, is the Wooden Spoon, handed out to the team that finishes on the bottom of the league.
As with an outright results bet, where bets are placed on the predicted outcome of a Rugby match, with handicap betting, or spread betting, things can get a little more complicated. But, with greater complication comes greater value. As with all handicap betting, in Rugby it works by the bookmakers applying a points advantage to one team in order to make the contest more balanced, thus proving the extra value. Essentially, once the points have been added by the bookmaker, the team with a positive handicap must win, draw or lose by fewer than the number installed by the bookmaker, while the team with a negative handicap must win by more than the figure set by the bookie.
In Rugby, bettors are able to wager on the total number of points to be scored in a match. This is known in the game as totals betting. Again, the price for the totals figure has been set by the bookmakers pre-match and bettors can either bet on the final amount of points to finish above or below that figure.
When you place a winning margin bet, you are backing how many points a side will win by.So, if you fancy a team to win, rather than simply back that team, for greater value you could back themto win by a certain amount of points, usually presented in batches of five, at much longer odds than just simply backing a win.
Half Time/Full Time
Half time/full time betting is a very popular way to bet on Rugby where bettors aim to predict the half time result, followed by the full time result. What this means is which team, if any will be ahead after 40 minutes and which team, if any, will win after 80 minutes.
First Try Scorer
Like in football where you can bet on which player will score the game’s first goal, in Rugby much the same bet can be made by backing the player, for shorter odds which team, will score the first try of the match.
Of course, many of the bet types outlined above can be selected in multiples and grouped together in an accumulator. An accumulator bet is made up of a group of selections with the profits from one bet rolling on to the next pick and providing each stake’s value as it goes, snowballing in size with each winning selection. While, there are other bets that allow you bunch your selections off into doubles and trebles, etc, a one line accumulator will be wiped out if just one pick loses. In the case of the Six Nations, there are three matches on any given game weekend, so the only accumulators we can place are trebles, for example, England, France and Wales to win. Totals betting and handicap selections can all also be included in an accumulator and will likely provide greater value too.
How Does The Tournament Work?
The Six Nations Championship pits England, France, Ireland, Italy, Scotland and Wales against each other over the course of five rugby-packed weekends. Depending on the corresponding fixture’s venue the previous year, teams play each other just once either home or away, alternating annually. Points are collected by winning games or avoiding defeat plus performance-based bonus points are up for grabs too. All points are applied to a league and the team to finish top are crowned the winners.
|Sat, February 1||14.15||Wales v Italy||Principality Stadium (Cardiff)|
|Sat, February 1||16.45||Ireland v Scotland||Aviva Stadium (Dublin)|
|Sun, February 2||15.00||France v England||Stade de France (Paris)|
|Sat, February 8||14.15||Ireland v Wales||Aviva Stadium (Dublin)|
|Sat, February 8||16.45||Scotland v England||BT Murrayfield (Edinburgh)q|
|Sun, February 9||15.00||France v Italy||Stade de France (Paris)|
|Sat, February 22||14.15||Italy v Scotland||Stadio Olimpico (Rome)|
|Sat, February 22||16.45||Wales v France||Principality Stadium (Cardiff)|
|Sun, February 23||15.00||England v Ireland||Twickenham (London)|
|Sat, March 7||14.15||Ireland v Italy||Aviva Stadium (Dublin)|
|Sat, March 7||16.45||England v Wales||Twickenham (London)|
|Sun, March 8||15.00||Scotland v France||BT Murrayfield (Edinburgh)|
|Sat, March 14||14.15||Wales v Scotland||Principality Stadium (Cardiff)|
|Sat, March 14||16.45||Italy v England||Stadio Olimpico (Rome)|
|Sat, March 14||20.00||France v Ireland||Stade de France (Paris)|
When does the 2020 tournament take place?
In 2020, the Six Nations will get underway on Saturday, February 1 when Wales host Italy at the Principality Stadium in Cardiff in the first game of this year’s event. This will be followed later that day by the round 1 fixture, Ireland against Scotland at the Aviva Stadium in Dublin before England travel to France on the Sunday to battle it out at the Stade de France in Paris. The 2020 Six Nations Championship will come to an end on Super Saturday, March 14 when Wales host Scotland in Cardiff and Italy welcome England in Rome. The tournament comes to a finish with France versus Ireland the final game at 20.00 in Paris.
What is the tournament’s format?
The format for the Six Nations is incredibly easy to understand as each team plays every other team only once, alternating between home and away matches each year. There is no play-off or final matchwith the Six Nations Championship either, simply the team that finishes on top of the league is the winner. Teams are awarded 4 points for each winning match, plus 2 for a draw. Teams are also able to collect performance based points, such as one bonus point for scoring at least four tries or for losing by 7 points or less. There are also three bonus points to be won should a team win the Grand Slam.
Which teams compete?
The teams that contest the Six Nations are England, Wales, Scotland, Ireland, France and Italy.
How does Rugby Union work?
