The Six Nations in Cardiff11 March 2022
How proud must you feel to live in the country that are the reigning and defending 2021 Six Nations Champions? The Welsh obviously take immense pride in the strong talent that they possess within the sport of rugby. As a result, the fiery dragons have even gotten the better over their bitter English rivals many times in the past. However, this does not mean that England are the only rival that Wales commonly encounter. Every year six nations compete in the Six Nations rugby tournament (hence, the name I guess). The four home nations Wales, England, Scotland and Ireland as well as Italy and France all battle it out for the coveted trophy during the winter months. Therefore, what is usually a gloomy time of year where there is a massive amount of rain and exams is turned into an exciting period for any avid sports fan! So what is it like to experience rugby’s greatest tournament in Cardiff? Going through how it feels when each country comes to town, you’re about to find out!
You know what they say? First the worst! So we might as well get them out of the way and over with! These two have clashed a whopping 138 times since rugby was formed as a sport in 1881 and England have won 66 times with Wales winning 60 times. Given that there are 15 people in England to every 1 in Wales, this record is extremely impressive! It’s always feisty when the English come to Cardiff. Luckily, it never gets to the stage where it seems like World War 3 is about to break out, just a bit of cheeky banter here and there, that’s all. I do find it rather ironic how I’m writing this is in the English language as opposed to Welsh. Unfortunately, being an Englishman myself, I don’t really have much choice!
If you are lucky (or unlucky) enough to be reading this in 2022, then at the time of publishing France look extremely likely to win their first Six Nations Tournament since 2010 with them achieving a Grand Slam in the process. This is where one team is able to sustain a perfect record throughout the course of the competition and beat every team they face. The French aren’t quite as known to be as passionate about rugby. This is unless you are from the South of France where many of the cities in that region have teams that compete in the national Top 14 league. And how dare I almost forget to mention the creme de la crepe Antione Dupont. Rugby’s world player of the year winner is (surprise, surprise) the best player in the world at the moment. So, France have Dupont at scrum-half, but not to worry because we have… Tomos Williams. Oh dear.
There are actually not a lot of ties with the Irish and the Welsh. However, that never affects the sheer competitiveness surrounding the games. These two are very often evenly matched and have produced some wonderful games in the past due to this. I think we should just be grateful that we don’t have to play this lot at Gaelic football! Also, be wary that the Irish bars in Cardiff are absolutely rammed when the away fans arrive for the game and even with the vast amount of these types of pubs in Cardiff, there still isn’t enough to hold off all of these Irish raiders!
The best thing about all of the home nations being in the tournament is that if one team is able to beat all of the other home nations, then they can claim what is called the Triple Crown. This prestigious trophy is held in extremely high regard and when the Scots and Welsh battle it out then the Triple crown being at stake frequently comes first to mind. Although there is also the Doddie Weir Cup which is won out of whoever wins this one specific game in the tournament. I know, there are so many trophies to be won that even I’m struggling to keep track! Nevertheless, the one that really matters is the main Six Nations Championship trophy and both of these teams always stand a good chance of winning it every year. Oh yeah, and finally, don’t be flustered if you see a lot of men walking around the city centre wearing chequered skirts. I wonder why they do that?
And the Wooden Spoon goes to! There’s a reason I left this team until last. Because that’s where they always finish! Sorry Italians, but when you haven’t won a game in the tournament since 2015, then you can’t really blame me for pulling out that pun. Yet, every time the Italians come to Cardiff they always seem to bring such a vibrant aura to the city. They always come in their numbers and are very willing to have a sing-song in the stadium. That does not mean that the Italian restaurants are filled with people on the day of the game though.
Overall, the atmosphere is always vivid when the fans from these countries come to the city of Cardiff to watch the games. The only advice I can give now seems kind of cliche but if you have the opportunity to get tickets for any of the Six Nations games, no matter the opponent… GO!