Home Nations

The Home Nations, or Home Countries, refer collectively to England, Scotland, Wales, and Northern Ireland (countries of the United Kingdom), and in certain sports (e.g. rugby football and cricket) include the whole island of Ireland. The term "Home Nations" is used in this second sense partly because Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland have a unified association structure in certain sports, such as the Irish Rugby Football Union and Cricket Ireland. Formerly, the term was applied in general in this same wider sense, such as the period between 1801 and 1922, when the whole island of Ireland was part of the United Kingdom. The synonymous "Home Countries" (not to be confused with the "home counties") is also sometimes used.[1]

The term has yet a third meaning in the context of British Cycling, where it refers collectively to the seven teams representing the four constituent countries of the United Kingdom plus the three Crown Dependencies (the Isle of Man, Jersey and Guernsey) that participate in the Commonwealth Games.[1] The Crown Dependencies are not part of the United Kingdom, but are politically associated with it, and together make up the British Islands.[2]

Home Nations of the United Kingdom
Note: The Ulster Banner has had no official status since 1973, though it is sometimes used to represent the flag of Northern Ireland in sporting events.

Association football

In association football, the Home Nations originally referred to the then four national teams of the United Kingdom: England, Ireland, Scotland and Wales.[3] Today, the term refers to the teams of England, Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales – the teams that contested the British Home Championship until 1984[4] – although references to the Home Nations sometimes include the Republic of Ireland team.[5]

A debate took place among the football associations that govern the sport in England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland, over whether they would allow their members to participate in the 2012 Summer Olympics as a single UK team. The English Football Association (the only association in favour of participation), and the news media used the term Home Nations to describe the parties to the debate.[6][7] In the event, a team consisting only of English and Welsh players took part (with the Football Association of Wales still opposed, but not placing sanctions on those Welsh players who chose to play).[8]

A new arrangement was found solely for the women's tournament at the 2020 games; should the England side qualify via their placement at the 2019 World Cup, that slot will go to a Team GB assembled by the Home Nations' associations. [9]

Rugby union

In 1883, the first Home Nations Championship was played between England, Ireland, Scotland and Wales. At this point in its history, the competition contained only teams from the UK. In 1910, France officially joined the competition and it was renamed the Five Nations Championship. Despite the partition of Ireland and the secession of the Republic of Ireland from the United Kingdom, the island of Ireland still fields a single sports team and is referred to as a Home Nation in the context of rugby union.[10] When France was expelled from the international championship in 1932, the tournament reverted to being known simply as the Home Nations tournament until the readmission of France immediately after the 1939 tournament, just before World War II caused its suspension until 1947. Since the admission of Italy in 2000, the tournament has been known by its current name, the Six Nations Championship.

Victories by any Home Nation over all of the other three Home Nations in one Championship season is a Triple Crown.[11] The Home Nations also contribute players to a unified team known as the British and Irish Lions. Southern Hemisphere teams who beat all four home nations in one tour are said to have a Grand Slam Tour.[12]

Rugby league

The Amateur Four Nations competition in rugby league, run annually from 2002 to 2007 for the A sides of Wales, England, Scotland and Ireland, was also referred to as the "home nations championship".

