What needs to happen for England to win the Six Nations?

Jack de Menezes
·5-min read
England, Ireland and France can all win the Six Nations title on ‘Super Saturday' (PA)
England, Ireland and France can all win the Six Nations title on ‘Super Saturday' (PA)

Ireland, England and France go into next weekend’s delayed final round of the Six Nations all with hopes of claiming the championship in what could prove the most thrilling finish to the tournament since 2015.

On that occasion, Wales, Ireland and England all had hopes of emerging triumphant on the greatest ‘Super Saturday’ in living memory, with the Irish just doing enough to take the title on points difference.

But this year’s championship decider could be even greater as the tournament will wrap up with France hosting the Irish in Paris, meaning the winners of the Six Nations will not be decided until the final whistle blows.

Ireland take a one-point advantage over England and France into the final round, but with Eddie Jones’s side heading to Rome to take on point-less Italy, Ireland know they will likely require a bonus-point win over France to win the championship - something that is not easily done these days.

With three teams all setting their sights on the Six Nations title, here’s what each team has left to play for.

England

Eddie Jones' side were in the box seat before the weekend started, but find themselves needing Ireland to slip up in France next weekend if they are to get their hands back on the Six Nations crown for the first time since 2017.

Despite starting their Six Nations campaign in February by losing to France in Paris and seeing Grand Slam dreams disappear, England sit second in the table, one point behind the Irish and ahead of Les Bleus on points difference. With their final game next Saturday against regular tournament no-hopers Italy, where a five-point maximum seems guaranteed, England stand a chance of claiming the championship.

With Ireland set to travel to Paris to take on France, England’s best chance of tournament success is for France to emerge victorious, but by the slimmest of margins as England currently hold a two-point advantage over the French when it comes to game points difference. Essentially, a large victory over Italy and French win in Paris will do the job.

France

Consistent under-achievers France have been transformed under new head coach Fabien Galthie, beating England and then Wales in Cardiff as they claimed three wins from their first four starts. Losing to Scotland last time out, though, was a hugely-damaging result, and they must now beat Ireland in Paris - preferably with a bonus point - while also hoping that England lose, draw or win without a bonus point in Rome.

Given that England have toppled Italy 26 times from 26 attempts, scoring more than 1,000 points in the process, Galthie's players are likely to reflect painfully on their Edinburgh misery.

Scotland

Scotland, who along with Italy have never won the Six Nations, are currently fourth and saw their faint title hopes end on Saturday courtesy of Ireland’s victory over Italy. With one of France or Ireland set to secure points from their clash in Paris that will take them above Scotland even if they secured a bonus-point win over Wales, Gregor Townsend’s side mathematically cannot win the title, and the best they can hope for is a second-placed finish, though even that is unlikely with England taking on Italy.

Ireland

Thanks to their comprehensive victory over Italy on Saturday, Ireland sit in the box seat to reclaim the Six Nations title, but they need to ensure they see off France in Paris, which is no easy task, and add a bonus point if they are to be guaranteed the title.

Andy Farrell’s side hold a slender one-point advantage over both England and France, though the heavy 50-17 victory in Dublin has helped boost their points difference to put them 23 points ahead of England and two further than France. However, with England also yet to face Italy, they could easily overturn that points difference, and should Ireland beat France but fail to score four tries, it’ll come down to yet another points difference shootout.

If Ireland lose to France though, their Six Nations hopes are over. Ireland could encounter a few problems in achieving victory in Paris, with only three wins from 10 trips to Paris in the Six Nations.

Wales

Wales, Grand Slam champions last year in head coach Warren Gatland's final season at the helm, look resigned to a disappointing fourth- or fifth-placed finish. Gatland's successor Wayne Pivac enjoyed a comfortable start when Italy were crushed 42-0, but successive defeats against Ireland, France and England - albeit by a combined total of only 17 points - left them trailing in the title race.

A win against final Six Nations opponents Scotland at their temporary home of Parc y Scarlets is important, though, ahead of a four-Test Autumn Nations Cup campaign.

Italy

Italy are once again resigned to a dismal Six Nations campaign. They have lost all four of their games so far, and can expect little return from their home appointments with England.

They are already resigned to finishing bottom of the Six Nations ptableile for a 15th time - and a record fifth time in succession - since the tournament began 20 years ago, and have now gone an alarming 26 straight Six Nations games without a win.

The Azzurri have their moments, but nowhere near enough of them, and their latest effort will do nothing to silence those who believe that Six Nations promotion and relegation should be introduced.