For rugby enthusiasts the RBS Six Nations Championship has to be among the highlights of the rugby calender. With a history that stretches back to the last century this tournament remains as vital as ever. Furthermore, the 2013 championship is set to be one of the closest fought for years.
The 2013 Tournament
Indeed, this year there is not really going to be any clear favourite. In fact, every one of the nations, with the possible exception of Italy, have to fancy their chances of becoming the outright winners. The holders and previous Grand Slam winners (they won all their matches) Wales have hit a sticky patch of form losing many of their recent internationals quite convincingly.
Six Nations tickets for their opening match against Ireland, which is being held at the Millennium Stadium on Saturday February 2nd are therefore going quite fast as many are keen to discover whether they have any chance of repeating their success. Meanwhile the English have not been doing that much better, although their recent, impressive win against the mighty All Blacks has certainly got people talking.
Their opening match is against the Scots, which is set for Twickenham on 2nd February and promises to be one of the highlights of the championship. However, most popular among buyers of 2013 Six Nations tickets at the moment appear to be the matches that involve the English and the French, which is at Twickenham on Saturday February 23rd and the match between Wales and England set to played at the Millennium Stadium on Saturday March 16th; a match which many feel could be the championship decider.
The Six Nations tournament hasn't always involved six teams. In fact, when it was first established back in 1882 and for many years after it was contested by the home nations of England, Wales, Ireland and Scotland alone. In 1910 France joined to make it the Five Nations Championship and in 2000 Italy made it six.
The first ever match was between the English and the Welsh at Swansea; a match the English were to win fairly comfortably. Indeed, the English, along with the Scottish team, were to dominate the tournament throughout its early years. However, the original tournament was beset with disputes as the scoring system was not quite as advanced as the one we know today and several of the early championships ended without a clear result.
However, the Welsh began to grow in strength and having introduced the revolutionary 'four-three quarters' system we are now familiar with, began to dominate by the end of the nineteenth century. In fact by the turn of the century all four of the teams had enjoyed some degree of success and the tournament became widely popular throughout the whole of Britain.
France, however, struggled for many years after they were allowed to join the fray and as England renewed their dominance in the inter war years (apart from a brief spell of Scottish domination) the French were actually forced to withdraw from the competition (mainly due to administration problems). Having rejoined the competition after the Second World War, the French began to gain momentum and apart from the 1970s, which was completely dominated by the Welsh, the French and the English have perhaps enjoyed the most success in recent years. The Italians, having joined in 2000, have had a difficult start but are continuing to improve. Indeed, it no doubt won't be long before they are enjoying a championship win. 2013, however, is not likely to be their first.
Idania Silvia writes on the subject of sports tours and tournaments for a wide range of related websites and blogs. Whilst her interests are varied, her focus remains that of rugby and she has resolved to keep an eye on sites such asfor her Six Nations tickets.