by Ted Hardy
The RBS 6 Nations Championship, one of Europe’s biggest annual sporting events, will once again broadcast LIVE on BBC AMERICA. The legendary rugby tournament features England, France, Ireland, Scotland, Italy and Wales in a round-robin tournament for bragging rights over Europe. This year's coverage includes five matches that included every team in the competition, except for Italy.
England and France lead the coverage with three matches apiece, Wales makes two appearances, while Ireland and Scotland each make one appearance on the BBC America coverage.
The 6 Nations was founded in 1883 as the Home International Championship, comprising England, Ireland, Scotland and Wales. France officially joined the tournament in 1910 and the name changed to the 5 Nations where it stayed until 2000 when Italy joined the competition.
Several individual competitions take place under the umbrella of the Six Nations tournament.
The oldest is the Calcutta Cup, which has been running since 1879 and is contested annually between England and Scotland.
The Millennium Trophy has been awarded to the winner of the game between England and Ireland with the first presented in 1989, and in the same year, the Centenary Quaich was contested between Ireland and Scotland for the first time.
Since 2007, France and Italy have also contested for their own silverware - the Giuseppe Garibaldi Trophy. It was created to honor the 200th anniversary of the birth of Giuseppe Garibaldi who helped unify Italy and was also a French military general.
Tournament coverage begins on February 2nd with England taking on Scotland. England is coming off a monumental victory over the All Blacks at the end of the Fall Test Series. Scotland is looking to change their fortune after a disastrous fall that included a loss to Tonga and a coaching change. Former USA Eagles Head Coach, Scott Johnson, is now at the helm for the Scots. England last brought home the 6 Nations title in 2011 while Scotland hasn't finished higher than 5th since 2006.
Last year on the final day of the tournament, Wales beat France 16-9 to finish undefeated and win the Grand Slam. England placed second in the tournament followed by Ireland, France, and Italy. Scotland were condemned to the Wooden Spoon with their last place finish.
BBC AMERICA’S LIVE BBC BROADCASTS:
Saturday, February 2, 11:00am ET - England v Scotland
Saturday, February 9, 12:00pm ET - France v Wales
Saturday, February 23, 12:00pm ET - England v France
Saturday, March 9, 12:00pm ET - Ireland v France
Saturday, March 16, 1:00pm ET - Wales v England
6 interesting facts about the RBS 6 Nations Trophy:
1. The Trophy is made of 200 ounces of sterling silver.
2. There are fifteen sides to the Trophy, representing each player, and three handles representing each official (referee and two touch judges).
3. Around the wooden base of the Trophy is the emblem of each of the six national unions.
4. The handle, or finial, on the lid is interchangeable and represents the current champions.
5. The finials of the five challenging teams are kept in a hidden drawer in the plinth throughout the Championship.
6. The capacity of the Trophy is exactly five bottles of champagne, one for each of the original Five Nations, and the trophy has a lip at the rim, designed so that it is easy to drink from.
To learn more about the 6 Nations Championship, please visit http://www.rbs6nations.com