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Looking at the Six Nations permutations, Ireland are likely to finish in sixth place and claim the Wooden Spoon for the eighth successive Six Nations campaign. However, they have produced plenty of entertainment and have played exciting rugby during the 2023 Six Nations. Indeed, plenty of rugby experts thought they would beat Wales in Rome last weekend and they came very close to defeating France earlier in the tournament. Let’s have a close look at how Italy have played this year and answer some pressing questions such as: When did Italy last win a Six Nations game and can they get relegated?
Can Italy get Relegated?
Let’s start with the short and simple answer – no! There is no relegation from the Six Nations, if there was, then Italy would not have been able to finish bottom of the table every year from 2016 onwards. In order for their to be a relegation then there would need to be a feeder competition which could exchange a team at the end of each campaign.
More likely is the expansion of the Six Nations to seven or more countries. We have not seen expansion in the tournament since Italy became the sixth side at the start of the 2000 tournament and brought an end to the Five Nations which had stood the test of time since 1947.
Over recent years, and encouraged by Italy’s continual struggles, there has been talk of the winners of the Rugby Europe International Championships joining the Six Nations. Georgia have been dominant in this tournament and have won it all but twice since 2006!
Another idea which would get the marketeers and TV bosses excited, is the prospect of South Africa joining the competition. Undoubtedly that would make for an improvement in the quality of the Six Nations and South Africa would certainly be expected to win the competition over their first few attempts. Furthermore, those rugby fans who enjoy trips to Rome, London, Edinburgh, Dublin, Paris and Cardiff every other year would surely be keen to add Johannesburg to that list. However, we are yet to see any concrete plans to indicate that this could happen.
So in conclusion, Italy can not be relegated, it looks more likely that they will be joined by new countries rather than dumped from the competition.
When did Italy Win Their Last Game in the Competition?
After reading some of the details and statistics on Italy’s performances over recent years, you might be surprised to hear that they did actually win a match during the 2022 Six Nations. A 79th minute converted try by Edoardo Padovani saw Italy claim a famous 22-21 victory over Wales, their first win in Cardiff in the Six Nations.
Italy have picked up 13 victories across their Six Nations campaigns since joining in 2000. England are the only country not have experienced defeat against Italy in the tournament, whereas Scotland have been on the wrong end of defeats seven times. You can see the full list below.
Scotland – Seven defeats to Italy in the Six Nations
Wales – Three defeats
France – Two defeats
Ireland – One defeat
What is the Wooden Spoon in Six Nations?
We know all about the Triple Crown and the Grand Slam, but the one title no team ever wants to win is the dreaded Six Nations Wooden Spoon. Thankfully there is no presentation ceremony for the award which is given to the team who finish bottom of the pile. Since Italy bumped the tournament up to six teams, here are the number of times that each side has ended March with the kitchen utensil.
Italy – 17
Scotland – 4
Wales – 1
France – 1
England & Ireland – 0
The last time Ireland took the Wooden Spoon was in 1998, with England doing so in 1987.
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