The Six Nations Championship, known for as sponsored by RBS Bank is an annual international rugby union competition involving six European sides: England, France, Ireland, Italy, Scotland and Wales.
The Six Nations is the successor to the Five Nations Championship (1910 – 31 and 1947 -99) which in turn succeeded the Home Nations Championship (1883 – 1909 and 1932 -39).
The Home Nations Championship, played between teams from England, Ireland, Scotland and Wales, was the first international rugby union tournament. The winners of the Six Nations Championship are also known as the European Champions.
Ireland having won 4 out of 5 games are the current title holder having retained their title from the previous year. This year’s first match of the 2016 RBS Championships kicks off with France v Italy at Stade de France
The winners of the Six Nations are presented with the Championship Trophy. This was originally conceived by the Earl of Westmorland, and was first presented to the winners of the 1993 championship, France.
This year a New Sterling Silver Trophy will be presented to the winners on the 21st of March 2016, designed and handmade by a team of silversmiths from the London firm Thomas Lyte.
The new trophy, spun from Sterling 925 Silver, underwent the process of casting, Spinning, hand engraving and polishing. Crafted from over fifty pieces, the six sided Trophy is representative of the competing nations, with each nations crest engraved on the plinth. The new Trophy is made from 7kg of silver, stands at 75cm high and took over 200 craft hours to make.
Triple Crown Trophy
This trophy is awarded to either England, Ireland, Scotland or Wales, and only when one nation wins all three of their matches against the other three, during the Six Nations Championship. The Triple Crown honour has long been a feature of the tournament, dating back to the original Home Nations Championship, but the physical Triple Crown Trophy has been awarded only since 2006. The current holder of the Triple Crown is England, who beat Ireland, Scotland and Wales in the 2014 Six Nations Championships.
Four other trophies are contested within the main competition, mostly as long standing fixtures between pairs of teams.
• Calcutta Cup – England versus Scotland, contested annually since 1879
• Centenerary Quaich – Scotland versus Ireland, contested annually since 1989
(a Quaich is a Gaelic drinking vessel)
• Guiseppe Garibaldi Trophy – France versus Italy, contested since 2007, in memory of Guiseppe Garibaldi, leader in the unification of Italy, born in Nice, a city that changed hands between France and Italy three times in his lifetime
• Millenium Trophy – England versus Ireland, contested since 1988: presented to celebrate Dublin’s millennium in 1988
A Schedule of 2016 Championship Fixtures (GMT)
Saturday 6th of February – Stade de France – France v Italy – 14.25
Saturday 6th of February – BT Murrayfield – Scotland v England – 16.50
Sunday 7th of February – Aviva Stadium – Ireland v Wales – 15.00
Saturday 13th of February – Stade de France – France v Ireland – 14.25
Saturday 13th of February – Principality Stadium – Wales v Scotland – 16.50
Sunday 14th of February – Stadio Olimpico – Italy v England – 14.00
Friday 26th of February – Principality Stadium – Wales v France – 20.05
Saturday 27th of February – Stadio Olimpico – Italy v Scotland – 14.25
Saturday 27th of February – Twickenham Stadium – England v Ireland – 16.50
Saturday 12th of March – Aviva Stadium – Ireland v Italy – 13.30
Saturday 12th of March – Twickenham Stadium – England v Wales – 16.00
Sunday 13th of March – BT Murrayfield – Scotland v France – 15.00
Saturday 19th of March – Principality Stadium – Wales v Italy v – 14.30
Saturday 19th of March – Aviva Stadium – Ireland v Scotland – 17.00
Saturday 19th of March – Stad de France – France v England – 20.00