Who will lift the 2021 Six Nations Championship trophy?

Who will lift the 2021 Six Nations Championship trophy?

Wales will have its eye on the prize when it travels to face France in the Guinness Six Nations Championship this weekend. The glittering award is an impressive piece of silverware awarded to the title winners.

The Welshmen took a further step towards lifting it with a comfortable win over Italy last Saturday. They can clinch their success this weekend by getting the better of a France side, which, despite losing to England, also remains in contention to post an overall victory for the first time since 2010.

Should Wayne Pivac’s Wales team complete the job, its captain Alun Wyn Jones – the world’s most capped international player – will once again hoist the trophy above his head. Wales took the title in 2019, but surrendered it to England last year. Now, it is firmly on track to regain possession.

The current piece of silverware was introduced in 2015, belatedly updating the previous version to reflect the expansion of the competition that took place in 2000, when Italy first competed. Made in London by the skilled silversmiths at Thomas Lyte, the body is made from a single sheet of silver, and the trophy contains more than 50 pieces of silver. Its six-sided design includes a plinth that bears the crest of each competing nation. Standing 75 centimetres high and weighing seven kilos, it took 200 hours to complete the process of casting, spinning, hand engraving and polishing.

It is an impressive reward for whichever nation emerges victorious from the tournament, which is a showpiece on the world’s sporting calendar. Wales recorded narrow wins over Ireland and Scotland in its opening two matches, before victory over England secured the Triple Crown – victories against each of the other home nations. A match against Italy in the sunshine last weekend has taken the Welshmen to the brink of a sixth Grand Slam since the tournament was expanded to six teams. If they manage to overcome France in Paris on Saturday, they will clinch that honour.

There is no room for complacency in the Welsh ranks, however, with France not yet ruled out of the title race. However, while defeat will end the Welsh bid for the Grand Slam, the team could still enter the record books as Six Nations champions if they claim a bonus point for a narrow defeat or four tries, and if France fail to score four tries.

Despite following up wins over Italy and Ireland with a defeat at the hands of England at Twickenham, the French need to beat Wales this weekend to remain in the hunt for a first win in the championship since 2010. They have played one fixture fewer than Wales because of a COVID-19 outbreak in the French camp, causing their match against Scotland to be postponed.

The Scots, who have never won the Six Nations title, can’t break that duck after losing to Ireland, which, together with England and Italy, was already out of the running to have its name etched on the trophy.

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