Six Nations Championship
The Six Nations Championship is an annual international rugby union competition between the teams of England, Ireland, Italy and Wales. The current champions are Wales; the Six Nations is the successor to the Home Nations Championship, played between teams from England, Ireland and Wales, the first international rugby union tournament. With the addition of France, this became the Five Nations Championship, which in turn became the Six Nations Championship with the addition of Italy. Wales hold the overall record, with 39 victories to England's 38, 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; the tournament was first played in 1883 as the Home Nations Championship among the four Home Nations — England, Ireland and Wales. However England was excluded from the 1888 and 1889 tournaments due to their refusal to join the International Rugby Football Board.
The tournament became the Five Nations Championship in 1910 with the addition of France. The tournament was expanded in 2000 to become the Six Nations Championship with the addition of Italy. Following the relative success of the Tier 2 nations in the 2015 Rugby World Cup, there were calls by Octavian Morariu, the president of Rugby Europe, to let Georgia and Romania join the Six Nations due to their consistent success in the European Nations Cup and ability to compete in the Rugby World Cup. Played annually, the format of the Championship is simple: each team plays every other team once, with home ground advantage alternating from one year to the next. Prior to the 2017 tournament, two points were awarded for one for a draw and none for a loss. Unlike many other rugby union competitions the bonus point system had not been used. On 30 November 2016, the Six Nations Committee announced that a bonus point system would be trialled in the 2017 Championship; the system is similar to the one used in most rugby championships, with the only difference being that a Grand Slam winner will be given 3 extra points to ensure they finish top of the table.
Prior to 1994, teams equal on match points shared the championship. Since ties have been broken by considering the points difference of the teams; the rules of the championship further provide that if teams tie on both match points and points difference, the team that scored the most tries wins the championship. Were this decider to be a tie, the tying teams would share the championship. To date, match points and points difference have been sufficient to decide the championship; the team that finishes at the bottom of the league table is said to have "won" the Wooden Spoon, although no actual trophy is given to the team. A team that has lost all five matches is said to have been whitewashed. Since the inaugural Six Nations tournament in 2000, only England and Ireland have avoided the Wooden Spoon award. Italy are the holders of the most Wooden Spoon awards in the Six Nations era with 13, have been whitewashed eight times. However, each of the other five nations has accumulated more than that through competing in previous eras.
The winners of the Six Nations are presented with the Championship Trophy. This was conceived by the Earl of Westmorland, was first presented to the winners of the 1993 championship, France, it is a sterling silver trophy, designed by James Brent-Ward and made by a team of eight silversmiths from the London firm William Comyns. It has 15 side panels representing the 15 members of the team and with three handles to represent the three officials; the cup has a capacity of 3.75 litres – sufficient for five bottles of champagne. Within the mahogany base is a concealed drawer which contains six alternative finials, each a silver replica of one of the team emblems, which can be screwed on the detachable lid. A new trophy was introduced for the 2015 Championship; the new trophy was designed and crafted by Thomas Lyte silversmiths and replaces the 1993 edition, being retired as it represented the nations that took part in the Five Nations Championship. Ireland were the last team to win the old trophy, coincidentally, the first team to win the new one.
A team that wins all its games wins the'Grand Slam'. The Triple Crown may only be won by one of the Home Nations of England, Scotland or Wales, when one nation wins all three of their matches against the others; the Triple Crown dates back to the original Home Nations Championship, but the physical Triple Crown Trophy has been awarded only since 2006, when the Royal Bank of Scotland commissioned Hamilton & Inches to design and create a dedicated Triple Crown Trophy. It has since been won three times by Wales and twice by England. Several individual competitions take place under the umbrella of the tournament; the oldest such regular competition is for the Calcutta Cup, contested annually between England and Scotland since 1879. It is named the Calcutta Cup as it is made from melted-down Indian Rupees donated by the Calcutta Club. Since 1988, the Millennium Trophy has been awarded to the winner of the game between England and Ireland, since 1989 the Centenary Quaich has been awarded to the winner of the game between Ireland and Scotland.
