Europe’s top international rugby union teams return to action in this year’s Guinness Men’s Six Nations championship, the first time they’ve taken to the field since the 2023 Rugby World Cup.
Ireland are the reigning champions, having won each of their five matches in the Championship in 2023. No side has ever recorded back-to-back Grand Slams in the Six Nations era; can Andy Farrell’s men be the first to do it? Their final game comes on home soil in Dublin at the Aviva Stadium against Scotland, where everything could be decided.
Ireland are without Johnny Sexton this year following his retirement, but they’re not the only side to be missing one of their superstars. France come into this year’s Six Nations without Antoine Dupont, who is chasing Olympic glory with the France 7s team.
Regardless, as part of our Six Nations 2024 predictions, we suggested that Damian Penaud will score tries for the French. He finished as the top try scorer in last year’s edition with five, which bodes well, also crossing for 13 tries in his last eight games for Les Bleus overall. The French open their Six Nations campaign in Marseille against the Irish and close it out against England in Décines-Charpieu in Lyon.
Les Bleus finished second to Ireland in the Six Nations last year and had a disappointing World Cup campaign, after being knockout out by eventual champions South Africa. Fabien Galthié’s side will be playing their home games around France this year, with the Stade de France being prepped for the Olympics – how will that affect their almost impeccable home record in recent years?
Scotland, under Gregor Towsend, will have big ambitions for this year’s Guinness Men’s Six Nations – they have a settled squad and were third last year, their joint-best finish in the Championship since 2000. Can they improve on that this year?
Scotland travel to Cardiff to begin their Six Nations journey against Wales and finish it off against Ireland in Dublin. They will host France and England in at Murrayfield in their second and third games of the competition.
England had a disappointing Six Nations campaign last year, finishing fourth. However, they are steadily improving under head coach Steve Borthwick and enjoyed a third-place finish at the Rugby World Cup. They will hope to challenge for the Six Nations title in 2024, or at least show up better than last year. They play Italy in Rome and then the Welsh at Twickenham to get the ball rolling. Their final clash will be a tough task away to France.
Wales just avoided the wooden spoon in 2023, finishing in fifth place. Warren Gatland is overseeing a team in transition, with Dafydd Jenkins becoming the youngest player to captain a Six Nations team, a record that former Wales and British & Irish Lions skipper Sam Warburton previously held. How will this young, inexperienced squad fare in this campaign?
It was Italy who picked up the wooden spoon last year, but overall it was a campaign that had plenty of positives – their margins of defeat being far improved from previous editions and their attacking play better than ever. They endured an ultimately disappointing Rugby World Cup later in 2023, but under the guidance of new head coach Gonzalo Quesada, they will be confident of claiming a scalp or two in 2024. England travel to Rome’s Stadio Olimpico first up, and Italy will also welcome Scotland there while travelling to play Ireland, France and Wales across their 2024 Six Nations fixtures.
Throughout this year’s Guinness Men’s Six Nations you can track which teams and players are performing best in several facets of the game. This data page hosts a wide range of player stats and team data, allowing you to compare teams and players across the Six Nations for the first time. From simpler metrics such as carries, tackles and rucks to more advanced stats such as tackle evasion, 22 exit success, team movement and more, this stats hub has everything you need to jump in and start exploring.