Six Nations 2018 team guide
February 3-March 17, 2018 -- The Six Nations Championship, the northern hemisphere’s premier rugby union tournament, gets underway. Wales and Scotland open the tournament in Cardiff, followed by France’s clash with Ireland at the Stade de France. Reigning champions England begin the defence of their title against Italy in Rome the following day, aiming for a record third consecutive Championship.
The Six Nations is an annual rugby union tournament between England, France, Ireland, Italy, Scotland and Wales. Each team plays every other team over five rounds, a total of 15 matches, with home advantage alternating between seasons.
The tournament began in 1883 between the four “Home” nations of England, Scotland, Wales and Ireland, with France joining in 1910 and Italy in 2000 to give the current six nations.
Under the umbrella of the tournament there are individual competitions – the Calcutta Cup match (contested between England and Scotland since 1879), the Millennium Trophy (England and Ireland, since 1988), the Centenary Quaich (Ireland and Scotland, since 1989), and the Giuseppe Garibaldi Trophy (France and Italy, since 1988). The Triple Crown is awarded to a Home nation that beats the other three home nations. If a team wins all of its five matches they are said to have won a Grand Slam.
In 2017, a bonus point system was introduced: 4 points for a win and 2 for a draw. An extra point is awarded for scoring four or more tries in a match, or for for losing by 7 points or fewer, with a Grand Slam winner getting 3 extra points to ensure they finish top of the table.