See also


  1. ^ a b "historic rivalries between the home nations and the Commonwealth were once again centre stage with the Home Countries having great success" Archived 6 December 2006 at the Wayback Machine, British Cycling, March 2006
  2. ^ "Key facts about the United Kingdom". Government, citizens and rights. Directgov. Archived from the original on 15 November 2008. Retrieved 26 June 2008. The full title of this country is 'the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland'. 'The UK' is made up of England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland. 'Great Britain' does not include Northern Ireland. The Channel Islands and the Isle of Man are not part of the UK.
  3. ^ Scott, Les (2008). End to End Stuff: The Essential Football Book. London: Random House. p. 446. ISBN 978-0-59306-068-1. Retrieved 25 April 2013.
  4. ^ Nauright, John; Parrish, Charles, eds. (2012). Sports Around the World: History, Culture, and Practice. Oxford, England: ABC-CLIO. p. 20. ISBN 978-1-59884-300-2. Retrieved 25 April 2013.
  5. ^ "Football For All U 18 schools to defend Championship title". Football Association of Ireland. 5 April 2010. Retrieved 25 April 2013.
  6. ^ "Possible Team GB?". official website of the English FA. Archived from the original on 30 April 2011. Retrieved 16 November 2010. Ideally we would like to work with the other Home Nations but even if they decide not to take part our commitment is unchanged.
  7. ^ "London 2012: Hugh Robertson puts Home Nations football team on agenda". The Daily Telegraph. 16 November 2010.
  8. ^ BBC staff (5 July 2012). "London 2012: No Wales sanction for Olympic four". BBC.
  9. ^ "Tokyo 2020 Olympics: Home nations agree to GB women's football team". BBC News. 1 October 2018. Retrieved 2 October 2018.
  10. ^ Mathew Brown; Patrick Guthrie; Greg Growden (2010), Rugby for Dummies, New Jersey: John Wiley & Sons, ISBN 9780470677087, Home Nations: England, Ireland, Scotland Wales [appears in glossary]
  11. ^ "Official RBS 6 Nations Rugby : History". IRB. Archived from the original on 11 May 2008. Retrieved 12 October 2010. Victory by any Home Nation over the other three Home Nations is a 'Triple Crown'.
  12. ^ Mortimer, James (5 April 2010). "A look at the All Blacks touring Grand Slams". allblacks.com, the official website of the All Blacks and NZ Rugby. Retrieved 14 February 2011.
1871 Scotland versus England rugby union match

The rugby union match played between Scotland and England on 27 March 1871 was the world's very first international football match. The match was played at Raeburn Place, Edinburgh in front of 4,000 spectators. Scotland won the match, scoring two tries and a goal to England's single try.

1883 Home Nations Championship

The 1883 Home Nations Championship was the inaugural series of the rugby union Home Nations Championship. Five matches were played between 16 December 1882 and 3 March 1883. It was contested by England, Ireland, Scotland, and Wales.

England were the inaugural winners, and in beating the other three nations became the first winners of the Triple Crown although the phrase was not in use at the time (actually not before 1894).

1886 Home Nations Championship

The 1886 Home Nations Championship was the fourth series of the rugby union Home Nations Championship. Five matches were played between 2 January and 13 March 1886. It was contested by England, Ireland, Scotland, and Wales. The 1886 Championship was shared by England and Scotland who both won two matches each.

1890 Home Nations Championship

The 1890 Home Nations Championship was the eighth series of the rugby union Home Nations Championship. Six matches were played between 1 February and 15 March. It was contested by England, Ireland, Scotland and Wales.

1891 Home Nations Championship

The 1891 Home Nations Championship was the ninth series of the rugby union Home Nations Championship. Six matches were played between 3 January and 7 March. It was contested by England, Ireland, Scotland and Wales.

The 1891 Championship was won by Scotland, the fourth time the country had topped the table, but the first time Scotland had taken the Triple Crown title.

Rule changes this year, included the introduction of penalty goals, as although penalty kicks were introduced in 1882 no goal attempts could be made from one until this season. The two umpires were renamed as touch-judges and their powers were reduced to mark the spot where the ball left the field of play; a status that remained until additional powers were reinstated in 1982. Players could now pick up a dead ball, and the dead ball line was set at a maximum of 25 yards.

1934 Home Nations Championship

The 1934 Home Nations Championship was the thirtieth series of the rugby union Home Nations Championship. Including the previous incarnations as the Five Nations, and prior to that, the Home Nations, this was the forty-seventh series of the northern hemisphere rugby union championship. Six matches were played between 20 January and 17 March. It was contested by England, Ireland, Scotland and Wales. It was the first time since the 1913 competition that the table finished without any team tying for places.