Rugby takes its name from the place where it was invented, Rugby School in Warwickshire, England. There, in 1816, one bored pupil named William Webb Ellis, is said to have picked up the ball during a game of football and charged forwards while still holding the ball, thus giving birth to the new game of rugby. Despite this story since being discredited as inaccurate, the Rugby World Cup trophy still bears his name today.
In rugby, there are famously two codes, Rugby Union and Rugby League. Seeing as the Six Nations is a Rugby Union event, we will take a quick look at the rules of this particular code. In Rugby Union, two teams, each comprised of 15 players, compete in a game that lasts 80 minutes, 40 minutes per half.
In the match itself, tries, worth 5 points, are scored by taking the oval shaped ball over the marked lines at either end of the pitch and touching the floor with it. Depending on where abouts the attacking player scored his try, the ball is placed level and the attacking team are given the chance to collect an additional two points by scoring a conversion. Here, the ball is kicked high and must pass through the upper half of the H-shaped goal posts.
In play, teams can only pass the ball by throwing it to a team mate backwards, while the opposing team attempts to win the ball by tackling. Kicking can be made in any direction. A change of ball possession is known as a turnover and, if deemed to be illegal, a ruck is formed.
After an infringement has been committed, such as offside, tackling above the shoulders, entering a ruck from the side or passing the ball forwards, the ball can be sent downfield for a line-out (throw-in), put in for a scrum (both teams go shoulder to shoulder in an attempt to push each other back before the ball is thrown into the middle) or be awarded a penalty kick at goal, which is similar to a conversion kick but worth three points.
Rugby Union Six Nations Individual Trophies
Aside from the Six Nations Championship itself, there are a number of smaller, localised trophies awarded for winning a particular match or accomplishing specific achievements.
The Calcutta Cup is awarded to the victorious team in a match between England and Scotland. That cup dates back to 1879 and was given its name because it was an idea that was conceived in India and is decorated with cobras and elephants. In the history of the Calcutta Cup, England are by far the more successful of the two sides.
Despite its name, the Millennium Trophy only came into existence in 1988 and is the trophy fought for between Ireland and England, becoming a Six Nations (then five nations) trophy in 1989. Again, England are the most successful of the two competing sides.
The Centenary Quaich, a Quaich being a Celtic drinking bowl, has been presented to the winner of Ireland v Scotland since 1989, with Scotland winning the first trophy after a 37-21 win over Ireland.
Auld Alliance Trophy
First awarded in 2018 to commemorate the centenary of the end of World War I, the Auld Alliance Trophy is a trophy handed to the winner of France V Scotland in honour of the French and Scottish Rugby players who never returned home from the frontline.
Doddie Weir Cup
Contested between Wales and Scotland, the Doddie Weir Cup was established in 2018 and takes its name from former Scotland international lock Doddie Weir who was diagnosed with Motor neuron disease one year earlier. Whether in Cardiff or Edinburgh, some of the ticketing profits are paid towards Weir’s MND charity My Name'5 Doddie.
Giuseppe Garibaldi Trophy
Named after the Italian revolutionary, and former French army general, Giuseppe Garibaldi, this trophy is awarded to winners when France and Italy meet each year. France are the more successful of the two nations.
An award that Italy and France cannot compete for, the Triple Crown is a prize that only the four home unions – England, Scotland, Wales and Ireland – are able to win. It can only be won when one these four teams beats all three of the other home nation sides. As such, the Triple Crown is not guaranteed to be awarded every year.
If a team wins all five of theirSix Nationsmatches then they have achieved the Grand Slam. England, Wales and France have won the Grand Slam more than anyone else, while it is a feat that Italy have never attained.
The Wooden Spoon
When you put a bet on the winner of The Wooden Spoon, you are placing a wager on the team that you believe will finish at the bottom of the Six Nations table. For the record, since joining the competition in 2000, Italy have finished bottom on 12 occasions, while Scotland have finished last four times leaving Wales and France to prop up the table one time each.
The inaugural Six Nations Championship was held in 1883 and only included England, Ireland, Scotland and Wales. In 1888 and 1889, England were excluded from competing after their refusal to sign up to the International Rugby Football Board. The tournament became the Five Nations Championship in 1910 when France joined and it stayed that way for 90 years, until Italy joined in 2000 when it became the Six Nations Championship.
Legendary players of the Rugby Union Six Nations
Gareth Edwards (Wales)
Consistently voted the greatest Rugby player of all time, Edwards established his Six Nations legend over more than a decade, winning 45 of his 53 Wales caps in the competition, where he scored 18 tries. His most famous try came against Scotland in the Five Nations in 1972 at the old Cardiff Arms Park, then home to Wales. On the day, Edwards scored twice but the one that has gone down in Rugby folklore was where a long-range chip from within his own half allowed Edwards to burst up the touchline, outstripping the Scotland defence before diving into the mud of the greyhound track.Today, Edwards' mud-covered face in the aftermath of this try is one of the most famous photos in Rugby.
