Storm Isha had led to severe disruptions up and down the land, but the sun soon rose over Dublin and the show went on in fine fashion at the storied St. James’s Gate venue; the weather-driven drama dovetailing perfectly with the storylines that look set to light up this year’s Championship.
An assortment of players, coaches, broadcasters and media figures mingled against the backdrop of the copper brewing vats, vast atrium and panoramic views of the city. The anticipation for the opening weekend, less than two weeks away, was palpable. For Wales scrum-half Gareth Davies, “the first game of every Six Nations tournament is massive. For us to have Scotland first up at a sold-out stadium in Cardiff is going to be huge.”
Six Nations Rugby Chief Executive Tom Harrison had earlier noted the “plot twists, action, and drama waiting to unfold and captivate the attention of more and more fans” in 2024. New Italy head coach Gonzalo Quesada harked back to his childhood in Argentina, watching the Championship on television, and remarked how lucky he now felt to be leading a team into the fray.
The launch also saw the attendance of social media influencers, adding further contemporary flair to proceedings, with digital storytelling playing an ever-greater role in the portrayal of the Championship. Guests got in on the act with the new Fantasy Rugby game too, with the likes of Love Island winner Greg O’Shea naming the key players he would pick (including fellow Irishman Hugo Keenan).
On the subject of new audiences, if there has been one unifying topic of conversation, it is the imminent worldwide release of the new Netflix series, Six Nations: Full Contact, documenting last year’s tournament. Out on Wednesday 24th January, the eight-episode series represents a landmark moment for the game, and attendees at the launch were treated to an exclusive watch-along of exclusive scenes from the show.
The towering Storehouse, which dominates the Dublin skyline, had witnessed the launch of a Championship that is reaching new heights.