The Six Nations Rugby Union tournament gets underway on Saturday, February 5, with Wales looking to retain the title they won last year. The Welsh, who will also try to win the Triple Crown again, start their campaign in Cardiff at the Millennium Stadium against Ireland.
England, who suffered a disappointing competition 12 months ago, will hope to improve their recent form with a win at Murrayfield against Scotland on the opening weekend, whilst France host Italy on Sunday 6 February.
The tournament culminates on March 19 with a potential title decider in Paris between France and England.
France favourites to win the Six Nations
France are the 6/4 favourites with Unibet to win the Six Nations this year and it’s easy to see why. Les Bleus lost out last year on a first title since 2007 after a shock final day loss to Scotland.
Since then, they were narrowly beaten 2-1 in a three-test series in Australia over the summer, before beating the All Blacks 40-25 in the Autumn internationals in November. They crucially also get to face Ireland and England on home soil during the tournament.
England must improve on last year’s efforts
Despite beating France, three defeats against Ireland, Wales and Scotland saw England finish 5th with a negative points difference in last year’s Six Nations. They come into this competition with a point to prove, as does their coach, Eddie Jones.
They did respond with five wins in a row over the summer and Autumn internationals, which included a 32-15 defeat of Australia, and an enthralling 27-26 success against World Cup holders, South Africa.
- Unibet make England the 11/4 second favourites for the title.
Unpredictable Ireland could cause a surprise
You never know which Ireland will show up on the day, but when in form they are a strong side. Andy Farrell is trying to bring in new blood to the squad, so this Six Nations might come a little too soon for them.
They did enjoy a successful Autumn internationals campaign by beating New Zealand 29-20, before a comfortable 53-7 success over Argentina.
- Ireland have been priced at 33/10 to win the title with Unibet.
Can Wales defend their title?
Defending champions, Wales, have only been priced as the 11/2 fourth favourites to retain their title by Unibet, which looks like generous odds. They remain a strong squad and the results from their trip to Twickenham and their home game against France will prove crucial to Welsh success.
Wales did suffer three defeats in a row against Argentina, New Zealand, and South Africa last year, but they did narrowly beat Australia 29-28 in November to give them some confidence coming into this year’s tournament.
Can Scotland build on last year’s promise
Scotland showed glimpses of promise last year, beating England and France in the Six Nations for the first time in years. They also beat Australia in November before a 30-15 defeat against South Africa.
They certainly have the potential to cause more upsets this season and their opening game against England could be pivotal to how both teams’ campaigns go. Unibet offer odds of 10/1 for Scotland to win their first Six Nations title, after last winning the Five Nations back in 1999.
Italy set to struggle again
Italy are the outsiders in the Six Nations again and even by their own standards, they were extremely poor last season, failing to score a point in the competition for a third season in a row.
- Unibet price them at 1000/1 to cause one of the biggest upsets in sport by winning this tournament.
Previous Six Nations winners
Since the Five Nations tournament became the Six Nations in 2000, England have been the most successful team with seven titles. That is one more than Wales on six, and France who are on five.
Of those title wins, England have only won two of them courtesy of gaining the Grand Slam, whilst four of Wales’s five titles have come that way. Here are the last ten winners of the Six Nations:
- 2021 – Wales
- 2020 – England
- 2019 – Wales
- 2018 – Ireland
- 2017 – England
- 2016 – England
- 2015 – Ireland
- 2014 – Ireland
- 2013 – Wales
- 2012 – Wales