Brian O’Driscoll (Ireland)
With more appendences and more tries than any other play in Six Nations history, Ireland’s Brian O’Driscoll is a true legend of these championships, even signing off his career with the 2014 title. On no less than three occasions, O’Driscoll was named Player of the Tournament and was an inspirational captain that led the Irish to not only the Triple Crown triumph but also their first Grand Slam in 61 years.
Jonny Wilkinson (England)
In England, Jonny Wilkinson will primarily be remembered for that drop-kick in the 2003 World Cup final that won England their first and only Rugby World Cup. Actually though, he had an impressive Six Nations career too. Wilkinson, a fly-half, has scored more points than anyone else in championship history with 529 which would surely have been many more had the end of his career not been ravaged by injuries.
Serge Blanco (France)
Born in Caracas to a Venezuelan mother and Basque father, Blanco grew up in Rugby mad Biarritz, where he played his entire club career. Although Blanco was a full back, he had the pace of a winger, routinely turning defence into attack, and ultimately retiring with 38 test tries and 93 caps. Blanco helped France collect Grand Slams in both 1981 and 1987 and also set in motion one of the greatest championship tries ever witnessed when he broke out from behind his try-line at Twickenham in 1991 to set up a magnificenttry byPhilippe Saint-Andre.
H4: Sergio Parisse (Italy)
Another player to initially hail from South America, the Argentinian born Sergio Parisse developed into Italy’s finest ever Rugby player. In fact, it can be argued that, in the history of the Six Nations, nobody has had more of a solo impact on his team than Parisse did with the Italians. Generally accepted to be the poorest side in the championships, Parisse led Italy to wins against every side other than England and was man of the match in the victory against Wales in 2007 and again when they beat the French four years later. He repeated the trick once more in 2011 making the flanker, Italy’s most ever capped player, a true national talisman.
Legendary coaches of the Rugby Union Six Nations
Sir Clive Woodward (England)
Capped for England 21 times, Woodward took over from Jack Rowell as England head coach in 1997 and, following a disappointing world cup showing in 1999, he would go on to construct a team to go down in English Rugby legend. By the time 2003 came around, Woodward had guided England to that year’s Grand Slam before collecting the game’s ultimate prize his England team beat Australia in the last minute of the 2003 World Cup final.
Sir Ian McGeechan (Scotland)
Known by many as Mr Lions, Sir Ian McGeechan enjoyed one of the most distinguished playing careers in Rugby, after being capped by Scotland 32 times. After a knee injury ended his playing career aged 33, McGeechan was appointed as Scotland's assistant coach for the 1987 Rugby World Cup. He later took charge of Scotland and in 1990 he led the Scots to a historic Grand Slam in the Five Nations.
Warren Gatland (Wales)
New Zealander Gatland took over as Wales boss in November 2007, replacing the outgoing Gareth Jenkins. Come the following March, Wales had beaten England at Twickenham for the first time in 20 years on their way to the Grand Slam. Gatland served up a second Grand Slam in 2012 before dramatically sealing the 2013 Six Nations title on the final day with a whopping 30-3 win over England, themselves in the hunt for the Grand Slam.
Jacques Fouroux (France)
Fouroux, who earned 27 caps for France, 23 as captain, took over as boss of Les Bleus not long before the 1981 Five Nations. In the 10 years he managed the side, France won the Five Nations on six occasions leaving his adoring fans to give him his new moniker Le Petite Caporal.
John Dawes (Wales)
Dawes took over as coach of the Welsh national side in 1974 straight after he hung up his boots for the final time. His decision to move into coaching proved to be a wise one as he went on to preside over one of the most successful periods in the history of Welsh Rugby. In five years in charge, Dawes led the team to four Five Nations Championship, including two Grand Slams.
Rugby Union Six Nations FAQs
📵 How often does the Six Nations Championship take place?
The Championships are held annually, starting each February and finishing in March.
🙋 Will it ever become the Seven or Eight Nations Championships?
Unlikely, although there has been talk in the past of opening up the competition to other European countries like Romania and Georgia or even further afield to Argentina or Japan but conversations have gone very quiet over the past few years.
🇨🇭 What kind of Rugby bets can I make?
Bettors can place outright tournament bets to wagers on how many yellow or red cards there will be in a stated game, to a host of other wagers.
🇦🇹 Can I place a bet on the team that finishes last in the Six Nations Championships?
Yes, it’s called the Wooden Spoon and most bookies will accept bets on the recipient.
🔵 Can I bet on Rugby in play?
Yes, bookmakers will offer real time odds as the game is ongoing.
ThePuntersPage Final Say
The Six Nations tournament is considered to be the second biggest Rugby Union competition in the world, even though only England, Wales, Ireland, Scotland, France and Italy contest it each year. The championship has been in its current six team format since 2000 when Italy first participated extending the competition from five to Six Nations. Since then, the most successful team has been England with 6 wins, followed by France winning it 5 times and Wales and Ireland 4 times each. It is this closeness and unpredictability that makes the Six Nations a great betting event, with all manner of bet types available. From picking the winner of the championships, the Triple Crown or Grand Slam, to picking the potential winner of the Wooden Spoon, should there even be one, there is always something to bet on with the Rugby Union Six Nations.