As the winter frosts start to fall away and the first shoots of spring begin to show themselves the sodden grass prepares itself for the coming of one of Rugby’s oldest traditions and competitions. You can bet the teams will have been watching Rugby Training drill Videos maybe even the ones available at https://www.sportplan.net/drills/Rugby/Lineout/Reaction-Lifts-rugcb0031.jsp in preparation as the Nations of France, Wales, Italy Scotland, Ireland and England contest the 6 Nations. You can see how much England, the winners of the competition the most at 28, are loved and respected by the other nations by watching this, subsequently pulled, BBC trailer from 2012 here. How has the competition changed over the years?
The competition started in 1883 as the Home nations Championship. This was Scotland, Ireland, England and Wales. It was a fiercely contested event between the four nations but as the games popularity spread outside of the colonies France joined in 1910. And so it remained for the next eighty years as the five nations until 2000 when Italy were also included. There is much talk of it becoming the eight nations as the pressure is on to include the countries of Georgia and Romania following their success in the lower tiered European Championship.
For now, at least, it will remain the 6 and what a battle it is. It is quite rare for a team to be totally dominant even in these days of the game being purely professional. Long gone is the time when the welsh front row of the 1970’s was working in manual jobs all week before coming out and stomping the English opposition into the pitch. The Six nation’s format is very simple each team plays each other once. Home and away advantage changes from year to year. At first two points were awarded for a win and one for a draw. This can result in shared titles and it is a bit of a contentious issue as Wales who have 12 shared titles to England’s 10 could argue that they and England are tied overall. To alleviate this in 1994 the points scored versus the points against was introduced similar to goal difference in Football, and if that is the same then it was down to who has scored the most tries.
The Bonus points system was introduced in 2017. This gives four points for a win, two for a draw and nothing for a loss, as you would expect. The big difference here is that you also get an additional point for scoring four or more tries in a match and one if you lose by seven points or less so there is a chance that you can come away with something plus it promotes attacking play.