Do Not Sell My Personal Information
ADVERTISEMENT
RugbyDump RugbyDump
Thursday Feb 4, 2016

The Greatest Opening Six Nations Matches Ever

The Greatest Opening Six Nations Matches Ever

The Six Nations is almost here, so the wait for Northern Hemisphere’s elite to put World Cup disappointment behind them is about to be extinguished as they aim for an explosive start to 2016. Our man Aron Hegarty takes a closer look at seven great opening matches.

From England raising the bar in Cardiff last year to Ronan O’Gara’s drop-goal breaking Italian hearts in 2011 and Damien Traille’s try which crushed Scotland in 2005; some of the most telling moments often occur during the opening round of the competition.

In recent times that has certainly been the case and with holders Ireland hosting Wales, Scotland welcoming England plus France entertaining Italy on the first weekend, we can expect this year’s tournament not to disappoint.

Here are seven of the greatest ever opening matches in the Six Nations Championship:

2014 Six Nations: France 26-24 England

Gael Fickou came off the bench to land the coup d’etat for France in a thrilling contest with England in Paris. The French had led 16-3 after 22 minutes, but England roared back and took a 24-19 lead before 19-year-old Fickou’s converted try with three minutes to go saw Les Bleus escape to victory.

 

2013 Six Nations: Italy 23-18 France

Italy shocked France at home for the second time in a row having previously beaten the then holders 22-21 in 2011. And like that memorable win, the Azzurri again had to come from behind and defend ferociously to do it in their opening game of the 2013 campaign.

The Italians later upset Ireland in their final match to equal their best competition finish of fourth.

 

 2006 Six Nations: Scotland 20-16 France

Two Sean Lamont tries capped off a fantastic Scottish performance as they stunned France in their 2006 curtain raiser.

In what was then coach Frank Hadden’s first Six Nations’ game, the Scots – who came third; their highest tournament finish to date – produced a superb defensive display to keep eventual winners Les Bleus at bay.

 

2000 Six Nations: Italy 34-20 Scotland

Tournament newcomers Italy pulled off a historic upset against Five Nations’ champions Scotland in their Six Nations’ debut.

Although the Azzurri would have to wait until 2003 for their next success – a 30-22 opening day home win over Wales – fly-half Diego Dominguez announced Italy’s arrival by kicking 29 points in a famous victory.

 

2012 Six Nations: Ireland 21-23 Wales

Leigh Halfpenny’s late penalty sealed a thrilling comeback for Wales against a crestfallen Ireland in an enthralling match, where the lead changed five times.

The Welsh followed up this result with a dramatic victory over England at Twickenham and a tense home win against France on their way to a Grand Slam.

 

2008 Six Nations: England 19-26 Wales

Wales produced a magificant fightback to earn their first win against England at Twickenham since 1988 on their way to another Grand Slam.

Despite trailing 19-6 midway though the second half, the visitors scored 20 unanswered points in coach Warren Gatland’s first match as Brian Ashton’s men collapsed in the final twenty minutes.

 

2013 Six Nations: Wales 22-30 Ireland

Ireland hung on to win an extraordinary opener in 2013, where they led 30-3 at one point before reigning champions Wales threatened an unlikely comeback.

Incredibly the course of both teams changed dramatically following this match as Ireland narrowly avoided the Wooden Spoon, while Wales staged a remarkable revival to win back-to-back titles – proving nothing is won or lost in the first game!

ADVERTISEMENT

Related Articles

  • 60 WEEKS AGO

    scottish prop saves fire victim

  • 64 WEEKS AGO

    New Rugby X tournament insane

  • 92 WEEKS AGO

    Vunipola stands by his comments supporting...

ADVERTISEMENT

Great Tries

  • 1 DAY AGO

    It's 30 years since France scored that epic 'Try of the Century' from beneath their posts

  • 4 DAYS AGO

    Amazing acrobatic skills set up early try in Pro D2 Friday night clash

  • 5 DAYS AGO

    WATCH: Arguably the most insane three minutes of Fijian rugby history

  • 5 DAYS AGO

    Jonny Wilkinson's iconic performance that ripped Ireland apart in 2002

  • 1 WEEK AGO

    Jamie Roberts turns back the clock with trademark midfield power for well taken try

View All

Big Hits & Dirty Play

  • 3 DAYS AGO

    WATCH: Springbok fans celebrate Liam Williams' game-losing error in 2014

  • 4 DAYS AGO

    Huge brawl blows up in dugouts during 1999 Wales Test in Buenos Aires

  • 4 DAYS AGO

    Old school highlights show just how brutal rugby really was in the 80s

  • 6 DAYS AGO

    Liam Williams suspended despite on field protestations

  • 1 WEEK AGO

    Kyle Sinkler banned for going full John McEnroe at referee

View All

See It To Believe It

  • 3 DAYS AGO

    Vakatawa blows crucial try in terrible blooper, similar to Kunitani in 2014

  • 4 DAYS AGO

    Old school highlights show just how brutal rugby really was in the 80s

  • 4 DAYS AGO

    Highlights and reaction to Saracens shock defeat to Championship regulars Ealing

  • 4 DAYS AGO

    WATCH: Zebo slams Folau over potential return to rugby union

  • 5 DAYS AGO

    WATCH: Steve Thompson's heartbreaking interview which shocked World Rugby in December

View All

Funnies

  • 2 DAYS AGO

    Fijian wing who lifted a referee like Lion King now faces a disciplinary hearing

  • 5 DAYS AGO

    Referee JP Doyle reacts to hilarious moment red card was dished out after bizarre celebration

  • 2 WEEKS AGO

    WATCH: Without doubt one of the funniest red cards in the history of rugby

  • 3 WEEKS AGO

    Nigel Owens produces comedy gold by forgetting crucial piece of kit during Pro14 clash

  • 5 WEEKS AGO

    The VERY BEST examples of when rugby players celebrate too early

View All

Amateur

  • 11 WEEKS AGO

    Viral video of Scottish club brawl goes down a storm with rugby community

  • 48 WEEKS AGO

    RUGBYDUMP BLITZ: This Best of the Week round up is sure to entertain you

  • 49 WEEKS AGO

    RD BLITZ - Disaster, just when it looked so promising...

  • 49 WEEKS AGO

    That glorious moment that will live on forever, like it or not

  • 49 WEEKS AGO

    RD Blitz - PROP'S Lionel Messi wizardy creates incredible try

View All

Player Features

  • 6 DAYS AGO

    Brian Moore on money in modern rugby and how it should never be compared to 'outlier' football

  • 2 WEEKS AGO

    Tuisova's wrecking ball montage will make you grateful you never made it as a pro

  • 8 WEEKS AGO

    New Zealand rugby pod admit Owen Farrell is world class

  • 8 WEEKS AGO

    WATCH: Bath prop launches Amazon documentary focused on those from non-traditional backgrounds

  • 10 WEEKS AGO

    The highs and lows of Yoann Huget after he announced his retirement

View All
The Greatest Opening Six Nations Matches Ever | RugbyDump - Rugby News & Videos