128th edition of Six Nations Championship
The new edition of the Six Nations Championship started about twelve days ago, and two rounds have been played so far, after which the leader on the table is France, the host of the next World Cup 2023. The Six Nations Championship is the strongest representative tournament in the northern hemisphere. The Six Nations Cup is played every year at the same time during February and March. The participants in this tournament, for which more tickets are always required at the stadium, are the same teams every year, namely England, Wales, Scotland, Ireland, France, and Italy. The tournament is played in five rounds with each other. Despite the fact that the Covid- 19 pandemic is still current, with the permission of national governments in all six countries, the matches of this year's edition of the Six Nations Championship are being played in front of full stadiums.
Tickets for the matches of the mentioned competition were sold out a year in advance and it was literally impossible to find them in free sale. The title of the winner from 2021 is defended by the national team of Wales, which has a halfway effect after two rounds. Before the start of the tournament, one of the main questions that was asked among those who follow rugby was whether Wales could defend the title of champion of this prestigious tournament. The current title defender did not provide the best game at the start, and the reason for that is probably that Wales is playing this year's tournament in a weakened team. There are not many experienced players in the ranks of last year's champion. Experienced players such as George North, captain Alun Jones, Justin Tipuric, Leigh Halfpenny, Josh Navidi and Faletau were not invited to the national team due to injuries.
Wales defeated Scotland in the second round
The young Wales team will have something to show and use the Six Nations Cup as a tournament where young players will have the opportunity to prove themselves and present themselves to Wales coach Wayne Pivac. Ireland outclassed Wales 29-7 in Dublin at the start of the tournament in the big derby at Aviva Stadium. Wales reached its first victory in this year's Six Nations Championship last weekend. In one very exciting and even match, Wales defeated Scotland 20-17. After a convincing defeat by Ireland, the Welsh managed to reach their first victory in a match played in Cardiff. The first half was much more efficient (14-14). The Scots then took the lead over Russell but Wales made a turnaround by the end of the game thanks to Dan Biggar.
France as the biggest favourite has 2-0
What are the chances of other national teams to dethrone Wales? France was given the best chance before the start. France has so far justified the title of the biggest favorite to win this year's Six Nations Championship. Last year, they lost the title in this competition in the last round. The French young team that trained at the Legion of Foreigners barracks before the start of this year's tournament has seriously prepared for the most important tournament of the year. This is best shown by the results so far. In the first round, the French, as expected, convincingly defeated the weakest team in this tournament, Italy. The previous weekend, France defeated Ireland 30-24 at Saint-Denis in Paris. France dominated during the first half (19-7), during which it turned out that they gained a decisive advantage.
The second part of this match went to the Irish, but that was not enough to avoid the first defeat in this year's Six Nations Championship. In the 57th minute, Ireland was only one point behind, but in the end, France still came to the second victory. For now, the French are playing very well and justifying the role of favorites given to them before the start of the tournament. The French have a young talented team led by the best player in the world Antoine Dupont. This French team has been playing together for a long time, preparing for the World Cup to be held in their country in 2023, so the Six Nations Championship came as a serious exam for that competition. Considering that the Irish were given the best chances for the title after the French, that is a good indicator that France is going in the right direction.
Ireland has 1-1
The second-biggest favorite who is breathing down the neck of the French is the mentioned team of Ireland, which after this round is halfway with one victory and one defeat. They convincingly defeated the current defending champion, Wales at the start, and they were close to defeating the favored French. An experienced team led by captain Jonathan Sexton sharpened their teeth before the start of this year’s tournament. They played in great shape. Ireland defeated the famous All Blacks in the last test match, which means that they can beat any team. This Irish team is a mix of experienced players such as Furlong, Sexton, and there are a lot of young players for whom this will be a great hardening before the World Cup, which will be held in France in three years.
Is it time for Scotland to win the title?
Scotland has never won a tournament in this format before, but it is a secret favorite and its chance lurks from the snack, which it showed with a fantastic game against England in Edinburgh at the start of the tournament. In that drama, Scotland came out as the winner, but in the second match, they lost to the defending champion, Wales. The Scots have a strong and experienced team led by Captain Stuart Hogg. The Scotland team has hardened experienced players like Finn Russel and Johnny Gray, so it is safe to say that the Scots can surprise everyone and fight with everyone equally. Maybe it’s finally time to win the Six Nations Championship. The Scots have never had a stronger team and if they have good motivation and their day, they can beat everyone, which, among other things, they showed in the games against England and Wales.
