Six Nations Netflix series: Release date, what we know about rugby’s answer to Drive To Survive

The first two weekends of the Six Nations 2023 can be summed up in two words: box office.

In the six games played so far we’ve seen late winners, a plethora of Challengers of the Year and some dominant performances from early leaders Ireland and Scotland.

From Duhan van der Merwe’s double attempts to beat England at Twickenham to Ireland’s defeat by reigning champions France in Dublin, rounds one and two have shown the tournament at its best and kept fans of the sport both casual and obsessive in cast its spell.

Since the game finally turned professional in 1995, rugby union has seen massive global expansion, with the upcoming 2023 World Cup in France set to be the sport’s biggest event yet. The last edition was the first to be played outside of the traditional core countries, with Japan 2019 being a smashing success in a nation that has really embraced the sport since the start of the professional era.

With the news that US streaming giant Netflix is ​​sending its cameras to the camps of every Six Nations team during this campaign and also taking a deep dive into the World Cup this fall, The Sporting News is exploring what these documentaries could look like and just what global presence might be enough for Rugby’s Greatest Championship, both on and off the field.

MORE: Ireland beat France in Dublin as world’s top two put on a show

Six Nations Netflix series: release date, how to watch it

A full release date is yet to be confirmed by Netflix, but we do know the documentary will air in 2024, up to 12 months after the current tournament concludes. The storylines and drama built in the Six Nations 2023 – and the World Cup after – will have had plenty of time to develop by then, and the potential behind-the-scenes information will excite fans.

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Like many of his sports productions, like Formula 1’s Drive to Survive and Tennis’ Break Point, Netflix’s Six Nations series can be viewed with a standard membership, and more ads for the series will be released closer to the 2024 release date.

What can we expect from the documentation?

Sports coverage, movies and docu-series are nothing new for streaming sites like Netflix, with recent Amazon documentaries being Anybody’s Game, No woman, no attempt and Oceans Apart, which portray specific stories of players around the world and their respective journeys into the international rugby union arena.

Amazon in particular has gone all in on its coverage, signing a deal to cover the end of 2022 internationals and offering UK viewers exclusive coverage of every game.

Netflix is ​​a little late to the party, but an in-depth behind-the-scenes documentary covering the Original international rugby tournament is a groundbreaking step in the right direction for both the site and the sport.

Although filming is currently taking place at the respective camps of each of the six participating nations, the series itself will not air until 2024, with the World Cup-focused sequel also expected to arrive 12 months after the tournament.

Netflix’s release statement for the series says it will “take us into the exciting world of the oldest and biggest annual international rugby tournament and give fans a glimpse of vibrant behind-the-scenes moments.” This suggests we’ll be seeing plenty of footage from the training camp, as well as plenty of player, manager and possibly fan interviews.

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Six Nations 2023: The State of Play

The roots of the Six Nations Championship date back to 1882 when the first game of the old Home Nations Championship was played between Wales and England. In the 140 years that have passed, France and Italy joined in 1910 and 2000 respectively, and today the tournament is a fixture on the sporting calendar, marking the first international matches each year.

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The 2023 tournament is only two weeks old, but we’ve already seen plenty of drama on and off the pitch for the six participants. Ireland’s dominance has cemented their place as world No 1, while a resurgent Scotland have been just as good and played superb rugby to win two games from two and level with Ireland at the top of the table.

However, France and Italy are both yet to fire properly. Les Bleus snuck past Italy in Rome but were put to the sword by Ireland the following week and looked a shadow of the team rushing to the 2022 Grand Slam. A surging Azzurri pushed France all the way but a poor first-half saw them beaten well at Twickenham the next week.

England and Wales both came into the tournament with clean slates as new head coaches Steve Borthwick and Warren Gatland took the reins. England looked sketchy in both their defeat by Scotland and their win over Italy at Twickenham, while Gatland’s return to Wales could hardly have had a worse start.

Two bitter defeats by Ireland and Scotland left them bottom of the rankings, while a dispute with the Welsh Rugby Union over players’ contracts ahead of their grudge match against England has sparked strikes.

MORE: A History of the Six Nations Championship

What can we expect from Netflix’s Six Nations series?

Since it first aired in 2019, Formula 1’s popularity has soared – particularly in the US – thanks to the widespread impact of Netflix’s Drive to Survive Sseries Recently renewed for a fifth season beginning in February 2023, the newfound access to drivers, crews and organizers has added a new dimension to the sport for casual viewers and new fans.

Both Drive to Survive and the upcoming Six Nations series are produced by Box to Box Films, suggesting the behind-the-scenes access to the F1 series will be replicated and expanded upon when the rugby-focused documentary airs in 2024.

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Wales’ ongoing contract disputes have already provided a glimpse of the scenes we’ve been able to see from teams’ training camps, with newly hired manager Warren Gatland saying of Netflix’s presence: “I can tell you that in a rugby setting, if it’s you When talking about creating emotions, the language used is not always appropriate. Especially when you talk about nations playing against each other.”

A players’ strike is relatively uncharted territory when it comes to the Six Nations and Netflix’s intimate access gives viewers a chance to appreciate the tension and strong feeling of the Welsh players at the moment and the impact of the ongoing turmoil on the team’s performance experience in the tournament.

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European Rugby and World Cup

When the Six Nations 2023 wraps up in mid-March and the Netflix cameras are off, all eyes will be on France and the World Cup this fall. With the tournament featuring 20 teams instead of six, Netflix’s coverage could be very different from that of the Six Nations.

However, storylines will multiply tenfold as teams attempt to snatch the trophy from South Africa. The current best teams in the world come from Europe for the first time ever, as Ireland and hosts France aim to become the second nation in the Northern Hemisphere to win the Webb Ellis Cup.

However, Southern Hemisphere sides will not travel north just to level the numbers as South Africa are keen to retain their crown and New Zealand are focused on regaining it after a semi-final defeat in 2019.

Australia, under the guidance of ex-England coach Eddie Jones, could also cause an upset or two, while Tonga, Samoa and Fiji have been strengthened by a relaxation of international selection rules and their improved squads will bring the power of the Pacific to France.

International rugby is set for a pivotal year of matches at its best, and with Netflix in tow, the world’s best rugby national teams are looking to show what they and the sport itself can do.

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