The Six Nations is an annual international rugby tournament which sees the best players from Scotland, Ireland, Italy, England, Wales, and France compete for the RBS six nations trophy
or the unofficial title of the 'best team in the Northern Hemisphere.'
It originally started out in 1883 as the Home Nations Championship and was also the first ever international rugby union tournament. However with the addition of France in 1910, the tournament was renamed the 'Five Nations' until 2000 when the addition of Italy got it renamed the Six Nations.
For those of you who don't know, the format of the competition is very straight forward: each country plays every other country once resulting in 15 games being played and the team with home advantage alternates every year. Teams are awarded 2 points for a win, 1 for a draw and 0 for a loss. Unlike other competitions like the Guinness Pro 12 and Super Rugby, bonus points are not awarded e.g. for tries scored.
At the end of the tournament, the team with the most points are the winners, in the event of one or more teams being equal on points, the team who scored the most points throughout the competition are the winners. If a team wins all of their games they’re said to have won a Grand Slam whereas the team who loses all of their games are awarded the Wooden Spoon. There are also several other individual trophies awarded throughout the competition such as the Triple Crown which is awarded to any home nation who records victory over the other 3 or the Calcutta Cup contested annually between England and Scotland since 1879. It is named the Calcutta Cup as it is made from melted-down Indian Rupees donated by the Calcutta Club.
The six nations have always been a time I look forward to. Whether I’m sat at home watching the game with my mum and dad screaming at the TV or piling into a bar minutes before kick off with my mates.
However, this year was different as I was selected for the Scotland u20 squad to play in the junior competition (which several first team members had done before receiving their call-up to the senior team.) Overall the tournament was very successful with a historical victory over England at home and matching the senior team’s results with two wins and three losses finishing joint third. Personally, I was capped 4 times and although I didn’t get as much game time as I would’ve liked I still had the opportunity to travel to different countries and the honour of pulling on the thistle and singing the national anthem at u20 level which is something I’ve always dreamed of doing since the day I watched my first ever rugby game in the 2005 Calcutta cup match with my dad.