By Maria John: The Six Nations remains one of rugby union’s most iconic events. The coming together of Europe’s best rugby union sides is marked by the renewal of ancient rivalries. It’s also distinguished by its own particular brand of camaraderie.
There is no wonder that the Six Nations Championship enjoys a unique status, not just in rugby union, but also in sport generally. Even people with no real inbuilt affection for or interest in the sport will cast their eyes towards a television when the matches are on. The call of national loyalty is always loud when the rugby season passes Christmas and the serious build-up for the tournament begins.
Super Sporting Cities
The championship now features Italy as well as France, to add some Latin fieriness to Celtic spirit and English toughness to the mix. This means that there are some super cities to visit whilst the tournament is taking place. As well as witnessing some great sporting exploits on the field, you can also take in the cultural and social highlights of Rome and Paris. Throw in potential trips to London, Cardiff, Edinburgh and Dublin and it becomes clear that the RBS Six Nations offers the chance to do some serious travelling as well as spectating.
There are some mouth-watering clashes to look forward to in 2013. The RBS Six Nations 2013 tournament features games in the Stadio Olimpico between Wales and Italy. The Welsh will be playing in the new home of Italian rugby union for the first time and Welsh fans will enjoy a city that remains relatively warm and dry in the winter, in comparison to the wilder weather back home.
Welsh fans will also get to enjoy a trip to Paris to see their heroes take on the French. Wales have not enjoyed the best of autumns when it comes to results on the pitch, but their fans can always be relied upon to take their passion for the game wherever they go. They will be looking for the Welsh players to do something that still happens rarely and beat the mighty French on their own patch.
The Welsh complete their away games with a visit to Edinburgh’s Murrayfield stadium to face the Scots, who sacked their coach, Andy Robinson after poor displays in the autumn, notably being beaten by Tonga. However poor their players look, though, it is unwise to rule out the Scots, whose fans possess an intense passion that often carries their team to unlikely wins. Certainly, no team will enjoy visiting Edinburgh.
Another eagerly anticipated clash will be the match between Ireland and England in Dublin. This clash of old enemies is often seen as a way of settling ancient scores with an old enemy by the men in green, but the spirit off the pitch is always welcoming and full of hospitality. Dublin has a special atmosphere of its own, whether you are after great sport or a magical night out.
Rugby union fans must be rubbing their hands with anticipation at the exciting clashes to come. Make sure that you are part of all the excitement and book your place on a package now. Everyone likes to be on the scene when history is made.
Maria John has played rugby league and rugby union at amateur levels and continues to maintain a keen interest in both codes of the game. A regular at Headingley, where he watches both Leeds Rhinos and Leeds Carnegie, she now shares his expertise about the sport and travel with a range of websites and blogs, including http://www.gulliverstravel.co.uk/rugby/rbs-6-nations