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How are the sequences of fixtures for the 6 Ntions decided?

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How are the sequences of fixtures for the 6 Ntions decided? Empty How are the sequences of fixtures for the 6 Ntions decided?

Post by catchweight Mon 14 Mar 2016, 10:32 pm

I know that every year the fixtures alternate between home and away for each country, but how is the actual sequence of fixtures decided? Is it random computer draw?

In what is normally a pretty tightly contestedly tournament, I think the sequence the fixtures take place can have a big impact. Especially in what can often be a championship decided on points difference.

For example Italy are the weakest team, but I consider it a disadvantage to draw them in the first two games because normally their smaller player base is less impacted by injury and fatigue, and the team are more motivated. By the end of the championship they are prone to burn out and unless its a wooden spoon decider, they can be there for the taking for one of the championship chasing team to run up a big score against. Wales have drawn the as the last fixture two years in a row now and I think that afforded them an advantage. Had they edged Ireland in the first game I wouldnt put it past them to put 50 or 60 points on Italy if they were chasing a potential title on points difference. Italy are already wooden spooners with a depleted squad and will be travelling to Cardiff. The perfect scenario for a team looking to rack up a big points win.

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Post by RuggerRadge2611 Mon 14 Mar 2016, 10:37 pm

I'd love Scotland to have Italy first. The championship is all about momentum and we had the two toughest fixtures first. A resurgent England and the ever powerful Wales.
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Post by catchweight Mon 14 Mar 2016, 10:47 pm

If I was a coach looking at winning the championship, I woud definately prefer Italy last fixture. You can head to the last game with a 3-1 record with a good opportunity of scoring heavily if needs be.

Italy up first will usually mean a win that you were likely to get anyway, but harder fought with less of a chance to score heavily.

In whats generally a conservative tournament to begin with, there doesnt seem to be much emphasis on points difference until the last round of fixtures which I have always found strange in a tournament that can very esily be decided on points.

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Post by Rugby Fan Tue 15 Mar 2016, 12:07 am

Le Crunch often appears in the last weekend because broadcasters want it that way. Both nations have big TV audiences, and there is still the quaint notion that an England v France match could decide the title. I suppose sometimes it does.

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Post by robbo277 Tue 15 Mar 2016, 7:07 am

England have been away more often than home on the last day (think it's something like 5 times in the last 7 years), which may help explain why we "choke" Grand Slam games.

However, the flip side of that argument is that we only play Grand Slam games because we have front loaded our home games in 2011 and 2013, for example, and had we played Ireland or Wales away earlier we possibly would have lost earlier.

England also had Italy (away again) in 2014, but couldn't win by enough to affect Ireland's points difference equation later in the day, and Ireland won the Championship on points. So it doesn't always work like that.

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Post by munkian Tue 15 Mar 2016, 7:47 am

robbo277 wrote:England have been away more often than home on the last day (think it's something like 5 times in the last 7 years), which may help explain why we "choke" Grand Slam games.

However, the flip side of that argument is that we only play Grand Slam games because we have front loaded our home games in 2011 and 2013, for example, and had we played Ireland or Wales away earlier we possibly would have lost earlier.

England also had Italy (away again) in 2014, but couldn't win by enough to affect Ireland's points difference equation later in the day, and Ireland won the Championship on points. So it doesn't always work like that.

Poor Excuse, pretty sure Wales recently won a Grandslam based on 3 away and 2 home games.
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Post by robbo277 Tue 15 Mar 2016, 8:16 am

Who was making excuses?

It is a fact that home wins are more frequent thenot away wins. The statistics bear this out.

It is also a fact that England have played the last game away from home more often than they have played the last game at home. A review of the previous fixture lists will also prove this.

Finally, it does also a fact that in 2011 and 2013, England weren't good enough to win the Grand Slam. They weren't a complete team and got found out in one fixture on both occasions.

However, the debate I guess I raised is whether they "choked" this final game because of the Grand Slam pressure, or whether they would have lost the game had they played it at any other point in the tournament.

My point was that England are more likely to win their home games, so far their first four games are 3 at home and 1 away, and their final game is away, it is that statistically surprising if try win the first 4 and lose the final one.

Finally, the 2/3 home/away grandslam is misleading, as the fixture list is based on the old 5 Nations fixture list with Italy bungled in. So if you have 3 home games, you play Italy at home. 3 away games, you play Italy away. Italy have never contended at the sharp end of the tournament, and they've never even be King Makers (that is, beaten anyone who that year contended the top of the table), so I'd confidently predict that anyone who won a Grand Slam playing Italy at home would also have been able to win a Grand Slam had they switched the Italy game to an away fixture.

What is more relevant is who the other teams you play are. In the early part of the century, England were much stronger in the odd years (3 home games) because they had France at home in these years and France were the main competition. Now days, odd years mean away trips to Cardiff and Dublin and I'd say that England have a higher chance of a Slam in even years (two home games) as this year is.