Ireland national rugby union team
The Ireland national rugby union team represents the island of Ireland in rugby union. They are ranked third in the world by World Rugby as of 18 March 2019; the team competes annually in the current Six Nations Championship, which they have won fourteen times outright and shared nine times in its various formats. The team competes every four years in the Rugby World Cup, where they reached the quarter-final stage in all but two competitions. Ireland is one of the four unions that make up the British and Irish Lions – players eligible to play for Ireland are eligible for the Lions; the Ireland national team dates to 1875, when it played its first international match against England. Ireland's highest position in the World Rugby Rankings is second, which they reached for the first time in 2015. Eleven former Ireland players have earned induction into the World Rugby Hall of Fame. Dublin University was the first organised rugby football club in Ireland, having been founded in 1854; the club was organised by students.
During the third quarter of the nineteenth century, following the adoption of a set of official rules in 1868, rugby football began to spread throughout Ireland, resulting in the formation of several other clubs which are still in existence, including NIFC. Carlow. In 1874, the Irish Football Union was formed. Ireland lost their first test match against England 7–0 at the Oval on 15 February 1875. Both teams fielded 20 players in this match. Ireland's first home game was against England in the same year held at Leinster Cricket Club's Observatory Lane ground in Rathmines as Lansdowne Road was deemed unsuitable; the first match at Lansdowne Road was held on 11 March 1878, with England beating Ireland by 2 goals and 1 try to nil. It was not until 1881. Ireland turned up two men short for their game in Cardiff in 1884 and had to borrow two Welsh players; the first victory Ireland had at Lansdowne Road took place on 5 February 1887. It was their first win over England, by two goals to nil. On the third of March 1888, Ireland recorded their first win over Wales with a goal, a try and a drop goal to nil.
In 1894, Ireland followed the Welsh model of using seven backs instead of six for the first time. After victory over England at Blackheath, Ireland won back-to-back matches for the first time when recording their first win over Scotland on 24 February 1894. Ireland went on to win the Triple Crown for the first time. In the 1890s, Rugby was a game for the Protestant middle class, the only Catholic in Edmund Forrest's 1894 team was Tom Crean. Of the eighteen players used in the three games, thirteen were from three Dublin clubs – Wanderers, Dublin University and Bective Rangers – and the remaining five were from Ulster, they went on to win the Home international championship twice more before the old century was out, so that by 1901 all four of the Home Unions had tasted success at a game, growing in popularity with players and spectators. Such was the level of interest in the visit of the first All Blacks team to Dublin in November 1905 that the IRFU made the match the first all-ticket rugby international in history.
Ireland played only seven forwards, copying the New Zealand method of playing a "rover". The game ended New Zealand 15 Ireland 0. On 20 March 1909, Ireland played France for the first time, beating them 19–8; this was Ireland's biggest victory in international rugby at that time, their highest points tally and a record five tries. 30 November 1912 was the first time the Springboks met Ireland at Lansdowne Road, the 1906 tour game having been played at Ravenhill. Ireland with seven new caps were overwhelmed by a record margin of 38–0, still a record loss to South Africa who scored 10 tries. In 1926, Ireland went into their final Five Nations match unbeaten and with the Grand Slam at stake lost to Wales in Swansea. Ireland again came close to a grand slam in 1927. In 1948, Ireland clinched their first Grand Slam in the Five Nations. Ireland were champions and Triple Crown winners again in 1949. In 1951, Ireland were once more crowned Five Nations champions. 1952 saw only Ireland's second overseas tour, the first for over half a century – as they headed to Argentina for a nine-match trip which included two test matches, their Test record being won one, drawn one.