British Home Championship

The British Home Championship (historically known as the British International Championship or simply the International Championship) was an annual football competition contested between the United Kingdom's four national teams: England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland (the last of whom competed as Ireland for most of the competition's history). Starting during the 1883–84 season, it is the oldest international association football tournament and it was contested until the 1983–84 season, when it was abolished after 100 years.

English Open (snooker)

The English Open is a professional ranking snooker tournament.

FIFA eligibility rules

As the governing body of association football, FIFA is responsible for maintaining and implementing the rules that determine whether an association football player is eligible to represent a particular country in officially recognised international competitions and friendly matches. In the 20th century, FIFA allowed a player to represent any national team, as long as the player held citizenship of that country. In 2004, in reaction to the growing trend towards naturalisation of foreign players in some countries, FIFA implemented a significant new ruling that requires a player to demonstrate a "clear connection" to any country they wish to represent. FIFA has used its authority to overturn results of competitive international matches that feature ineligible players.

Great Britain Olympic football team

The Great Britain Olympic football team is the men's football team that represents the United Kingdom (Great Britain and Northern Ireland) at the Summer Olympic Games (where it competes as Great Britain, currently branded Team GB). The team is organised by the English Football Association (FA) as the footballing representative of the British Olympic Association. The team only competes in the Olympic Games. In other international football tournaments, the Home Nations of the United Kingdom (England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland) are represented by their own national teams, a situation which pre-dated the establishment of a GB team.

The team first competed at the FA organised tournament for the 1908 Olympics held in London, which was the first games that featured representative teams using players selected nationally (prior games in 1900 and 1904 used club teams). This team and the two that followed in 1912 and 1920 featured only English amateur players, and is seen by some as merely an extension of the English amateur team, set up in 1906 in response to the rise of the professional game. In this period the team won the gold medal at the 1908 and 1912 tournaments, although exited at Round 1 in 1920. A dispute between the FA and FIFA over the inclusion of professionals saw the FA withdraw from Olympic football in 1924 and 1928, and saw no football at the Olympics at all in 1932.After the creation of the FIFA World Cup, it was agreed that Olympic football would become exclusively amateur, leading to the team competing again in the 1936 Games, this time incorporating players from other Home Nations. After the break caused by World War II, the team then competed in every games from 1948 until 1972, albeit failing to qualify for the main tournament after 1960. In this period the team's best performance was fourth place in 1948 at the second Games hosted in London, under manager Matt Busby.After the FA abolished the distinction between amateur and professional players in 1974, it stopped entering a team. By the 1992 Games teams could use professionals, but were restricted to players under 23 years old, with only three over-age players allowed per squad. Despite this change, Great Britain did not enter a football team again until London won the right to host the 2012 Games. The FA organised the team, with Stuart Pearce appointed manager. A Great Britain women's team also competed at the 2012 Games.

History of rugby union matches between England and Ireland

England and Ireland have played rugby union internationals since 1875, with England winning the first match at The Oval, London by two goals to nil. (A points scoring system was not used in rugby at the time.) The two teams have played a total of 134 Test matches; with England winning 77 of them, Ireland 49 and 8 resulting in a draw.Apart from their annual match, currently part of the Six Nations Championship, the teams have also met in two warm-up matches prior to the 2011 and 2015 World Cups, and a one-off match in April 1988 to celebrate the millennium of the city of Dublin. The winners of the 1988 match, England, were awarded the Millennium Trophy which then became the trophy for the annual match between the teams.

The Millennium Trophy is currently held by England, who won the most recent match 32–20 at the Aviva Stadium in Dublin during the 2019 Six Nations Championship.

History of rugby union matches between England and Scotland

England and Scotland have been playing each other at rugby union since 1871 when Scotland beat England in the first ever rugby union international. A total of 136 matches have been played, with England having won 75 times, Scotland 43 times and nineteen matches have been drawn.

