What will happen in the Six Nations 2022?
Six Nations fixtures analysis
We are set for a bumper year of sport in 2022 and the action starts early with several big international tournaments.
One of the first to take place is the Six Nations Championship, an annual competition between the four ‘home nations’ – England, Ireland, Scotland and Wales – plus France and Italy, that has been contested in its current form since 2000.
When is the Six Nations 2022?
The Six Nations takes place over five separate weekends across a seven-week period starting in early February 2022.
Each of the six participating teams will play the other five once at one of their home stadiums, with the venues alternating every year.
How important is home advantage in the Six Nations?
With each team playing an odd number of Six Nations fixtures each year, some will have fewer home fixtures than others, but how much does this matter?
Home advantage is definitely a factor in rugby union, with 60% of matches in the history of the Six Nations having been won by the home team compared to just under 38% by the away side (the remaining 2% have been draws).
All six competing teams have enjoyed a much better record at home, with England winning over four in every five matches at Twickenham compared to just over half elsewhere.
This is bad news for their hopes of bouncing back from last year’s poor performance as only two of their five Six Nations fixtures in 2022 are on home soil.
Which Six Nations matches will be the closest?
A point in England’s favour is that one of their three away matches is against Italy, who they have beaten in all 22 of their Six Nations encounters to date.
In their 11 away encounters their average margin of victory has been almost 26 points, which is higher than all but two other fixtures scheduled for 2022: Ireland and Wales’ home games against the Italians.
There may be some late drama in this year’s tournament as three of the six matches scheduled for the fourth and fifth rounds have historically been the closest fought.
In the 11 times that Wales have hosted France, the Welsh have scored a total of 222 points and the French just four more with 226.
England’s final match is also against France – albeit in Paris – and these trips have been settled by fewer than two points on average. The same is true of Italy’s home matches against Scotland, with this match representing the Azzurri’s best chance of avoiding a seventh successive wooden spoon in 2022.
Which Six Nations fixtures will see the most points scored?
In terms of raw entertainment, four of Italy’s five matches will be among the highest-scoring based on the average of their 11 previous iterations. Their trips to Ireland and Wales have each seen over 50 points scored on average, unfortunately with almost 40 of those going to their hosts in a typical encounter.
The tightest game of the tournament could well be one of the first, with Scotland’s opening match against England having seen an average of under 29 points scored across its previous 11 occurrences.
Who will win the Six Nations 2022?
Another way in which we can assess each team’s Six Nations schedule this year is by looking at how many times they have won the corresponding fixture in their last five attempts.
England appear to be in a good position having won 19 out of a possible 25 matches over the last five iterations of this schedule. Their trip to France in the fifth round is their only game which hasn’t delivered at least four victories out of the last five attempts.
While France are this year’s favourites in the Six Nations 2022 odds, they have a relatively poor record in their corresponding Six Nations fixtures from recent years.
The French have only won two of their last five home matches against Ireland in the competition, along with two of their last five trips to Scotland and one of their last five to Wales.
Both Ireland and Wales have fared better when faced with the same schedules that await them in 2022, so this could be one of the closest-fought tournaments in the history of the Six Nations.