On 27 February 1954, Ireland played Scotland at Ravenhill in Belfast. The 11 Republic-based players protested "God Save the Queen", an abbreviated anthem known as "the Salute" was instead played. Ireland beat Scotland 6–0, did not play in Northern Ireland again until 2007. In 1958, Ireland beat Australia 9–6 in Dublin, the first time a major touring team had been defeated. Ireland managed just three victories in the Five Nations Championship during the early 1960s: against England in 1961, Wales in 1963 and England again in 1964. 1965 saw an improvement as Ireland beat Scotland. On 10 April 1965 at Lansdowne Road Ireland recorded their first win over South Africa. Ireland beat Australia again in Dublin in 1967. Ireland became the first of the home nations to win in the Southern Hemisphere when they beat Australia in Sydney in
Rugby union known in most of the world as rugby, is a contact team sport which originated in England in the first half of the 19th century. One of the two codes of rugby football, it is based on running with the ball in hand. In its most common form, a game is between two teams of 15 players using an oval-shaped ball on a rectangular field with H-shaped goalposts at each end. Rugby union is a popular sport around the world, played by male and female players of all ages. In 2014, there were more than 6 million people playing worldwide, of whom 2.36 million were registered players. World Rugby called the International Rugby Football Board and the International Rugby Board, has been the governing body for rugby union since 1886, has 101 countries as full members and 18 associate members. In 1845, the first football laws were written by Rugby School pupils. An amateur sport, in 1995 restrictions on payments to players were removed, making the game professional at the highest level for the first time.
Rugby union spread from the Home Nations of Great Britain and Ireland and was absorbed by many of the countries associated with the British Empire. Early exponents of the sport included New Zealand, South Africa and France. Countries that have adopted rugby union as their de facto national sport include Fiji, Madagascar, New Zealand and Tonga. International matches have taken place since 1871 when the first game took place between Scotland and England at Raeburn Place in Edinburgh; the Rugby World Cup, first held in 1987, takes place every four years. The Six Nations Championship in Europe and The Rugby Championship in the Southern Hemisphere are other major international competitions, held annually. National club or provincial competitions include the Premiership in England, the Top 14 in France, the Mitre 10 Cup in New Zealand, the National Rugby Championship in Australia, the Currie Cup in South Africa. Other transnational club competitions include the Pro14 in Europe and South Africa, the European Rugby Champions Cup in Europe, Super Rugby, in the Southern Hemisphere and Japan.
The origin of rugby football is reputed to be an incident during a game of English school football at Rugby School in 1823, when William Webb Ellis is said to have picked up the ball and run with it. Although the evidence for the story is doubtful, it was immortalised at the school with a plaque unveiled in 1895. Despite the doubtful evidence, the Rugby World Cup trophy is named after Webb Ellis. Rugby football stems from the form of game played at Rugby School, which former pupils introduced to their university. Old Rugbeian Albert Pell, a student at Cambridge, is credited with having formed the first "football" team. During this early period different schools used different rules, with former pupils from Rugby and Eton attempting to carry their preferred rules through to their universities. A significant event in the early development of rugby football was the production of the first written laws of the game at Rugby School in 1845, followed by the Cambridge Rules drawn up in 1848. Other important events include the Blackheath Club's decision to leave the Football Association in 1863 and the formation of the Rugby Football Union in 1871.
The code was known as "rugby football". Despite the sport's full name of rugby union, it is known as rugby throughout most of the world; the first rugby football international was played on 27 March 1871 between Scotland and England in Edinburgh. Scotland won the game 1-0. By 1881 both Ireland and Wales had representative teams, in 1883 the first international competition, the Home Nations Championship had begun. 1883 is the year of the first rugby sevens tournament, the Melrose Sevens, still held annually. Two important overseas tours took place in 1888: a British Isles team visited Australia and New Zealand—although a private venture, it laid the foundations for future British and Irish Lions tours. During the early history of rugby union, a time before commercial air travel, teams from different continents met; the first two notable tours both took place in 1888—the British Isles team touring New Zealand and Australia, followed by the New Zealand team touring Europe. Traditionally the most prestigious tours were the Southern Hemisphere countries of Australia, New Zealand and South Africa making a tour of a Northern Hemisphere, the return tours made by a joint British and Irish team.
