Who Will Win the Rugby Union Six Nations Championship?
Every new year, the rugby union world holds its breath as it anticipates a hotly-contested six-way battle between some of the Northern Hemisphere’s top sides. 2024 is no different and the latest edition of the Guinness Six Nations is sure to be another full of drama and intrigue as we look forward to a championship unlike any other in top-level international sport. So, who will take home the various trophies available and who are the early favorites to top the table come March?
What is the Six Nations Rugby Championship?
Unlike most international sporting competitions that make fans, supporters, and athletes wait years before the next edition, rugby union tends to play things a little differently in Europe. Six of the continent’s best sides, England, Ireland, Scotland, Wales, France, and Italy, are matched up every single year to all play each other once in a league format and crown the region’s top national side.
2024 Six Nations Schedule, Key Dates & Overview
If you’re going to be putting the men’s Six Nations in your calendar, there are a few dates in particular that you will want to watch out for. The whole thing kicks off February 2nd with France taking on holders Ireland in a Friday match up. The final round of games will, as always, take place on the St Patrick’s Day weekend in the middle of March - this year all kicking off on Saturday March 16th. The picks of that final round games look to be Ireland v Scotland and France v England. In between the bookends of the tournament, neutrals and supporters alike will be looking for Scotland v England at Murrayfield on Saturday February 24, the two UK national teams regularly put on a spectacle in their grudge matches.
Where are the Six Nations Matches?
As this is a competition known as the Six Nations, it should come as no surprise to hear that the games will be played across all of the six countries involved. However, as the sides only face each other once, one team in each fixture will have home advantage this year, before it swaps to the opposing team the following year. The eight venues and cities hosting this year’s matches are:
Stadio Olimpico, Rome, Italy
Murrayfield Stadium, Edinburgh, Scotland
Twickenham, London, England
Principality Stadium, Cardiff, Wales
Aviva Stadium, Dublin, Ireland
Stade Pierre Mauroy, Lille, France
Parc OL, Lyon, France
Orange Vélodrome, Marseille, France
Six Nations Picks, Predictions, Tips & Odds
While this is a competition that could arguably be described as open - only Scotland and Italy have yet to be crowned outright champions - it’s also one that tends to have a few tips locked in every year due to the strength of the four previous winners. However, this is a year that looks ready to set up some shocks as three of those nations face a major competition without their most recent talismans in the upcoming games.
Player of the Championship
France’s Antoine Dupont would have been top of most people’s lists to claim a third Player of the Championship award in a row this year. He jointly holds the record with Brian O’Driscoll with three, so could have set himself apart. On top of that, Ireland legend Johnny Sexton has retired and Owen Farrell, the leading try scorer at the most recent Rugby World Cup, has ruled himself out for England. As such, this leaves the market wide open for less-favored stars or even uncapped players to announce themselves as legends for their nations. As it stands, it’s another member of the French team who looks ready to claim this title, with Grégory Alldritt a slight favorite at 6.00.
No one wants to be taking home the award for being the championship’s wooden spoons. As a clear indicator of being the weakest of a small pack, it indicates poor health for rugby fans of any nation. Ireland is the outright leader with 25 last-place finishes. However, the Italian team has been making up ground since it was added to the expanded competition and is the current incumbent holder. It would be a brave punter to bet against the team from the Mediterranean taking their place at the foot of the table once again and they stand out as the side struggling for strength this year.
While the fans from each nation will be looking for their side to clinch the championship and perhaps even the Grand Slam, having won all of their fixtures, individual rivalries are often even more important. In particular, the oldest rivalry in the game, the Calcutta Cup between Scotland and England will be a big one to keep an eye on. Despite England going further than perhaps expected in the most recent Rugby Union World Cup, narrowly bowing out at the semi-final stage to the eventual winners South Africa, many perceive this as a team in transition. They may still be seen as a better team than Scotland but this year’s match-up could be a good way to get value out of individual fixtures and those north of the border may be dark horses to win.
Who Will Win the 2024 Six Nations?
It’s the question on everybody’s lips - who will come out as the victors? It’s no surprise that the current favorites are hard to separate. With Steve Borthwick’s England seen as little more than outside chances, France and Ireland are the two teams that most would see as being the most likely to claim the title, and there’s very little between each. So why might each of these sides stand a chance?
France (Odds: 2.10)
The French side have been made narrow favorites to win the tournament outright before a rugby ball has even been thrown. They’re a strong side and with Alldritt their - and the competition’s - star man, look to have a fighting chance. A quarter-final stage 29-28 loss to tournament victors South Africa in the World Cup was disappointing but showed that the quality is there.
Ireland (Odds: 2.50)
At the start of every February, Ireland Six Nations hopes are always high. In recent years, they’ve established themselves as a powerhouse of international rugby. They also suffered a slightly disappointing World Cup campaign and fell to beaten finalists New Zealand in the quarters but will have taken great encouragement from beating South Africa in the pool stages. Expect to see Andy Farrell’s side take the game to the opposition and look to impose themselves.
Types of Bets & How to Bet on Rugby
In all the best sports, there are a number of markets for bettors to take advantage of and ways for them to get value from their picks. Rugby really is no different. As such, there are a few different kinds of bets that you should know about if you’re looking to build a betting strategy for the 2024 Six Nations Championship. So how should you bet on rugby?
Put simply, a moneyline bet is one on the outcome of an individual match, rather than an outright bet on an overall competition outcome. In rugby, this will be on either side to win or for there to be a draw. Each outcome will be denoted by odds showing the most likely - shorter odds - and the least likely - longer odds.
Prop, or proposition, betting is a kind of stake on an element of the game that is not directly tied to the outcome of a fixture. Top try scorer for the competition or first try scorer for an individual match are popular choices. For example, England’s Jamie George might take your fancy to get a decent number over the line, so betting on him means that as long as he performs well in the scoring charts, no matter if England loses all of its games, you could win your bet.
It’s perhaps been one of the greatest developments in online rugby betting in recent years. Live betting allows you to take stock of a fixture while it’s underway, seeing how each player is performing and the different phases of the game unfolding and using this to inform how you place your stakes. If a favorite goes a try down early into a game, it might lengthen their odds, even if it’s likely that they will overturn the deficit. This allows you to get greater value from your bets.
How to Watch Free Live Streams of the Six Nations
It’s bound to be an exciting month or so of rugby union as the best sides do battle to be this year’s top team. If you’re looking to follow the action and see as the drama unfolds, Stake.com is home to Six Nations live streaming and you can watch it right here.
You just need to make a Stake account, find your way to the live streaming section, and select the games you want to watch. With some big matches to be played and your rugby Six Nations picks to be on top of, you’ll not be short of entertainment.
Bet on Rugby With the Best Odds on Stake Sportsbook
The beauty of this tournament is that it is something of a curtain opener on that year’s rugby. Because of that, uncertainty is king and even the big young names like Ollie Lawrence and Alex Dombrandt will be fighting for their places in an attempt to impress. All this serves to dish up an unpredictable tournament and the rugby betting odds will reflect that.