Following what is best described as a ‘purple patch’ in the history of Italian rugby, in 2000, the ‘Azzurri’, as the national rugby union team is known, joined the Six Nations Championship. Indeed, Italy marked its Six Nations debut with an emphatic 34-20 win over defending champions Scotland at Stadio Flaminio, Rome. However, despite some encouraging performances, Italy has, on the whole, found competing against the top rugby union-playing countries in Europe rather heavy going.
At the time of writing, Italy last won a Six Nations match since beating Scotland 22-19, courtesy of match-winning penalty try, at Murrayfield on February 28, 2015. Indeed, the Azzurri have lost every Six Nations match since, with their latest crushing 50-10 defeat by France, in Rome, extending their losing streak to 28. Unsurprisingly, Italy won the Six Nations’ ‘Wooden Spoon’ in
2016, 2017, 2018, 2019 and 2020 and may be hard pressed to avoid winning it again in 2021.
Recent results are a far cry from the ‘halcyon days’ of 2007, when Italy recorded back-to-back victories over Scotland, away, and Wales, at home, and finished fourth in the Six Nations’ table. So far, in fact, that some observers to question whether or not Italy still deserves a place in the competition at all.