Tours would last for months, due to the number of games undertaken. Touring international sides would play Test matches against international opponents, including national and county sides in the case of Northern Hemisphere rugby, or provincial/state sides in the case of Southern Hemisphere rugby. Between 1905 and 1908, all three major Southern Hemisphere rugby countries sent their first touring teams to the Northern Hemisphere: New Zealand in 1905, followed by South Africa in 1906 and Australia in 1908. All three teams brought new styles of play, fitness levels and tactics, were far more successful than critics had expected; the New Zealand 1905 touri
New Zealand national rugby union team
The New Zealand national rugby union team, called the All Blacks, represents New Zealand in men's rugby union, known as the country's national sport. The team has won the last two Rugby World Cups, in 2011 and 2015 as well as the inaugural tournament in 1987, they have a 77% winning record in test match rugby, are the only international men’s side with a winning record against every opponent. Since their international debut in 1903, they have lost to only six of the 19 nations they have played in test matches. Since the introduction of the World Rugby Rankings in 2003, New Zealand has held the number one ranking longer than all other teams combined; the All Blacks jointly hold the record for the most consecutive test match wins for a tier one ranked nation, along with England. New Zealand competes with Argentina and South Africa in The Rugby Championship; the All Blacks have won the trophy sixteen times in the competition's twenty-three-year history. New Zealand have completed a Grand Slam tour four times – 1978, 2005, 2008 and 2010.
The All Blacks have been named the World Rugby Team of the Year ten times since the award was created in 2001, an All Black has won the World Rugby Player of the Year award ten times over the same period. Fifteen former All Blacks have been inducted into the International Rugby Hall of Fame; the team's first match was in 1884, their first international test match was in 1903 against Australia in Sydney. The following year, they hosted their first home test, a match against a British Isles side in Wellington; this was followed by a 34-game tour of Europe and North America in 1905, where the team suffered only one defeat – their first test loss, against Wales. New Zealand's early uniforms consisted of a black jersey with a silver fern and white knickerbockers. By the 1905 tour, they were wearing all black, except for the silver fern, the name All Blacks dates from this time; the team perform a Māori challenge or posture dance, before each match. The haka has traditionally been Te Rauparaha's Ka Mate, although since 2005 Kapa o Pango has been performed.
Rugby union – universally referred to only as "rugby" in New Zealand – was introduced to New Zealand by Charles Monro in 1870. The first recorded game in New Zealand took place in May 1870 in Nelson between the Nelson club and Nelson College; the first provincial union, the Canterbury Rugby Football Union, was formed in 1879, in 1882 New Zealand's first internationals were played when New South Wales toured the country. NSW did not face a New Zealand representative team but played seven provincial sides – the tourists won four games and lost three. Two years the first New Zealand team to travel overseas toured New South Wales. A organised British team, which became the British and Irish Lions, toured New Zealand in 1888. No test matches were played, the side only played provincial sides; the British players were drawn from Northern England, but there were representatives from Wales and Scotland. In 1892, following the canvassing of provincial administrators by Ernest Hoben, the New Zealand Rugby Football Union was formed by the majority of New Zealand's provincial unions, but did not include Canterbury, Otago or Southland.
The first sanctioned New Zealand side toured New South Wales in 1893, where the Thomas Ellison captained team won nine of their ten matches. The following year New Zealand played its first home "international" game, losing 8–6 to New South Wales; the team's first true test match occurred against Australia on 15 August 1903 at the Sydney Cricket Ground in front of over 30,000 spectators, resulted in a 22–3 victory. A representative New Zealand team first toured the British Isles in 1905; the side is now known as the "Originals", as the "All Blacks" name emerged during this tour when, according to team member Billy Wallace, a London newspaper reported that the New Zealanders played as if they were "all backs". Wallace claimed that because of a typographical error, subsequent references were to "All Blacks"; this account is most a myth – because of their black playing strip, the side was referred to as the Blacks before they left New Zealand. Though the name All Blacks most existed before the trip, the tour did popularise it.
The Originals played 35 matches on tour, their only loss was a 3–0 defeat to Wales in Cardiff. The match has entered into the folklore of both countries because of a controversy over whether All Black Bob Deans scored a try which would have earned his team a 3–3 draw. In contrast to the success of the Originals on the field, the team did antagonise some in the Home Nations' rugby establishment; this complaint continued to dog New Zealand teams until the 1930s. The success of the Originals had uncomfortable consequences for the amateur NZRFU. In 1907, a party of professional players was assembled to tour the British Isles and play rugby league – a professional offshoot of rugby union, played by clubs that split from England's Rugby Football Union due to disagreements over financial compensation for players; when the "All Golds", as the team came to be known, returned they established rugby league in New Zealand, a large number of players switched to the professional code. English and Welsh authorities were alarmed by the threat of professionalism to rugby in New Zealand, in 1908 an Anglo-Welsh side undertook a tour to New Zealand to help promote the amateu
Triple Crown (rugby union)
In rugby union, the Triple Crown is an honour contested annually by the "Home Nations" – i.e. England, Ireland 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 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 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 16th March, having 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, awarded to Triple Crown winners since 2006.
