Six Nations history: A statistical review

Six Nations history: A statistical review

With the 2020 Six Nations set to finally conclude in October after a coronavirus-enforced hiatus that saw the final four matches postponed, we have taken a look at the most interesting numbers in Six Nations history since the current format was introduced in 2000.

Six Nations teams

England have enjoyed the most success in Six Nations history to date, having won the tournament the most times (six) and being one of only two nations – along with Ireland – never to have been awarded the wooden spoon for finishing last.

The English also edge out the Irish on matches won overall, having triumphed in 72 to the latter’s 68. Grand Slams have also been an English speciality with the team having 13 to their name; one more than nearest challengers Wales.

The Welsh are the most comfortable travellers though, relying less on home advantage than any of the other five nations. Only 34 of their 58 Six Nations wins have been recorded in Cardiff, while 10 of Italy’s 12 victories were on home soil.

For fans who prefer drama to dominance, France are the team to watch for even matches. The three Six Nations combinations with the smallest average winning margin all involve the French: their clashes with Ireland have been settled by an average of just 7.9 points.

Six Nations players

Ireland’s avoidance of the wooden spoon seems to be driven by strong individual performances. The ‘player of the tournament’ award has been awarded to an Irish player on six occasions, with Brian O’Driscoll responsible for half of these.

Furthermore, the five players with the most Six Nations wins under their belts are all Irish. O’Driscoll has been on the winning side 45 times, four more than compatriot Ronan O’Gara, but the latter leads the way when it comes to scoring points.

Only two players in Six Nations history have scored more than 500 points, with O’Gara’s career tally of 557 edging out the 546 recorded by England’s Jonny Wilkinson.

O’Driscoll’s record of 26 career tries in the competition remains unbeaten for now. Wales’ George North had scored 20 before the lockdown and sits third in the all-time list behind his compatriot Shane Williams’ tally of 22.

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