With the 2023 Guinness Six Nations drawing closer, it is time to look back at 10 of the best matches the Championship has ever produced.
Since Italy joined the family in 2000, there have been several incredible matches, with historic firsts, Grand Slam sealers, and some sensational high scoring clashes that made choosing a top ten incredibly difficult.
Without further ado though, here is a look back through the archives at the Top 10 Guinness Six Nations matches.
England 13-19 Ireland (Twickenham Stadium – March 6, 2004)
It was England’s first home match as World Champions and they had not lost at Twickenham since 1999, making them heavy favourites, but Ireland themselves were building something special and put in one of the great Six Nations performances.
Matt Dawson scored the only try of the first half for England, but through four Ronan O’Gara penalties, Ireland led 12-10 at half-time.
The home side had two tries chalked off, with Ben Cohen later Mark Regan denied, and Ireland took their opportunity with aplomb as Girvan Dempsey dotted down.
Paul Grayson did add three points to keep the game to one score in the final ten minutes, but Ireland’s defence proved too resolute for England, and they recorded a famous victory.
France 18-24 Wales (Stade de France – February 26, 2005)
2004 Grand Slam champions France got off to a sensational start in Paris and raced into a 15-6 lead at half time thanks to tries from Dimitri Yachvili and Aurelien Rougerie.
But the break came at the perfect time for Wales and within five second-half minutes, Martyn Williams scored twice to give them an 18-15 lead.
Freddie Michalak responded for France with a drop goal to level the scores, but it did not worry Wales as Stephen Jones added a penalty and a drop goal of his own to put Wales in the driving seat on the way to their own Grand Slam.
Scotland 17-37 Italy (BT Murrayfield – February 24, 2007)
Italy got off to a flyer at BT Murrayfield in 2007, racing into a 21-0 lead after just seven minutes courtesy of a Mauro Bergamasco charge down and two intercept tries from Andrea Scanavacca and Kaine Robertson.
The Edinburgh crowd were stunned to say the least, but Rob Dewey’s try and Chris Paterson’s penalty reduced the gap to 24-10 at half-time.
It was Paterson who scored next on the hour mark and his conversion made it a seven-point game.
Two more penalties from Scanavacca however put Italy firmly in the driving seat, and when Alessandro Troncon grounded a fourth try for Nick Mallett’s men, it was all over, as Italy recorded their first ever Championship win on foreign soil.
Wales 15-17 Ireland (Principality Stadium – March 21, 2009)
Both sides were in contention to win the title at kick-off in the final match of Super Saturday in 2009 and in a nitty gritty first half, Wales led 6-0 after two Stephen Jones penalties.
Ireland clicked into gear early in the second half though and Brian O’Driscoll scored his fourth try of the Championship, before Tommy Bowe added a second two minutes later to put Ireland 14-6 up.
Jones added two more penalties making the score 14-12 in Ireland’s favour entering the final five minutes, and he then slotted a drop goal to put Wales into the lead.
But just two minutes later, O’Gara followed suit, nailing an historic drop goal to land only Ireland’s second-ever Grand Slam and their first since 1948.
Wales 31-24 Scotland (Principality Stadium – February 13, 2010)
An inspired Scotland led Wales 18-9 after tries from John Barclay and Max Evans in addition to a penalty and drop goal from Dan Parks.
The fly-half added another penalty to extend Scotland’s lead to 21-9 after 41 minutes, before Lee Byrne’s try midway through the second half gave Wales hope.
Parks added a second drop goal to leave Wales requiring a miracle when trailing 24-14 with just three minutes left.
Leigh Halfpenny scored to put Wales in touching distance and Stephen Jones added his fourth penalty of the game to level the scores.
Scotland, down to 13 after two yellow cards, were shellshocked and Shane Williams completed one of the greatest comebacks in the sport’s history, let alone the Guinness Six Nations, when diving under the posts with the clock in the red.
Ireland 20-23 Scotland (Aviva Stadium – March 20, 2010)
Ireland still had a very slim chance of defending their title if France lost to England later that day, but victory would have seen them win back-to-back triple crowns.
It was Scotland who built a lead however, leading 14-7 at the break, with John Beattie crashing over and nine points from the boot of Dan Parks more than cancelling out Brian O’Driscoll’s try for the home side.
That lead grew further via the boot of Parks, but Tommy Bowe’s try and a Ronan O’Gara penalty saw the scores level heading into the final two minutes.
Ireland conceded another penalty right in the corner and Parks, who scored 18 points, nailed the kick straight down the middle for a first Scotland win in Ireland for a decade.
Italy 22-21 France (Stadio Flaminio – March 12, 2011)
France were defending champions and would reach the Rugby World Cup final later on in 2011, so Italy were hardly well-fancied when hosting Les Bleus in Round 4.
Vincent Clerc scored the sole try of the first half with a clever chip and chase that saw France lead 8-6 after the first 40 minutes, and ten points from Morgan Parra gave them a healthy 18-6 lead with just 22 minutes left.
Italy came roaring back though, as Andrea Masi scored in the corner and then Mirco Bergamasco continued his pinpoint kicking from the tee to make it a two-point game.
Parra extended the lead to five, but Bergamasco nailed another two penalties in the final ten minutes to seal a famous Italian win.
England 55-35 France (Twickenham – March 21, 2015)
Another Super Saturday classic. Few days have lived up to the drama of this one, with Wales, Ireland, and England all in contention to win the Championship at the start of the day. By the time this one kicked off, England needed to win by 26 points to win the title in place of Ireland.
It proved to be an absolute thriller, with 90 points scored and 12 tries in a game that very much lived up to expectation.
England led 27-15 at half time and appeared to be well on their way to the required winning margin after a brace from Ben Youngs and Anthony Watson’s score, but France would just not lie down.
That led to the bizarre position of England leading by 20 points at the death but still needing one last score to secure the title.
Ultimately, France held out and a raucous Twickenham fell silent as Ireland retained their crown.
England 38-38 Scotland (Twickenham – March 16, 2019)
One of the greatest matches of rugby ever played, the 2019 rendition of the Calcutta Cup proved to be very much a tale of two halves.
The Making Of… Cameron Redpath
England were totally dominant in the first half and led 31-0 after tries from Jack Nowell, Tom Curry, Joe Launchbury and Jonny May, but Stuart McInally’s charge-down try put Scotland on the board and seemed to breathe new life into Gregor Townsend’s side.
Incredibly, five second-half tries from the away side saw them score 38 unanswered points, with Finn Russell in complete control, crossing once himself and playing a big role in two other scores before Sam Johnson appeared to have won the game for Scotland.
England fought back one last time and George Ford converted his try in overtime to equalise a quite extraordinary contest.
France 32-30 Wales (Stade de France – March 20, 2021)
Wales needed a win to seal the Grand Slam, while France still had their postponed clash with Scotland to come but needed to win both to have a shot at the title .
It was a topsy turvy first half, with Romain Taofifenua’s try cancelled out by Dan Biggar crashing over and Antoine Dupont’s score quickly matched by one from Josh Navidi to make the scores 17-17.
Through Josh Adams’ try however and two Biggar penalties, Wales opened up a 30-20 lead, and when Paul Willemse was sent off with 12 minutes to go, it seemed like Wales would do it.
They too had their lapses of concentration however, with both Taulupe Faletau and Liam Williams sent to the sin bin and suddenly it was France who had the extra man.
And they made Wales pay, first through Charles Ollivon and then Brice Dulin in the 80th minute, completing a sensational comeback to break Welsh hearts and crush their Grand Slam dreams – although they would go on to lift the title the following week when Scotland defeated France.