The origins of the name Triple Crown are uncertain. The concept dates to the original Home Nations Championship, predecessor of the Six Nations Championship, when the competition only involved England, Ireland and Wales. Like the modern Grand Slam, the Triple Crown was an informal honour to a team that won the Championship with straight victories; the first use cited in the Oxford English Dictionary is from Whitaker's Almanack, 1900: "In their last match at Cardiff against Wales, Ireland won by a try to nothing, securing the triple crown with three straight victories as in 1894." The Irish victory in 1894 was reported as a Triple Crown by The Irish Times at the time and is the first time the phrase was seen in print. The phrase Triple Crown is used in a number of other sports; until 2006, no actual trophy was awarded to the winner of the Triple Crown, hence it was sometimes referred to as the "invisible cup". Dave Merrington, a retired miner from South Hetton, County Durham, fashioned an aspiring trophy in 1975 from a lump of coal hewn from the Haig Colliery in Cumbria.
This has a crown sitting on a four-sided base on which are represented a rose, a shamrock, a thistle and the Prince of Wales feathers. It is kept in the Museum of Rugby at Twickenham. For the 2006 Six Nations, Barry Hooper, Head of External Communications at the Royal Bank of Scotland commissioned Edinburgh and London based Hamilton & Inches to design and create a dedicated Triple Crown Trophy; this has been awarded to Triple Crown winning sides since 2006. It has been won three times by Wales and twice by England. There has been a Triple Crown winner in 66 of the 122 competitions held from 1883 through to 2018. Only two teams have achieved the Triple Crown in four consecutive years: England. No other teams have won the triple crown more than twice in a row. Unlike the Grand Slam, the Triple Crown winners are not the tournament winners, since France or Italy – or another of the home nations – could outperform them within the Championship as a whole. To date, the Triple Crown winners who failed to win the Championship are Wales in 1977, England in 1997, 1998, 2002 and 2014, Ireland in 2004, 2006 and 2007.
The champions were France on each occasion, apart from 2014 when Ireland were champions, the first instance of a team winning the Triple Crown but losing the overall title to another team eligible for it. Triple Crown winners who succeeded only in sharing the Championship were England in 1954 and 1960, Wales in 1988; the following table shows the number of Triple Crown wins by each country, the years in which they were achieved. The following table shows Triple Crown winners chronologically. Calcutta Cup England national rugby union team Grand Slam Ireland national rugby union team Millennium Trophy Pacific Tri-Nations Rugby union trophies and awards Scotland national rugby union team Six Nations Championship Six Nations Wooden Spoon Tri Nations Wales national rugby union team "Triple Crown becomes tangiable", RugbyRugby.com, 25 January 2006 Official Six Nations Site Link to image of Triple Crown Trophy Hamilton & Inches silver craftsmen create a Triple Crown Trophy
1912–13 South Africa rugby union tour of Europe
The 1912–13 South Africa rugby union tour of Europe was a collection of friendly rugby union games undertaken by the South Africa side against England, Ireland and France. The tour took in several matches against British and Irish club and invitational teams; this was the second South African tour of the Northern Hemisphere, after the successful 1906 tour. Although not managing to win all the matches on the tour, the Springboks won all five test matches against international opposition. Billy Millar was the tour captain though he was the last person chosen for the tour and was not the selectors' choice of captain, but they were over-ruled by the South African Rugby Board. Millar did have the advantage of being one of the few players to have toured Britain in the previous test, but was seen by the hosts as a fiery character and was not as popular with the players or fans as the 1906's tour captain, Paul Roos; the other two members of the squad to have played in the 1906 tour were vice-captain Fred'Uncle' Dobbin and Doug Morkel.
