The draw for a Six Nations tournament attracts a lot of attention. Fans across the world look through the same lens to see how favourable their team’s schedule is. This lens is the when and where they face each of the teams.

In my previous article, and in The 1014 6N video, we quantified how important the where (i.e. home advantages) is for the Six Nations. In this article, we will analyse the importance of the when (i.e. momentum).

4-1 Finishers

If a team wants to win the Six Nations, they should be targeting at least four wins. Even if a team doesn’t win the title but finish with four wins, it should be considered as a good result for any team.

Italy and Scotland have never won four matches in a Six Nations tournament. England has finished on four wins nine times (’00, ’01, ’02, ’11, ’12, ’13, ’14, ’15, ’17). France three times (’05, ’06, ’07). Ireland seven times (’01, ’03, ’04, ’06, ’07, ’14, ’15). Wales twice (’13 and ’15).

The table below is a count of which round these “4-1 Finishers” failed to win.

Team Round 1 Round 2 Round 3 Round 4 Round 5
England 1 0 3 0 5
France 1 0 1 1 0
Ireland 1 2 2 1 1
Wales 2 0 0 0 0
Total 5 2 6 2 6


Overall, the numbers are quite low for rounds 2 and 4. If the table above had no pattern, these two rounds will make up 40% of the 21 matches (8.4 matches). This is more than double the total of 4 matches for these two rounds on the table above. Thus, not many teams finish on four wins (i.e. have a successful tournament) if they lose their second or fourth match. Therefore, I suspect rounds 2 and 4 are the key rounds to building momentum in the Six Nations.

Interestingly, on both tournaments where Wales finished on four wins, they lost in the first round. Perhaps Warren Gatland and his men can perform without momentum? In five out of the nine times England finished on four wins, they lost in the last round. This number is very high when we consider that if England’s numbers above had no pattern, this number will be 1.8.

England has had two Six Nations Grand Slams in 2003 and 2016. This means for “Six Nations Grand Slam Decider” matches, England has a win record of just 28.6%.


Author: Kaito Goto


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