Just three months after the conclusion of last year’s edition, The Six Nations returned for its 22nd championship this weekend.
Six Nations is the annual rugby union tournament that features the national teams of England, Scotland, Wales, Ireland, France and Italy, as they contest for one of rugby’s most coveted international titles. England have won the most Six Nations titles, with seven triumphs since the inaugural tournament in 2000.
France, Ireland and Wales have each had success as well, with the French and the Welsh having won five titles each, and Ireland having won four. Italy and Scotland have yet to be crowned Six Nations champions, as Italy have won the Wooden Spoon (given to the last placed team) 15 times.
What happened in 2020?
The 2020 edition of the tournament was split into two phases following the delay in March caused by the coronavirus pandemic. Ultimately, England were crowned champions at the end of October, finishing just ahead of the French on point difference, as both teams concluded the tournament on 18 points.
With the entire 2021 tournament taking place behind closed doors, fans still have lots to look forward to, and if weekend one was anything to show for it, rugby fans are going to be in for quite a ride for the next month-and-a-half.
Italy 10-50 France
Last season’s runners-up have vengeance on their mind, as they ran riot in their opening match of the tournament.
A thumping 50-10 victory in favour of the French got their campaign off to the perfect start. A Dylan Cretin try five minutes into the game set the tone for the French, as they went on to score six more tries, including two from Teddy Thomas and one from Antoine Dupont, who also set up three tries.
Italy only scored once, as they suffered their 28th consecutive Six Nations defeat. The Italians will face another tough test next weekend, as they take on the reigning champions England.
France will also have their work cut out for them next weekend as they take on the Irish, who finished in third behind the French last year.
England 6-11 Scotland
In the shock of the weekend, Scotland won their first game at Twickenham since 1983 following a dominant performance against last year’s champions.
Finn Russell was the catalyst for the Scots, as his two penalties proved to be the difference against their bitter rivals. Scotland remained composed against the ill-tempered English, and stood their ground on defence, as England’s points came exclusively from penalties.
Scotland thus lifted the Calcutta Cup at the end of the game in what was the 150th anniversary of the first rugby matchup between England and Scotland.
England were the favourites coming into the tournament, but after this defeat and France’s commanding performance against Italy, the reigning champions will need to reset and refocus for their next game against the Italians.
The Scots will carry their momentum forward into their next match against Wales, as they look to challenge for their first ever Six Nations title.
Wales 21-16 Ireland
In a feisty affair, the Welsh took advantage of Peter Mahoney’s early sending off as they recorded a memorable 21-16 victory against the Irish.
Despite the sending off, Ireland were ahead 13-6 at half-time through a Tadhg Beirne try and two penalties from Johnny Sexton.
Wales’ resilience paid off, though, in the second half, as tries from George North and Louis Rees-Zammit, as well as 11 points from Leigh Halfpenny, sealed the win for the Welsh.
The physicality battle was won by Wales, as they dominated the tackle charts. Ireland were better in possession, but could not crack the firm Welsh defence, as the home side celebrated a deserved victory in Cardiff.
Now in high spirits, the Welsh face a tough test against a buoyant Scotland side, while Ireland will be looking to bounce back against the French.
After weekend one, France lead the way in the table with five points, and fellow weekend one winners Scotland and Wales are just behind with four points each.
Following England’s shock defeat to Scotland, we know that anything can happen at this year’s tournament, providing fans with much to look forward to from the comfort of their homes.
Saturday 13: England vs Italy - 14:15 & Scotland vs Wales - 16:45
Sunday 14: Ireland vs France - 15:00News Now - Sport News