In the touring party were two sets of brothers. Complete list of matches played by the Springboks in Europe: Test matches Billot, John. Springboks in Wales. Ferndale, Glamorgan: Ron Jones Publications
Italy national rugby union team
The Italy national rugby union team competes annually in the Six Nations Championship against the other top rugby teams in Europe. The team is known as the Azzurri. Italy has been playing international rugby since 1929, for decades were considered one of the best European teams outside the Five Nations Championship. Since 2000, Italy competes annually in the Six Nations Championship with England, Ireland and Wales, they were the holders of the Giuseppe Garibaldi Trophy for 2013, played annually against France. Italy is ranked 15th in the world by the IRB as of 22 April 2016. Italian rugby came to prominence in 2000 when it was added to the Five Nations, creating the Six Nations. On the end of some heavy defeats, the side has grown in competitiveness, recording a fourth-place finish in 2007 and 2013, in defeat, lop-sided losses are less frequent; the Azzurri have shown respectable results when playing at home in recent years: during the 2011 Six Nations, the side defeated France 22–21, in the 2013 Six Nations, Italy won again at home against France, defeated Ireland 22–15.
Italy have competed at every Rugby World Cup since the first tournament in 1987, where it played the inaugural game against New Zealand, but have yet to progress beyond the first round. The team has developed a reputation for being a consistent middle player at the tournament. Italy's showings since the inception of a new group stage formula in 2003 have followed a pattern where they managed two wins and two losses; the current head coach is Conor O'Shea. Number eight Sergio Parisse is their current captain; the first match played by an Italian XV was in 1911 between US Voiron of France. On 25 July of the same year the "Propaganda Committee" was formed which in 1928 became the Federazione Italiana Rugby. In May 1929, Italy played their first international losing 9–0 against Spain in Barcelona. In 1934, Italy was one of the founder members of today's Rugby Europe. World War II meant an hiatus for Italian rugby union. Post-war, there was a desire to return to normal and Italian rugby union entered a new dimension thanks to the help of Allied troops in Italy.
In the 1970s and 1980s rugby union made enormous progress thanks to great foreign players and coaches in the Italian championship. Foreign coaches were and continue to be chosen for the national team, like Bertrande Fourcade and Georges Coste. In 1973, the national team went on a tour of South Africa, coached by ex-Springbok prop Amos Du Plooey. Tours of England and Scotland followed, as well as games against Australia and New Zealand, the masters of their day. In 1978, Italy first played Argentina at Rovigo, winning 19–6. Since the mid 1980s, the Italian national side had been pursuing the ambition of playing in an expanded Five Nations Championship. Winning against nations that now play in the European Nations Cup, good results against the major nations such as France, Scotland and Ireland meant that they were talked as strong candidates. In 1986, Italy hosted an England XV squad in Rome, drawing 15–15; the Azzurri took part in the first-ever Rugby World Cup match against New Zealand on 22 May 1987.
The match proved a one-sided affair with New Zealand convincing 70–6 winners against a young Italian side. John Kirwan to become the Italian national coach, scored one of the tournament's greatest-ever tries for the All Blacks. Italy beat Fiji but finished third in their pool, failing to make the finals. In 1988, they played Ireland for the first time. At the 1991 World Cup, Italy were grouped in a tough pool with the likes of England and the All Blacks, they lost both of these games but beat the USA. Italy first played Wales in 1994. At the 1995 World Cup in South Africa, Italy came close to beating England, they finished third in their pool again above the Argentines. The late 1990s saw the Italians build a formidable side and record Test victories over Five Nations opposition. In 1996, a deal between British Sky Broadcasting and the Rugby Football Union meant that England home games were shown on Sky. England were threatened with being expelled from the Five Nations to be replaced by Italy; this threat was never carried out.
In 1996, Italy toured England and for the first time Scotland, losing all matches. The team recorded two consecutive victories over Ireland in 1997. On 22 March 1997 they recorded their first win over France, 40–32. In January 1998, Scotland were the victims with Italy winning 25–21. At the 1999 World Cup, Italy were lost again, they went home before the knock-out stage. Italy joined the Six Nations Championship in 2000 but their admission coincided with the departure of some of their best players, they won their opening game against the reigning champions Scotland 34–20. Thereafter they struggled to compete against the other nations and their participation was called into question; the 2001 and 2002 tournaments were disappointing as they did not win a