Rugby - Past 6 Nations winners

Posted in Sport

The Six Nations Championship (referred to as RBS 6 Nations for sponsorship reasons), known before 2000 as the Five Nations Championship, is an annual international rugby union competition involving six European sides: England, France, Ireland, Italy, Scotland and Wales. The winner of the RBS 6 Nations is sometimes seen as being the European Champions 

Wales versus France - 2004The Six Nations Championship, with its predecessors the Five Nations and the Home Championship, is the premier international rugby union tournament in the Northern Hemisphere. It has also in the past been known as 'The International Championship'. There is also a Women's Six Nations Championship which historically featured Spain instead of Italy, but since 2007 has included Italy at Spain's expense.

In 1871, England and Scotland played the first rugby union international. After 12 years of occasional friendly matches between the teams, the inaugural Home International Championship, comprising England, Ireland, Scotland and Wales was played in 1883. England won the first series, along with a Triple Crown. Up until 1893, England and Scotland were the only champions, with Wales winning their first title that season. Ireland won their first title the following season. The 1908 and 1909 championships won by Wales, although won during the Home Nations era, could be regarded as Grand Slams, as they also defeated France both seasons.

Murrayfield - The Home of Scottish RugbyIn 1910 the French, who had played in four of the tournaments up to that point, officially joined the competition and coined the phrase "Five Nations". England won the first championship of the new era, with the Welsh achieving the first Grand Slam the following year. The competition was suspended during World War I (1914-18). In 1931, France were ejected from the tournament, which reverted to being the "Home Nations" from 1932 through to 1939. The competition was suspended again during World War II (1939-1945). With France back in the competition, the Five Nations resumed in 1947, with a shared victory for England and Wales. France won their first shared title in 1954, and their first outright title in 1959.

By the 1970s the Five Nations Championship had become the pre-eminent series in Northern hemisphere rugby union with matches becoming all-ticket affairs, gaining huge popularity and a large television audience. The 1972 tournament was not finished after Scotland and Wales refused to play in Dublin. The season after was unique for a five-way tie, with every nation having won and lost two games. The 1970s marked the golden age for Welsh rugby; winning three Grand Slams and one Triple Crown during the decade. Until 1993, there was no tangible reward for winning the Five Nations championship: there was neither flag nor cup or any other kind of trophy. However, for season 1992-93, there was presented, for competition, the Five Nations Championship Trophy.

Who takes part?France were the first winners of the new trophy, followed by Wales and then England.

Scotland's first success came in season 1998-99; Ireland have yet to win it.

Scotland was the last nation to win the Five Nations Trophy as such because Italy joined the competition in 2000 and the tournament became known as the "Six Nations Championship".

England were the first nation to win the trophy under the new format, winning the 2000 competition.

The importance of the competition has decreased slightly since the introduction of the Rugby World Cup, but the long standing rivalries between teams mean that it remains a passionate and fiercely contested prize.

Anthems Used by the Teams

Even though God Save the Queen is the anthem of the United Kingdom it is only used by England in many sporting events; Wales has a separate national anthem. Scotland do not have an official anthem but usually Flower of Scotland is sung at sports events. The anthem for Ireland, whose rugby team represents two jurisdictions (the Republic of Ireland and Northern Ireland), have a specially commissioned anthem for rugby internationals; Amhr?n na bhFiann is also played at matches played in the Republic of Ireland.

  • England: God Save the Queen
  • France: La Marseillaise
  • Ireland: Amhr?n na bhFiann, (plus Ireland's Call)
  • Italy: Il Canto degli Italiani
  • Scotland: Flower of Scotland
  • Wales: Hen Wlad fy Nhadau

List of Six Nations Winners

Home Nations 1883?1909

1883 England (Triple Crown)
1884 England (Triple Crown)
1885 Not completed
1886 England and Scotland
1887 Scotland
1888 Not completed
1889 Not completed
1890 England and Scotland
1891 Scotland (Triple Crown)
1892 England (Triple Crown)
1893 Wales (Triple Crown)
1894 Ireland (Triple Crown)
1895 Scotland (Triple Crown)
1896 Ireland
1897 Not completed
1898 Not completed
1899 Ireland (Triple Crown)
1900 Wales (Triple Crown)
1901 Scotland (Triple Crown)
1902 Wales (Triple Crown)
1903 Scotland (Triple Crown)
1904 Scotland
1905 Wales (Triple Crown)
1906 Wales and Ireland
1907 Scotland (Triple Crown)
1908 Wales (Grand Slam)
1909 Wales (Grand Slam)


