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The 2023 edition of the Six Nations kicks off on Saturday 4th, February with France looking to defend the title they claimed in 2022 in stunning style as they completed the Grand Slam.

That was the fourth time Les Blues have claimed the Grand Slam, which requires a team to win all five of their matches, drawing them level with Wales on the all-time list.

Meanwhile, Ireland and England have each recorded two clean sweeps since the tournament's expansion to include Italy ahead of the 2000 edition.

England have won the most Six Nations titles with seven, with both France and Wales having topped the standings on six occasions. Ireland have four titles, with Scotland and Italy the only two countries not to have won the Six Nations.

WhatSix Nations 2023
WhereTwickenham, Stade de France, Aviva Stadium, Stadio Olimpico, Murrayfield, Millennium Stadium
WhenSaturday 4th February - Saturday 18th March
How to watchBBC and ITV
OddsIreland 11/8, France 6/4, England 9/2, Wales 14/1, Scotland 20/1, Italy 500/1

Who won the 2022 Six Nations?

Last season's success for France marked the first time they have completed the Grand Slam since 2010 and they are 3/1 to claim another one in 2023.

Les Bleus took their chances, namely beating a Johnny Sexton-less Ireland 30-24 in Paris. After winning in Edinburgh and Cardiff, they completed the job with a confident 25-13 success against England.

Captained by giant flanker Charles Ollivon and directed by the half-back duo of Antoine Dupont and Romain Ntamack, last year's success enhanced hopes they will finally be able to win the World Cup when they host the tournament later this year.

Fabien Galthie's team have been building nicely since the coach officially took charge after the 2019 World Cup and after a chaotic decade, it is fitting that the former scrum-half should be overseeing his country's renaissance.

Galthie captained France to their first Six Nations Grand Slam in 2002 and seems to have transferred the speed of thought that characterised his playing career into his coaching.

France next won the Six Nations in 2004, with another Grand Slam. However, while they took the title in both 2006 and 2007, they could not record another perfect campaign until the 2010 season, when Morgan Parra kicked three penalties and Francois Trinh-Duc added a drop goal to see them to a nervy closing 12-10 win over England.

The champions begin their campaign away in Italy on Sunday 5th February, but with this being an odd year, the French have a challenging draw as they are set to travel to both Dublin and London.

Wales rise under Gatland

The 2021 champions were Wales, who agonisingly missed out on a fifth Grand Slam with a last-gasp defeat to the French in Paris.

That success came under Wayne Pivac but inconsistent results under the Kiwi saw him lose his job before Christmas and be replaced by his compatriot and predecessor, Warren Gatland.

Gatland first took over in late 2007 and led the team to an immediate Grand Slam in 2008. His pragmatic approach earned his tactics the nickname 'Warrenball', but despite the scorn, they garnered plenty of success.

Wales won the Six Nations four times under Gatland (2008, 2012, 2013 and 2019), with 2013 the only year they did not do so with a Grand Slam.

The 59-year-old has insisted the 2023 tournament is all about building for the World Cup in the autumn but, when asked about the Grand Slam, available at 40/1, cheekily teased: "anything is possible".

Gatland was not the first coach to lead Wales to the clean sweep. That was Mike Ruddock who transformed a side that had shown signs of progress under predecessor Steve Hansen into a winning machine as they took the title in 2005, inspired by the likes of Martyn Williams, Stephen Jones and the inimitable Gavin Henson.

Related Six Nations News

Six Nations: Steve Borthwick names England squad

Six Nations: Warren Gatland names Ken Owens as Wales captain

Four titles hardly a fab haul for Ireland

Ireland have arguably played the most consistently exciting rugby of the Six Nations era, but have won the tournament just four times.

The first of those came in 2009 when Ronan O'Gara and Brian O'Driscoll inspired the backs and the pack was driven on by the likes of Paul O'Connell and David Wallace.

While they won the tournament in both 2014 and 2015, those results were arguably overshadowed by their poor showing at the latter year's World Cup.

By then Sexton had taken the reins from O'Gara and aided by O'Connell and Sean O'Brien, guided his country to glory. He did so again in 2018, but again they failed to capitalise on their momentum and crashed out in the quarter-finals of the 2019 World Cup.

As of writing, Ireland are the world's number one ranked nation and Andy Farrell's side are the 11/8 favourites to win the Six Nations for a fifth time.

England still top dogs

For all of France, Wales and Ireland's successes, England have won the most titles with seven.

The most recent came in 2020 when they recovered from an opening defeat in Paris to win their next four matches and take the crown with a 34-5 victory in Italy.

England dominated the early years of the competition, winning three of the first four renewals in 2000, 2001 and 2003, the latter being accompanied by a Grand Slam. Their gutsy showings would provide the blueprint for when Clive Woodward's masterplan came together later in the year as his side beat Australia in the World Cup final.

However, while they also took the title in 2011, 2016 and 2017, only the 2016 success was a clean sweep as Eddie Jones' side barged past all before them.

Jones' three titles match Woodward's tally, but he has now left his role to be replaced by former captain Steve Borthwick.

Borthwick's first game in charge is against Scotland on Saturday 4th February, and the Red Rose are 10/11 to win the Calcutta Cup for the first time since 2020 carrying a -10 handicap in the Game Betting 3-Way.

They then face Italy in London and Wales in Cardiff. Claiming a trio of victories from their first three matches would surpass their tally of two in the last couple of years, but with games against France and Ireland over the final fortnight, they may struggle to claim an eighth title.

List of Six Nations Winners

(GS = Tournament won with a Grand Slam)

2000: England

2001: England

2002: France (GS)

2003: England (GS)

2004: France (GS)

2005: Wales (GS)

2006: France

2007: France

2008: Wales (GS)

2009: Ireland (GS)

2010: France (GS)

2011: England

2012: Wales (GS)

2013: Wales

2014: Ireland

2015: Ireland

2016: England (GS)

2017: England

2018: Ireland (GS)

2019: Wales (GS)

2020: England

2021: Wales

2022: France (GS)

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