What are the Women’s Six Nations?

The Women’s Six Nations is an international rugby union competition which takes place each year. Historically, the competition ran alongside the men’s tournament. But due to the pandemic, the competition’ has shifted to a stand-alone window.

When is the Women’s Six Nations?

The competition usually takes place in February, but starting in 2021 the tournament was moved to April and condensed to a shorter format. For 2022, we're back to the traditional format, and fans of women's rugby have even more reason to celebrate.

For the first time ever, the tournament has a title sponsor - making it officially the TikTok Women's Six Nations. It's unclear if this means 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?

UK-based supporters can watch the opening matches, England v Scotland and Wales v Ireland, on BBC Two and BBC Two Wales, respectively. All other games will be broadcast on BBC iPlayer. After initial fears that the competition would be moved behind a paywall, 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 TikTok 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 TikTok Women’s Six Nations continues to go from strength to strength in the near future!

Words by Stella Mills

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