Ireland have a chance to lift the Triple Crown and the Grand Slam this weekend.
Andy Farrell’s men are looking for their Six Nations Championship title since 2018 when they host England at the Aviva Stadium in Dublin in the final game of the tournament on Saturday (18 March). Captain Johnny Sexton also has the chance to become the all-time leading point scorer if he adds to his current haul of 557 during the match.
Scotland missed out on the chance to lift the Triple Crown for the first time in 33 years in the previous round. Gregor Townsend’s resurgent side welcomed the world number side to Murrayfield on Sunday 12 March. Victory would have seen them complete a clean sweep of the home nations for the first time since 1990.
However it proved to be too much of a taste test as Andy Farrell’s men kept up their bid to win the Grand Slam. The Irish have already claimed a massive scalp with the comprehensive victory over France at the Aviva Stadium earlier in the competition.
Scotland’s narrow loss to France in Paris in the third round of the competition also knocked them out of contention for a Grand Slam.
But what is the Triple Crown? Here is all you need to know:
What is a Triple Crown in rugby?
The home nations not only compete for a Grand Slam or the Six Nations title but can also claim the coverted Triple Crown. It is a trophy that only England, Wales, Scotland and Ireland can win, Italy and France are not included.
The Triple Crown is won if a side beats all of the home nations during the competition. Ireland are the current holders having completed the sweep in 2022.
The origin of the name remain murky, but its first cited use in the Oxford English Dictionary is from Whitaker's Almanack in 1900 in reference to the 1899 championship - when it was won by Ireland. The Triple Crown first appeared in print in the Irish Times in 1894.
Who can win the Triple Crown in 2023?
Scotland would have been able to lift the Triple Crown on Sunday (12 March) if they had beat Ireland at Murrayfield. Gregor Townsend’s men had already beaten Wales and England in the tournament.
But Ireland’s victory ended their dream of winning the Triple Crown for the first time in the Six Nations era, having last won in 1990.
Ireland are the only side in running for the Triple Crown this year but were not able to lift it on 12 Match. Andy Farrell’s side have now beat Wales and Scotland - with England set to travel to Dublin next year.
England are out of the running having lost to Scotland in the opening round, while Wales have lost to all the home nations already.
Who has won the most Triple Crowns?
A physical trophy was only introduced in 2006 and is in the shape of a shield, but it has been recognised as the Triple Crown for much longer.
England have won the most with 26 in history, while Scotland have the least with just 10 wins. Ireland have had success in recent years but have historically struggled to win the Triple Crown:
- England - 26 Triple Crowns
- Wales - 22 Triple Crowns
- Ireland - 12 Triple Crowns
- Scotland - 10 Triple Crowns
Scotland’s 33 year wait for a Triple Crown is the longest current drought. England, Wales and Ireland have all won it in the 2020s - (2020, 2021 and 2022 respectively).