The Six Nations has previously been known as the Home Nations and Five Nations in its 138 year history, across 126 tournaments

The Six Nations has had a long and illustrious history as the premier international rugby tournament in the northern hemisphere. Ireland, Wales and Scotland have competed in all 126 tournaments since its inception. England have competed in 124, France 91, and Italy 21.

England have won the most titles outright with 29 triumphs. Although, Wales and England have both won 39 trophies each when joint titles are considered. Italy are yet to win a title since joining in 2000.

Prior to 1994, teams equal on match points shared the championship. Since then, points difference decides any ties. If teams are still tying on both match points and points difference, the team that scored the most tries wins the championship. Were this decider to be a tie, the tying teams would share the championship.

Related: Six Nations winners by year

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Six Nations: The championship upgraded to six teams in 2000 (Getty Images)

Six Nations History

The tournament, originally known as the Home Nations, was first played in 1883 between England, Scotland, Wales and Ireland. England picked up the first two crowns, before the 1885 season was curtailed after England and Scotland refused to play each other after refereeing disagreements from their 1884 match. This dispute subsequently led to the formation of the International Rugby Board (IRB) in 1886.

However, England was excluded from the 1888 and 1889 tournaments after refusing to join the IRB.

The 1897 and 1898 tournaments were also left incomplete, as Ireland and Scotland refused to play Wales, who were accused of professionalism.

France officially joined the tournament in 1910, having participated for a few years prior. Wales incidentally won the first ever Grand Slam in 1908 due to France’s involvement.

World War I suspended the tournament between 1915-1919, before resuming in 1920. The same format lasted for 12 years, until 1932, before brutality on the pitch and alleged professionalism meant France’s exclusion from the championship.

From 1932-1939 the tournament reverted back to just the Home Nations, before another suspension occurred, this time due to World War II from 1940-1946. In 1947, France joined the tournament again, recreating the Five Nations. This format ensued until 2000, before Italy joined to make up the sixth member of the tournament.

Scotland were the last winners of the millennium and Five Nations tournament, after picking up the trophy in 1999. Since then, they have failed to win the Six Nations. France dominated in the mid-2000s with four titles in six years, while England, Ireland and Wales have all consistently won the championship in the Six Nations era.

Alongside the Six Nations trophy and Triple Crown Trophy, there are also six rivalry trophies contested between certain nations, the oldest of which is the Calcutta Cup, involving England and Scotland. There is also the Millennium Trophy, Centenary Quaich, Giuseppe Garibaldi Trophy, Auld Alliance Trophy and the Doddie Weir Cup. Winning all five games in the championship also earns the coveted Grand Slam.

Six Nations History: Records

Most:

  • Appearances: Sergio Parisse (Italy 2004-2019) – 69 appearances
  • Points scored by an individual: Ronan O’Gara (Ireland 2000-2013) – 557 points
  • Points in a match by an individual: Johnny Wilkinson (England v Italy 2001) – 35 points
  • Tries by an individual: Brian O’Driscoll (Ireland 2000-2014) – 26 tries
  • Player of the tournaments: Brian O’Driscoll – 3
  • Points by one team in a match: England (v Italy 2001) – 80 points
  • Points scored by a team in a season: England (2001) – 229 points
  • Wooden Spoons: Italy – 15

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