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Six Nations: History, key dates and odds

The first Saturday in February is always a special day in the diaries of rugby union fans as it marks the beginning of the annual Six Nations tournament.

Usually the Six Nations comes to a close on the second or third Saturday in March, known as 'Super Saturday' the tournament sees England, France, Wales, Scotland, Ireland and Italy face off in a round-robin format.

WhatSix Nations 2024
WhereTwickenham, Stade de France, Aviva Stadium, Stadio Olimpico, Murrayfield, Millennium Stadium
WhenFriday 2nd February - Saturday 16th March
How to watchBBC and ITV
OddsFrance 6/5, Ireland 11/8, England 6/1, Scotland 16/1, Wales 28/1, Italy 250/1

History of the Six Nations

The Six Nations was first played between the current competing countries in 2000, however, the tournament has been held annually since 1883. It was then known as the Home Nations Championship and featured England, Scotland, Wales and Ireland.

It expanded into the Five Nations with the addition of France in 1910. Italy were next to be included in 2000, famously winning their historic first match 32-20 against Scotland in Rome.

How does the Six Nations work?

After five rounds, the team with the most points in the table wins the Championship, however, there are also several other awards embedded in the event.

For the Home Nations - England, Wales, Scotland and Ireland - the Triple Crown is available for any team that wins all three fixtures against their neighbours.

Doing so will also help a country achieve the holy grail of European international rugby by completing a clean sweep of five wins, known as a Grand Slam.

There is also the Calcutta Cup, which is played for annually by England and Scotland amongst the other mini-competitions within the competition, while the Wooden Spoon is awarded to the team that finishes bottom of the standings.

Who are the Six Nations' most successful team?

England are the most successful country to have competed in the competition, winning the tournament in its various guises outright on 29 occasions. They have one more victory than nearest rivals Wales, while they have won 13 Grand Slams to Wales' 12.

England's last Grand Slam success came in 2016, while Wales achieved the same feat three years later.

Conversely, Ireland have been awarded the most Wooden Spoons with 25. However, Italy's tally of 18 in 23 tournament appearances suggests they will soon take over that mantle.

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Six Nations: Warren Gatland names Ken Owens as Wales captain

Who won the Six Nations in 2024?

The 2023 Six Nations was another thrilling tournament and it was Ireland who finished on top, while they completed the Grand Slam at the same time.

Ireland's double success was the first time they achieved that feat since 2018, with Andy Farrell's world number one ranked side now setting their sights on the World Cup later this year in France. 

Fabien Galthie's France finished as runners-up, while winless Italy picked up yet another wooden spoon in the Six Nations despite some spirited performances.

When is the Six Nations 2024?

The opening game of the Six Nations 2024 will take place on Friday 2nd February 2024, with France hosting Ireland in what should be a thriller to get the tournament underway.

Fixtures will then be played on the weekends of 10th February, 24th February, 9th March and 16th March, the last of which will see all three games played on the Saturday.

Where will the Six Nations 2024 be held?

All six countries will host games in their respective capitals. England will play their home matches on the outskirts of London at Twickenham, while Scotland's Edinburgh base is Murrayfield. Wales' home ground is the Principality Stadium in Cardiff and Dublin's Aviva Stadium will host Ireland's matches.

Paris' majestic Stade de France, situated in the suburb of Saint-Denis, will be the scene for France's home matches, while Italy's home is Rome's Stadio Olimpico.

What Six Nations games are on TV?

The Six Nations is a free-to-air event in the UK, meaning every fixture is shown on terrestrial television.

The BBC and ITV will once again be screening every game of the Six Nations.

When are the key games in the Six Nations 2024?

The opening fixture of the tournament, France v Ireland at the Stade de France on Friday 2nd February, could just prove pivotal with regards to where the Six Nations Championship ends up in 2024.

The 129th Calcutta Cup will take place between Scotland and England on Saturday 24th February at Murrayfield, with the Red Rose hoping to end a run of three successive defeats to Gregor Townsend's side in the competition.

Other crunch games for England include hosting Wales on Saturday 10th February as well as facing Ireland at Twickenham on Saturday 9th March.

'Super Saturday' on 16th March will see Wales host Italy, Scotland travel to Ireland and France and England meet in Paris in what should be mark a dramatic end to the tournament.

Who are the favourites of the Six Nations 2024?

France are listed as the 6/5 favourites for this year's tournament, while holders Ireland are available at 11/8. Steve Borthwick's England are next in the reckoning, given odds of 6/1 to lift the title.

Scotland are considered relative outsiders at 16/1, with only Wales and Italy available at a bigger prices of 28/1 and 250/1 respectively.

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