England demolished Italy
After the initial defeat by the Scots neighbors, the English defeated Italy last weekend, which will almost certainly finish this competition in the last place, unless something dramatic happens, which is really hard to expect. The Italians did not score a single point. In the end, it was 33-0 for England. The guys led by Eddie Jones from the bench really didn't leave the Italians room to hope for anything in Rome. England was the biggest unknown before the start of the tournament. After the defeat by France, the Italians suffered another convincing defeat. The English absolutely dominated the entire course of the match, and tries for the island selection were noted by Marcus Smith who successfully performed both conversions as well as Jamie George and Kyle Sinckler.
This match will also be remembered by the English national team player Ben Youngs, who wore a jersey with a red rose for the 114th time in his career. In that way, the 32-year-old equaled the legendary Jason Lenard in the first place of the eternal list in terms of the number of games played for the national team. Also, this is the first clean sheet of England in the duels against Italy in the Six Nations Championship. Before the start of the tournament, England had big problems due to injuries and Covid-19. However, it should be honest that other national teams had more or less problems, so that is not an excuse for a potentially bad result. In the first match of the popular name Calcutta Cup, they were unlucky against Scotland, while against Italy they showed an obvious difference in quality.
The English are playing new captain Tom Curry in this tournament. The biggest surprise at this tournament is the aforementioned young player, Marcus Smith who represents the great future hope of English rugby. It is still a great announcement of how the English will fare in this tournament. For now, they are halfway through and we should expect a great fight from them for the cup until the very end, although the French are certainly still the first favorites.
Italy is the favourite for the new “Wooden Spoon”
The only national team that was not given any chance to win the trophy before the start of this year's Six Nations Championship is the Italian national team. Why this is so, the Italians showed in the first two games. Italy will try to finish this competition as honorably as possible, where there is no chance. It seems that for this national team, it is a great success to achieve an essay in any match. The young team of this national team will almost be very happy if it succeeds at least in that intention, and a victory against any national team would be a first-class sensation. This year’s Six Nations Championship is the strongest in ten years.
Before the start of the tournament, the fans believed that they would have the opportunity to watch good rugby and many exciting matches. Those expectations are fully justified in the first two rounds. This magnificent sporting event with a long tradition continues in just under two weeks with third-round matches. Scotland and France will meet in Edinburgh on February 26. The English and Wales will play a big derby on the same day. A day later, Ireland and weak Italy will meet, where another convincing defeat of the young Italian team should be expected.
Round 3 fixtures
Sunday 27th February 2022
Ireland vs. Italy (3pm; Aviva Stadium, Dublin; ITV)
Round 4 fixtures
Friday 11 March 2022
Wales vs. France (8pm; Principality Stadium, Cardiff; BBC)
Round 5 fixtures
History of Six Nations Championship
As already mentioned, the Six Nations Championship or Guinness Six Nations is a popular rugby competition in which six national teams participate: Wales, Scotland, Ireland, England, France, Italy. This year, 128 editions of the mentioned competition are being held. Before this name, the competition was called Home Nations Championship and Five Nations Championship. Wales is defending the title after celebrating last year against France on its field. Wales and England have won the most trophies so far. The mentioned national teams won 29 titles each. So far, only Scotland and Italy have not won this competition. Italy will almost certainly not do that this year either, as the Scots have real chances and a great team that can fight for the first title since the Six Nations Championship is held in this format.
This competition is also held for girls, and in this competition, the most trophy-winning is England with 17 titles. It should be said that along with the fight for the title in the Six Nations Championship, there is a fight for several more trophies. France and Italy are fighting a trophy named after Giuseppe Garibaldi. So far, France is more successful with 14 victories in mutual duels. Italy only twice managed to beat France in the battles for the mentioned trophy. Wales and Scotland are fighting for the Doddie Weir Cup. Wales has four titles so far. The English and Scots are fighting for the popular Calcutta Cup. The Scots have reached 42 victories this year against the English, who still have a convincing advantage, considering that they have won the mentioned trophy as many as 71 times. This year, the French are given the best chances to win the championship title, and for now they are justifying that role.
They are certainly very motivated to win the Six Nations Championship after eleven years, which would be a great preparation for the World Cup to be held next year in France. Wales is much weaker than last year, so it will be difficult to defend the title. This year, Italy will almost certainly finish in last place, which will be their seventh in a row "Wooden Spoon". Italy is the absolute record holder in that parameter because it has finished the Six Nations Championship in the last place 16 times so far.