Six Nations Championship 2019
The Six Nations Championship 2019 tournament kicks off on February 1st. The elite rugby union tournament pits six European powerhouses against one another over five match days. This year’s tournament will be the 20th edition of the Six Nations, however, due to its previous incarnations under different names, it will actually be the 125th version of original championship.
The tournament is labeled as the northern hemisphere rugby union championship. While Canada, Japan, and the United States do have rugby union sides that participate in the World Cup, it is the teams in Europe that are typically seen as more superior.
The Six Nations debuted in 2000 when England, Ireland, Scotland, Wales, Italy, and France gathered to play the initial tournament. Prior to being re-branded as the Six Nations, the tournament was contested by five of the countries between 1940 and 1999. It was after the 1999 tournament that Italy was admitted to the competition.
Over the years, the tournament championship has been shared by just four of the six rugby union teams that participate. England, Ireland, Wales, and France have combined to win the previous 19 titles. Meanwhile, Scotland and Italy are still waiting to win their first.
Italy has had the misfortune of coming last 13 times. The Wooden Spoon is awarded to the team that finishes with the fewest points after five matchdays and Italy has claimed three straight last place finishes ahead of the Six Nations Championship 2019.
While the Rugby World Cup takes place every four years in one set destination in the world, the Six Nations Championship occurs every winter. The tournament is staged in five different countries with each nation hosting at least two games.
The World Cup has 14 more teams that participate in the tournament and three of the world’s toughest rugby nations – Australia, New Zealand, and South Africa – are regular participants. However, the narrow field in which the Six Nations Championship possesses means teams must perform to a high standard in each game. The World Cup’s pool play means top tier teams do not have to be at their best in the early stages.
The Six Nations makes it possible for one upset victory to change the entire outcome of the tournament. In addition, the Six Nations Championship sees some intense rivalries between longtime opponents England, Ireland, Scotland, and Wales. Each game between the four is a derby and they regularly see fiery performances.
The Six Nations has seen four different winners since it debuted in 2000. England and France dominated the first five tournaments before Wales finally picked up their first Six Nations tournament victory. England has won six tournament titles with its two most recent coming in 2016 and 2017. France has been victorious on five occasions. The French haven’t lifted the Six Nations trophy since 2010, however, when they pulled off a Grand Slam (beating all five other Six Nations teams).
Wales and Ireland have both won the tournament on four occasions. Ireland’s success has been more recent. The Irish won their first title in 2009 and in three of the last five years, they have won the Six Nations. In 2018, Ireland pulled off its second Grand Slam.
England is the current Grand Slam leader having accomplished the feat on 13 occasions. The English are also the leaders in Triple Crown wins. The Triple Crown is awarded to the Home Nation team (Ireland, England, Scotland, Wales) that can defeat all three of their opponents. In 2018, Ireland accomplished the feat for an 11th time.
Ireland head into the Six Nations Championship 2019 as the reigning champions. The Irish had a fantastic 2018 tournament winning the Grand Slam which was their third ever. Ireland is the favourite ahead of this year’s tournament. The Irish are the only nation competing that are odds-on to win prior to the tournament starting.
On the 7th of January, the latest rugby union world rankings were published with Ireland ranked second. Wales and England were ranked third and fourth, respectively. Meanwhile, Scotland is seventh and France ninth.
The Six Nations tournament winner receives the competition’s championship trophy. Meanwhile, there are other trophies awarded to teams based on their individual rivalries. Five of these rivalry trophies are handed out.
In 2018, the tournament had a £100 million prize pot. It was split into appearance and performance payments with 75 percent of the money being shared equally between the six teams. The final 25 percent was split based on other aspects, including whether or not a nation won the Grand Slam.
Six Nations Championship 2019 odds
Leading sports books have Ireland as the odds-on favourite to win the Six Nations.
• Ireland 4/5
• England 10/3
• Wales 9/2
• Scotland 14/1
• France 14/1
• Italy 1000/1
*odds courtesy of Bet365
Fixture list and dates
February 1 – France vs. Wales; Stade de France, Saint-Denis – BBC Sport, S4C
February 2 – Scotland vs. Ireland; Murrayfield Stadium, Edinburgh – BBC Sport
February 2 – Ireland vs. England; Aviva Stadium, Dublin – Itv Sport
February 9 – Scotland vs. Ireland; Murrayfield Stadium, Edinburgh - BBC Sport
February 9- Italy vs. Wales; Stadio Olimpico, Rome – Itv Sport, S4C
February 10 – England vs. France; Twickenham Stadium, London – Itv Sport
February 23 – France vs. Scotland; Stade de France, Saint-Denis - BBC Sport
February 23 – Wales vs. England; Millennium Stadium, Cardiff – BBC Sport, S4C
February 24 – Italy vs. Ireland; Stadio Olimpico, Rome – Itv Sport
March 9 – Scotland vs. Wales; Murrayfield Stadium, Edinburgh - BBC Sport, S4C
March 9 – England vs. Italy; Twickenham Stadium, London - Itv Sport
March 10 – Ireland vs. France; Aviva Stadium, Dublin – Itv Sport
March 16 – Italy vs. France; Stadio Olimpico, Rome – Itv Sport
March 16 – Wales vs. Ireland; Millennium Stadium, Cardiff – BBC Sport, S4C
March 16 – England vs. Scotland; Twickenham Stadium, London – Itv Sport
Six Nations Championship 2019 Tickets
Tickets can be purchased through the competing rugby unions. For more information on tickets, please visit https://www.sixnationsrugby.com/tickets-hospitality/.
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