What are the Women’s Six Nations?

The Women’s Six Nations is an international rugby union competition which takes place each year. Typically, the competition runs alongside the men’s tournament but for the first time in the competition’s history, the tournament took place in a stand-alone window this year.

When is the Women’s Six Nations?

The competition usually takes place in February, but as a result of COVID-19 this year the tournament was condensed and took part in a shorter format in April. It is unclear if the Women’s Six Nations will remain as a stand-alone tournament, or if it will move back to align with the men’s competition.

Which teams take part in the Women’s Six Nations?

Unsurprisingly, six countries are part of the Six Nations. These are:
•   England
•   France
•   Ireland
•   Italy
•   Scotland
•   Wales

Do the women’s six nations follow the same rules as the men?

The women’s six nations follow the rules of rugby union, so yes. The women also play on exactly the same size pitch, following the same laws as the men.

Is the Women’s Six Nations broadcast on TV?

This year all games were broadcast on BBC iPlayer. After initial fears that the competition would be moved behind a paywall from next year, ITV and BBC have agreed a four-year deal to show the men’s, women’s and U20 Six Nations Matches in the UK. This means the Women’s Six Nations tournament will remain free-to-air. The Women’s Six nations are set to be broadcast exclusively on the BBC.

What team usually performs the best?

Usually, England are the team who come away with the trophy. The Red Roses have currently won 87 of their 99 matches played. England came away with the title in this year’s competition.

What’s the history behind the tournament?

The tournament first started as a Home Nations competition between England, Scotland, Ireland and Wales in 1996. In 1999 this expanded to become the Five Nations, as France was added into the mix.

In 2001, the competition turned into the Women’s Six Nations. Interestingly, the Spanish Women’s national rugby union team played in the Women’s Six Nations from 2000 to 2006 but were replaced by Italy in 2007.

Does the women’s game have a fantasy league?

In another first for the competition, Women’s Six Nations fans had an opportunity to get involved with the tournament in a new way: a fantasy league. The new addition proved incredibly popular amongst fans, and was a big talking point across social media, with some big names in the sport getting involved.

What does the future of the tournament hold?

The future of the tournament looks bright, especially with the broadcasting rights being established specifically for the women’s game. The competition did well this year as it got the opportunity to step out of the shadow of the men’s matches, meaning audiences sizes increased and interest and buzz around the matches grew. It is no secret that women’s sport, and specifically women’s rugby, is growing at an exponential rate. Let’s hope that the Women’s Six Nations continues to go from strength to strength in the near future!

Words by Stella Mills

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