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Post by robbo277 Tue 15 Mar 2016, 8:21 am

Sorry for all the typos, on my phone. Hope it still makes sense.

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Post by munkian Tue 15 Mar 2016, 8:34 am

robbo277 wrote:Sorry for all the typos, on my phone. Hope it still makes sense.

It does OK

But I still maintain that if you are good enough you'll win it regardless of the fixtures.
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Post by PenfroPete Tue 15 Mar 2016, 9:10 am

Aye, seems completely random to me. If we look at the last 7 games (including this weekend’s match) then England will only have had the final match at home in 2 games in the last 7 seasons

However, if we don’t include this weekend’s game and look at the previous 10 seasons it’s 5 home / 5 away – including 3 at home in 4 seasons
2016 – France (A)

2015 – FRANCE (H) – W 55-35
2014 – Italy (A) – W 11 - 52
2013 – Wales (A) - L 30-3
2012 – IRELAND (H) – W 30-9
2011 – Ireland (A) – L 24-8
2010 – France (A) – L 12-10
2009 – SCOTLAND (H) – W 26-12
2008 – IRELAND (H) – W 33-10
2007 - Wales (A) – L 27-18
2006 - IRELAND (H) – L 24-28

Then if you look at it from the start
2005 – SCOTLAND (H) – W 43-22
2004 – France (A) – L 24-21
2003 – Ireland (A) – W 6-42
2002 – Italy (A) – W 9–45
2001 – Ireland (A) - L 20-14
2000 – Scotland (A) - L 19-13
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Post by Guest Tue 15 Mar 2016, 9:23 am

Momentum is definitely a big factor. Wales are slow starters, so if we either play the 'easier' team first and get some wins and confidence we get better, or if we can play the harder teams first and nick some wins we can go on to win it. In theory. Has worked a few times but it's still hard to do!

I often wonder whether the scheduling needs to change, but then form ebbs and flows over time. Wales always have the 3 blue teams at home with Ireland and England away in year one, and the opposite the following year, and then back to the blues at home, etc. At present this is a good set of fixtures as (sorry to say this Blue team fans) it means that every other year we get the 2 hardest teams (England and Ireland) at home and relatively easier fixtures all away. But this has not always been the case. France used to be a lot better, Ireland were not as good. Wales were not as good either! So perhaps the natural highs and lows of the teams negates any need for switching up the fixture list?

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Post by Rugby Fan Tue 15 Mar 2016, 9:33 am

munkian wrote:...But I still maintain that if you are good enough you'll win it regardless of the fixtures...

The fixtures do make a difference.

Wales won Grand slams in 1976 and 1978 when they faced France at home, but couldn't do so in 1977 and 1979 because they lost in Paris. They missed a 1975 slam by losing away to Scotland. The core of the team stayed the roughly the same over those five years.

We can never know the answer, but there's a good chance England would have beaten Ireland in 2001 if the Dublin fixture had gone ahead as scheduled. That team was on fire, and never looked quite as incisive after the Lions tour that year.

That doesn't mean teams who don't win the Slam deserve it, or teams which do win it somehow don't, but the fixture list is certainly not inconsequential.


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Post by Guest Tue 15 Mar 2016, 9:51 am

Rugby Fan wrote:
munkian wrote:...But I still maintain that if you are good enough you'll win it regardless of the fixtures...

The fixtures do make a difference.

Wales won Grand slams in 1976 and 1978 when they faced France at home, but couldn't do so in 1977 and 1979 because they lost in Paris. They missed a 1975 slam by losing away to Scotland. The core of the team stayed the roughly the same over those five years.

We can never know the answer, but there's a good chance England would have beaten Ireland in 2001 if the Dublin fixture had gone ahead as scheduled. That team was on fire, and never looked quite as incisive after the Lions tour that year.

That doesn't mean teams who don't win the Slam deserve it, or teams which do win it somehow don't, but the fixture list is certainly not inconsequential.


I get Munkian's point though. Those teams you mention were obviously not good enough to win it on those occasions as they couldn't beat another team away from home. So his point is correct! You can't just have 5 home fixtures. Part of winning a GS is winning on the road. We know the fixtures years in advance. If you can't beat all teams then you're not GS champions.

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Post by Pot Hale Tue 15 Mar 2016, 12:08 pm

I remember reading an article about this recently.

If I recall correctly, the Six Nations company draws up the schedules in consultation with the individual unions.

The unions have individual preferences eg France and Ireland like to play Italy first up. England prefer Italy in Round Two. Etc. The broadcasters do have a bearing as well in that they want a likely high-profile match in either the second last or last match in Round 5.
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Post by robbo277 Fri 18 Mar 2016, 1:56 pm

Yeah that's what I'm saying Munkian.

England may not have necessarily "choked" the Grand Slam games in 11 and 13, they weren't good enough and then it just so happened that they had their hardest game last in each year.

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