There are suggestions this week that in 2025, the Six Nations will revert to the days when all three games took place on the Saturday, albeit that now they will be staggered across the day so that they can all be televised.

That would be a nice development for next season which will, of course, be the 25th anniversary of Italy’s arrival in the competition as the Five Nations was expanded to a six team tournament.

Rugby World ushered in that new era with a special collector’s edition of the magazine in March 2000, focusing on the new competition in forensic detail, with a particular focus on the new boys, Italy.

Part of the preview was an extensive interview with England skipper Martin Johnson, looking to lead his country to a first Grand Slam in five years. He was a big supporter of the competition. “The great thing about the Six Nations is that the challenges that you face change from year to year. Playing Wales at Twickenham and Scotland in Edinburgh are totally different. The series is almost like a set of one-off Test matches.”

Mick Cleary was bullish about the arrival of Italy in his column: “Don’t listen to those minnies moaning that Italy’s arrival will diminish the tournament. Take no notice of those that say they have been admitted too soon. Wong. They have been admitted too late…Rugby needs a bigger competitive base for its own good too.”

You can revel in those early days of the Six Nations by reading rugby World’s coverage here.

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