Five Nations 1910?1931

1910 England
1911 Wales (Grand Slam)
1912 England and Ireland
1913 England (Grand Slam)
1914 England (Grand Slam)
1915-19 Not held due to World War I
1920 England, Scotland and Wales
1921 England (Grand Slam)
1922 Wales
1923 England (Grand Slam)
1924 England (Grand Slam)
1925 Scotland (Grand Slam)
1926 Ireland and Scotland
1927 Ireland and Scotland
1928 England (Grand Slam)
1929 Scotland
1930 England
1931 Wales


Home Nations 1932?1939

1932 England, Ireland and Wales
1933 Scotland (Triple Crown)
1934 England (Triple Crown)
1935 Ireland
1936 Wales
1937 England (Triple Crown)
1938 Scotland (Triple Crown)
1939 England, Ireland and Wales


Five Nations 1940?1999

1940?46 Not held due to World War II
1947 England and Wales
1948 Ireland (Grand Slam)
1949 Ireland (Triple Crown)
1950 Wales (Grand Slam)
1951 Ireland
1952 Wales (Grand Slam)
1953 England
1954 England (Triple Crown), France and Wales
1955 France and Wales
1956 Wales
1957 England (Grand Slam)
1958 England
1959 France
1960 England (Triple Crown) and France
1961 France
1962 France
1963 England
1964 Scotland and Wales
1965 Wales
1966 Wales
1967 France
1968 France (Grand Slam)
1969 Wales (Triple Crown)
1970 France and Wales
1971 Wales (Grand Slam)
1972 Not completed
1973 England, France, Ireland, Scotland and Wales
1974 Ireland
1975 Wales
1976 Wales (Grand Slam)
1977 France (Grand Slam) with the same fifteen players, the only time in a rugby championship
1978 Wales (Grand Slam)
1979 Wales (Triple Crown)
1980 England (Grand Slam)
1981 France (Grand Slam)
1982 Ireland (Triple Crown)
1983 France and Ireland
1984 Scotland (Grand Slam)
1985 Ireland (Triple Crown)
1986 France and Scotland
1987 France (Grand Slam)
1988 France and Wales (Triple Crown)
1989 France
1990 Scotland (Grand Slam)
1991 England (Grand Slam)
1992 England (Grand Slam)
1993 France
1994 Wales
1995 England (Grand Slam)
1996 England (Triple Crown)
1997 France (Grand Slam)
1998 France (Grand Slam)
1999 Scotland


Six Nations 2000?present

2000 England
2001 England
2002 France (Grand Slam)
2003 England (Grand Slam)
2004 France (Grand Slam)
2005 Wales (Grand Slam)
2006 France
2007 France
2008 Wales (Grand Slam)
2009 Ireland (Grand Slam)

Women's Event

The Women's Six Nations Championship is run to the same schedule and on the same weekends as the men's competition. The first women's tournament Six Nations was in the 2002 season, though a Five Nations ran from 1999 to 2001, and a Home Nations tournament from 1996-1998.

The tournament included the same national teams as the men's competition did, with the exception that Spain took part instead of Italy. This continued until 2007 when, as a result of the formal adoption of the competition by the Six Nations Committee, Spain was replaced with Italy - purely in order to align both the women's and men's national team participants. Historically in women's rugby Spain had been a significantly stronger team than not only Italy, but had occasionally finished above Ireland, Wales, and Scotland in the tournament.  

Finally, some more Six Nations trivia

  • England were barred from the championship in 1888 and 1889 because of their stand over representation on the newly-formed International Rugby Board. In 1897 and 1898 the Welsh were made pariahs over a testimonial fund given to their captain and star player Arthur Gould. The neighbouring Unions regarded the presentation to Gould as an act of professionalism and Gould's retirement from international rugby eventually resolved the issue.
  • Following the 1931 competition, France was expelled amid allegations of professionalism, the inadequacies of the French administration and concerns over on-field violence. France was readmitted following the 1939 competition, but World War II caused the suspension of the Five Nations until 1947. After the competition resumed, it remained the Five Nations for over a half-century. In 1972, the championship was abandoned as Wales and Scotland refused to play in Ireland after receiving threatening letters purportedly from the IRA.
  • In 1996, a deal between British Sky Broadcasting and the Rugby Football Union meant that England home games were exclusively shown on Sky. This deal caused great controversy at the time and England were threatened with being expelled from the competition and being replaced by Italy. This threat was never carried out with the understanding that all future television deals would be negotiated collectively. Consequently, when the television rights became available once more, the rights to show all six nations matches in Britain went to the BBC.
  • An outbreak of foot and mouth disease in Britain disrupted the 2001 championship; Ireland's matches against Wales, Scotland and England were postponed until the autumn.  


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