February gets off to an exciting start with the start of the 2020 Six Nations Championship. Wales will be attempting to repeat their 2019 victory when they achieved the Grand Slam with wins over England, Ireland, Scotland, France and Italy. Since that title triumph we have had the 2019 Rugby World Cup which had mixed results for the countries participating in this championship. England begin as favourites after making it through to the World Cup final but will face tough competition over the coming weeks, particularly from Ireland and Wales. The Six Nations Championship runs from Saturday 1 February to Saturday 14 March.
Let's take a quick look at the teams and some of the Six Nations statistics.
|Country||Played||Won||Drew||Lost||Pts scored||Pts Conceded||Pts Difference||Bonus pts||Total Points|
Saturday 22 February - Italy v Scotland and Wales v France
Sunday 23 February - England v Ireland
Saturday 7 March - Ireland v Italy and England v Wales
Sunday 8 March - Scotland v France
Saturday 14 March - Wales v Scotland, Italy v England and France v Ireland
Ireland have shown great consistency in the Six Nations and again will be a threat to every team they face. Three of their games in this championship will be played at home and they host Scotland, Wales and Italy. They come into this championship with Andy Farrell as their new coach and Jonathan Sexton as captain. Ireland have some injury problems but will be in contention again this year.
England have finished in the top two of the Six Nations five times in the last six years. Last year saw them finish second in both this championship and the Rugby World Cup. They have some injury problems and have three of their five games away from home but at least take on Ireland and Wales at Twickenham.
Wales won both the Six Nations and the Grand Slam last year. A disappointing World Cup followed and they now have Wayne Pivac as coach. His team have three of their five matches at home this year. Not probably the ones that they would like though as both of their games against Ireland and England will be played away from home.
Scotland finished fifth last year and failed to make it out of their pool at the World Cup. They go into this Six Nations Championship with a much-changed squad. John Barclay, Tommy Seymour and Greg Laidlaw have all retired with other players being left out. Not good news is the fact that Finn Russell is under suspension and Darcy Graham will miss their first game against Ireland. They are unlikely to be challenging for the title this year.
Not since 2010 have France won the Six Nations Championship. They haven't been in contention either with a highest finish of third in the past six years. They have a new coaching team this year led by Fabien Galthie and Shaun Edwards. Plenty of changes have been made with several players from the Under-20 World Cup winning team from 2018 being introduced at seior level. Another inconsistent year looks likely and it'lll be interesting indeed to see how their opening game at home to England progresses.
If you go to an Italian kitchen you will find it full of wooden spoons. They have finished bottom in each of the past four years and lost all 20 of their matches played. Many believe they shouldn't be in this championship and a country such as Georgia should replace them. They are again going to struggle and another wooden spoon is on itts way. Other countries routinely play weakened sides against the Italians resting players for more competitive battles ahead.
There are several factors that you need to consider when placing bets on the Six Nations Championship. Look at areas such as current form, the team news (are there key players missing or returning to action?), whether a team is strong at home or on their travels and the importance of the match.
The Six Nations takes place over 5 weekends, with a total of 15 games - each team plays each other only once. The points system of the Six Nations is as follows: