Can Six Nations success be converted into World Cup glory?
SPOTLIGHT: @rugby365com‘s acclaimed writer Paul Dobson looks at how Six Nations winners fared in the World Cup the years that they won their titles.
The Six Nations started in 2000. Since then there have been four World Cups – in 2003, 2007, 2011 and 2015, and this year there will be a fifth.
We are looking to see how Six Nations sides did in each of these four World Cups, as we wonder about this year’s Six Nations and then the World Cup in Japan.
A summary of performances in Six Nations and then in World Cup by Six Nations countries produces the following order:
Six Nations: 1 England, 2 France, 3 Ireland, 4 Wales, 5 Italy, 6 Scotland
World Cup: 1. England, 2. France, 3. Wales, 4. Ireland & Scotland, 6. Italy
Top Performing Countries in World Cup (2003-15): 1 New Zealand, 2 Australia, 3 England, 4 South Africa, 5 France, 6 Argentina, 7 Wales
Six Nations Winners
In 2003, England won the Six Nations with a Grand Slam.
In 2007, France won the Six Nations.
In 2011, England won the Six Nations.
In 2015, Ireland won the Six Nations.
In 2018, Ireland won the Six Nations.
Only once did the Six Nations winner win the World Cup – England in 2003. On the other occasions, the winner was from the Southern Hemisphere – South Africa and then New Zealand twice.
In the Six Nations, England beat France, Wales, Italy, Scotland and Ireland.
Six Nations Log 2003
World Cup Results
The World Cup was played in Australia with the 20 teams divided into four pools.
After the pool matches, the eight quarterfinalists were Australia, England, France, Ireland, New Zealand, Scotland, South Africa and Wales.
Only Italy of the Six Nations teams did not make the quarterfinals. They beat Tonga and Canada and lost to New Zealand and Wales who beat them 27-15 after Italy had beaten Wales 30-22 in the Six Nations.
Of the Six Nations teams, England and France went through to the semifinals after England had knocked out Wales, Australia beat Scotland and France had knocked out Ireland. In the Six Nations Ireland had beaten France 15-12. At the World Cup France won 43-21.
In the semifinal England beat France 24-7 (more comfortably than in the Six Nations) and Australia beat New Zealand 22-10.
In the third place play-off, New Zealand thumped France.
In the final, between Australia and England, played in Sydney, Jonny Wilkinson kicked a dropped goal to win it for England at 20-17.
It was a great year for England.
World Cup Log 2003
3. New Zealand
The World Cup was played in France in this year.
France won the Six Nations, beating Ireland on points’ difference – 69 to 65. There was not much in it. France had beaten Ireland – at Croke Park – but England beat France.
Six Nations Log 2007
World Cup 2007
Again there were 20 teams divided into four pools.
The Six Nations countries that got through to the quarterfinals were England, France, and Scotland, joined by Argentina, Australia, Fiji, New Zealand and South Africa. Italy, again, Ireland, and Wales did not make it.
England and France, South Africa and Argentina got through to the semifinal after England had beaten Australia 12-10 and France had beaten New Zealand 20-18 to loud Kiwi protest.
In the semifinals, England beat France 14-9 and South Africa beat Argentina 37-13
In the third-place play-off, Argentina beat France 34-10 at Parc des Princes.
In the tryless final South Africa beat England 15-6.
World Cup Log 2007
1. South Africa
Six Nations 2011
England won the Six Nations. Ireland beat England 24-8 to deprive England of a Grand Slam. France and Wales beat Ireland.
Six Nations Log 2011
Italy were last but they beat France who played in the World Cup Final later in the year.
World Cup 2011
It was back to New Zealand, again with 20 teams in four pools.
At the end of the pool matches, England, France, Ireland and Wales reached the quarterfinals with Argentina, Australia, New Zealand and South Africa.
Wales beat Ireland, France beat England, Australia beat South Africa to howls of anger on the Highveld and New Zealand beat Argentina.
France then embarked on two desperately close matches. In the semifinal they beat Wales 9-8 to go on to the final. In the other semifinal. New Zealand beat Australia 20-6.
Australia won the third-place play-off, beating Wales 21-18
The final was another one-point game as New Zealand beat France 8-7 in Auckland.
World Cup Log
1. New Zealand
Six Nations Log 2015
Ireland had a better points’ difference (63) than England (57) and Wales (53) – not much in it.
Wales beat Ireland, and Ireland beat England who beat Wales.
World Cup 2015
Then came the World Cup in England. England, the only Six Nations country to win the World Cup, became the first host country not to make the quarterfinals.
There were again 20 teams taking part. In their Pool matches, England lost to Wales and Australia, beating Fiji and Ururguay.
There were four Six Nations countries in the quarterfinals, all four knocked out. The countries in the quarterfinals were Wales, France, Ireland and Scotland, South Africa, New Zealand, Argentina and Australia. Scotland and Wales performed best. Scotland lost 35-34 to Australia, the eventual finalists, and Wales lost 23-19 to South Africa. New Zealand thumped France 62-13, and Argentina beat Ireland, the Six Nations champions, 43-20.
Australia and New Zealand won their semifinals, and New Zealand won the final – their third World Cup win – 34-17. South Africa beat Argentina to take third place.
World Cup Log 2015
1. New Zealand
3. South Africa
Six Nations Performances in the Four World Cup Years
England: 1st, 3rd, 1st, 2nd
France: 3rd, 1st, 2nd, 4th
Ireland: 2nd, 2nd, 3rd, 1st
Italy: 5th, 4th, 6th, 5th
Scotland: 4th, 6th, 5th, 6th
Wales: 6th, 5th, 4th, 3rd
Six Nations Points in World Cup Years
We could give points – 6 for 1st to 1 for 6th.
England: 6 + 4 + 6 + 5 = 21
France: 4 + 6 + 5 + 3 = 18
Ireland: 5 + 5 + 4 + 1 = 15
Italy: 2 + 3 + 1 + 2 = 8
Scotland: 3 + 1 + 2 + 1 = 7
Wales: 1 + 2 + 3 + 4 = 10
Six Nations Log
Six Nations’ Points in the Four World Cups
We could give concocted points:
England: 6 + 5 + 3 + 1 = 15
France: 4 + 3 + 5 + 2 = 14
Ireland: 2 + 1 + 2 + 2 = 7
Italy: 1 + 1 + 1 + 1 += 4
Scotland: 2 + 2 + 1 + 2 = 7
Wales: 2 + 1 + 3 + 2 = 8
4. Ireland & Scotland
And then we add the southern boys.
1 New Zealand
4 South Africa
By Paul Dobson