When we get to the end of the Six Nations, you can often hear people asking: What Is The Wooden Spoon? Here is everything you need to know

What Is The Wooden Spoon?

The Wooden Spoon is metaphorical prize for the team who finishes last in the Six Nations.

It is much like the fabled Lanterne Rouge in the Tour de France, where the rider who finishes last but still completes the tour is honoured. However, unlike the example from the world’s most famous cycling competition, there is no physical prize handed over to the dead-last side in the Six Nations.

Related: Ireland win the Six Nations

As legend would have it, the original practice of handing out ‘Wooden Spoons’ comes from Cambridge University where they were awarded to the student with the lowest mark in the mathematics tripos, during the 19th century. According to the tales, the spoons would vary in size over time. It is uncertain how the tradition was adopted in rugby.

Embracing the spoon: Fans in Rome hold aloft a giant wooden spoon

Stadio showdown: In 2016, Italy and Scotland played to see who would lift the Wooden Spoon

You will always hear discussions near the end of a Six Nations tournament about who the contenders for a Spoon, although across in France it is believed that a team should only be Spoon holders if they have been whitewashed, losing every game.

Since 2000, when Italy joined the tournament to up it from the Five Nations to Six, only England and Ireland have avoided last place. Italy have collected the most Wooden Spoons since 2000, with 12, and have been whitewashed seven times.

Because of this there have been questions around possibly introducing a promotion and relegation format to the tournament with teams like Georgia, Spain and Romania looking to move up.

While Ireland men hunt down a Grand Slam in the men’s Six Nations, and France do the same in the women’s competition, it is a foregone conclusion that Italy men will finish last.

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