Apart from fixtures played in the Home Nations / Five Nations / Six Nations Championship competitions, two games have been played at the Rugby World Cup in 1991 and 2011, in both of which England were victorious. The sides also met in 1971 in a match to commemorate the centenary of the first match between the sides, with Scotland winning.

The 1938 Calcutta Cup match was the first live televised rugby international. It was broadcast by BBC Television.

History of rugby union matches between England and Wales

England and Wales have played each other at rugby union since 1881. A total of 133 matches have been played, with England having won 63 times, Wales having won 59 times and 12 matches having been drawn. There is a considerable rivalry between the sides due to the proximity of the two nations and the history between them.

History of rugby union matches between Ireland and Scotland

Ireland and Scotland have played each other at rugby union in 135 matches, with Scotland winning 67 times, Ireland winning 63 times and five matches drawn. Since 1989, the teams have competed for the Centenary Quaich during the Six Nations Championship.

History of rugby union matches between Ireland and Wales

Ireland and Wales have played each other at rugby union since 1882. A total of 127 matches have been played, with Wales winning 69 matches, Ireland winning 51 matches and seven matches drawn.

History of rugby union matches between Scotland and Wales

Scotland and Wales have played each other at rugby union since 1883. A total of 125 matches have been played, with Wales winning 73 matches, Scotland winning 49 matches and three matches drawn.Scotland and Wales play each other at least once a year, as both have been in the Six Nations Championship, and its predecessor competitions.

Since 2018 the winners of a Scotland and Wales match will receive the Doddie Weir Cup.

Six Nations Championship

The Six Nations Championship (known as the Guinness Six Nations for sponsorship reasons) is an annual international rugby union competition between the teams of England, France, Ireland, Italy, Scotland, and Wales. The current champions are Wales, who won the 2019 tournament.

The Six Nations is the successor to the Home Nations Championship (1883–1909 and 1932–39), played between teams from England, Ireland, Scotland, and Wales, which was the first international rugby union tournament. With the addition of France, this became the Five Nations Championship (1910–31 and 1947–99), which in turn became the Six Nations Championship with the addition of Italy.

Wales hold the overall record, with 39 victories (27 outright and 12 shared) to England's 38 (10 shared victories), while England hold the record for outright wins with 28. Since the Six Nations era started in 2000, only Italy and Scotland have failed to win the Six Nations title, although Scotland were the last winners of the Five Nations.

Triple Crown (rugby union)

In rugby union, the Triple Crown is an honour contested annually by the "Home Nations" – i.e. England, Ireland, Scotland, and Wales who compete within the larger Six Nations Championship. If any one of these teams defeats all three other teams, they win the Triple Crown.

The Six Nations Championship also includes France and Italy, but their involvement in the tournament has no influence on the result of the Triple Crown, although it means that the winners of the Triple Crown are not necessarily the winners of the Championship as a whole.

England won the first Triple Crown – although the phrase was not in use at the time – in the inaugural 1883 series of the original rugby union Home Nations Championship. The latest winners are Wales, who won by beating Ireland at the Princapality Stadium on 16 March, having already beaten Scotland and England in the 2019 Six Nations Championship.

Traditionally the Triple Crown was an informal honour with no trophy associated with it. However a trophy now exists, which has been awarded to Triple Crown winners since 2006.

Women's Six Nations Championship

The Women's Six Nations Championship is an international rugby union competition contested between six European women's national teams. The competition began as a "Home International Championship" for the four home nations in 1996.

In 1999 and 2000 France and Spain joined the competition to create the Five/Six Nations championship.

In 2006, a championship trophy was commissioned from silversmith Thomas Lyte, to be followed by a second trophy commissioned for the Under 20 Six Nations championship. Designed and created by Thomas Lyte, the trophies are made from sterling silver and feature engraving detail with the logos of the competing countries.In 2007, the Six Nations committee formally adopted for Italy to replace Spain as the sixth national team member in the championship, in parallel with the men's competition.


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