Rugby is my favourite sport and the Six Nations tournamnet starts on the 4th yipeeeeeeeeee :D
A BRIEF HISTORY OF THE
SIX NATIONS RUGBY TOURNAMENT.
In 1871, England and Scotland played the first rugby union international. Wales and Ireland joined battle in the 1880s, and the Home International Championships began.
England and Scotland were the most successful teams in the early days, but by the mid-1890s the Welsh had developed an impressive side and a new system that would alter the face of the game. This "four three-quarter" system came into its own in 1893 when Wales became champions for the first time, winning rugby's "invisible trophy", the Triple Crown - beating all three other home nations.
Their success showed the other Home Union sides that the six backs/nine forwards game would no longer be effective against the Welsh system and four threequarters became the norm at national and club level.
all of the four Home teams had found success at a game that was rapidly growing in popularity.
In the first decade of the 20th century, Wales were the team to beat. Unbeaten at home between 1900 and 1913, they won six outright titles before England staged a revival that coincided with the 1910 opening of the RFU's new home at Twickenham. The very first international at Twickenham brought England success over Wales, and heralded a golden era for English rugby.
In 1910, the French, who had played in four of the tournaments up to that time, coined the phrase "Five Nations", but by 1931 the inadequacies of the French game's administration led to the Home Unions halting relations with them. Due to this, the championship became an entirely domestic affair for eight years and France rejoined in 1939-40, with the outbreak of World War Two delaying their re-entry for a further
In 1926, Scotland became the first Home Union side to defeat England at Twickenham after England had won the Grand Slam (winning the Triple Crown AND beating the French) five times in eight seasons. Scotland collected their first Grand Slam in 1925, with an emphatic win against England at Murrayfield.
In 1947 the Five Nations began again - and with one exception - in 1972, Wales and Scotland refused to play in Ireland due to political tensions - and has been contested ever since. In the early post-war seasons, Ireland hit the front, taking three outright titles including consecutive Triple Crowns in 1948 and 1949.
In the 1950s it was the turn of the French to dominate the game.
1959, and the "Tricolores" won the title for the first time.
They were champions for four years in a row and in 1968 won their first Grand Slam.
In 1969 to 1979, Wales again came to power and this time will be remembered as the golden era of Welsh rugby. Winning the Triple Crown six times, The Welsh side were absolutely unstoppable. Only an outstanding French side prevented them from adding to the three Grand Slams achieved in this decade.
By the 1970's the Five Nations Tournament had become the pre-eminent series in Northern hemisphere rugby with matches becoming all-ticket affairs, gaining huge popularity and a large television audience.
For most of the last decade, as the game has adjusted to the new "Professional" era, the Championship was very much England's.
Winning the Grand Slam three times, they marked their dominance by taking the Triple Crown six times in eight seasons. Only England's bete noir - an indomitable French side with back-to-back Grand Slams - stopped them in 1997 and 1998.
Latterly, England's fortunes have been less reliable. A last-minute try by Scott Gibbs prevented England from taking the Crown for their fifth successive season and gave Scotland the last ever Five Nations title in the last season of the millennium.
With the addition of the Italian Rugby team, the Five Nations became Six, adding a new dimension to the development and history of Northern hemisphere rugby. With continuing popularity and growing support, the Six Nations Rugby Tournament looks set to flourish in the new Millennium. How long before six become seven...eight...?
The Tournament Dates
4th Feb: Ireland v Italy & England v Wales
5th Feb: Scotland v France
11th Feb: France v Ireland & Italy v England
12th Feb: Wales v Scotland
25th Feb: Scotland v England & France v Italy
26th Feb: Ireland v Wales
11th Mar: Wales v Italy & Ireland v Scotland
12th Mar: France v England
18th Mar: Italy v Scotland ; Wales v France & England v Ireland