Great Bets

Helping You Find Your Next Bet

Which Country Has Won The Six Nations the Most Times?

The Six Nations Championship takes place every year in late winter and early spring and determines which is the best rugby union side in the northern hemisphere. As of the 2024 competition, England, France, Ireland, Italy, Scotland and Wales take part, but there are often discussions about changing the format, with Italy’s place potentially under threat.

In the past there was first the Home Nations Championship, featuring just England, Ireland, Scotland and Wales, then the Five Nations Championship, with the addition of France in 1910. The current six sides have competed since 2000. In this article we will look at who has won the most championships since the very first edition of the tournament back in 1883. Then, we will look at more recent editions since Italy entered the fray. Last of all we shall look at which nations have won the Grand Slam, which is to say won every game they played at a Championship.

England are the Most Successful Team in Tournament’s History

England FlagObviously Italy, and to a lesser extent France, have played in fewer tournaments than the original four nations. This gives them a handicap in the overall standings and it should also be noted that England have played two fewer Championships than the other three nations due to missing the 1888 and 1889 events after refusing to join the International Rugby Football Board (now known as World Rugby).

Wales, Ireland and Scotland have had 129 bites at the cherry up to and including 2023, with England playing 127 times, France 94 and Italy just 24. The table below shows how many times each nation has come out on top. Prior to 1994, teams who ended with the same number of match points shared the title. Since then, various tiebreaker systems have been used, firstly points difference (thus far this has always been sufficient to determine an outright winner) and so only one single victor has been declared each year.

This complicates things somewhat and means that Wales could have some claim to being the joint-most successful side. That said, with the most outright victories, we make England the tournament’s number one.

Rank Team Total Wins Outright Shared
1 England 39 29 10
2 Wales 39 28 11
3 France 26 18 8
4 Ireland 23 15 8
5 Scotland 22 14 8
6 Italy 0 0 0

So, as we can see, it is tight at the top, with England and Wales tied on total wins and England one ahead in terms of outright success. There is also relatively little between France, Ireland and Scotland too, but considering the French have entered far fewer tournaments than the other major sides they have performed well. Even so, England have the best strike rate of any participating country, winning roughly one in 3.25 tournaments they have entered, with Wales on one in 3.31 and France on one in 3.62.

England’s 6 Nations Wins in Brief

  1. England first won in 1883, the inaugural contest
  2. They defended their crown in 1884 for their first back-to-back win
  3. They have achieved two titles in a row several times but never completed three in a row
  4. England also won the first edition of the Five Nations in 1910
  5. England complete the hat-trick by winning the first Six Nations in 2000
  6. 2020 was the last time England won the Six Nations

Who Has Most Titles in Six Nations Era?

If we refine our search to the Six Nations era that began when Italy joined the party in 2000, we see a similar picture, albeit that the top four are more evenly matched in this time. All of these tournaments have had a single outright winner due to the use of points difference and there have been 24 editions of the Six Nations thus far.

Once again, England have their noses in front, winning seven times, whilst France and Wales have both claimed six titles and Ireland five. Scotland are the biggest loses when we look only at recent Championships because they have yet to taste Six Nations success, so are tied with Italy on zero wins.

Six Nations Summary: 2000 to 2023 Inclusive

Rank Team Wins Years Won
1 England 7 2020, 2017, 2016, 2011, 2003, 2001, 2000
2 France 6 2022, 2010, 2007, 2006, 2004, 2002
3 Wales 6 2021, 2019, 2013, 2012, 2008, 2005
4 Ireland 5 2023, 2018, 2015, 2014, 2009
5 Scotland 0 N/A
6 Italy 0 N/A

Who Has Won the Most Tournament Grand Slams?

Six Nations Rugby Balls With Country FlagsWinning the Grand Slam, which is to say beating all the other teams in a single edition of the tournament and thus winning every game, is the ultimate achievement. It is perhaps harder to do than it might seem, even though it “only” means winning five games in a row (and in the past either four or as few as three).

Unsurprisingly, the list of teams with the most Six Nations Grand Slams follows a similar pattern to the other metrics we have detailed already. England lead the way with 13 clean sweeps, with Wales next on 12, France boasting 10, Ireland four, Scotland three and Italy, of course, rooted on zero.

The most recent Grand Slam was achieved by Ireland in the last complete tournament, in 2023, with France winning all their games the season before that too. Wales last swept the board in 2019, with England having to look back to 2016 for their most recent Slam.

If we look at Grand Slams since Italy turned up for their annual whipping, we do, at last, see a different nation topping the table. The current millennium started so well for England as they won three of the first four tournaments, including a Grand Slam in their World Cup-winning year of 2003. But since then other teams have performed better in terms of winning every game of a Championship.

Since 2000, both Wales and France have completed four Grand Slams, with Ireland next on three. England have managed the feat just twice, so have some ground to make up. Even so, for now at least, they are the most successful nation in this fine tournament when one looks at a range of metrics and the bigger picture.