When Mo’unga drop-kicked to start the opening match of the Rugby World Cup 2023, the organisers could not have dreamed that the game would explode the benchmarks set in Japan four years earlier. With 30% higher viewing figures, the opening game between France and New Zealand maxed out at a peak of 17 million, making it the most-watched Rugby Union game since the 2011 WC final. 

That being said, it hasn’t always been plain sailing for this sport. With a lack of accessibility, and perhaps even a lack of personalities compared to football, Rugby Union has struggled to nail down a steady audience. Even after the 2023 World Cup was over, Amazon Prime turned down the chance to renew a Rugby Premiership streaming series, after its first batch of episodes drew poor viewing figures. Despite epic audience figures for rugby’s biggest tournament, its overall profile remains uneasy. 

New Netflix Six Nations Docuseries

Cue Netflix. Titled Six Nations: Full Contact, a new rugby series is coming to the streaming giant just in time for the Six Nations – which is arguably the second most popular tournament after the World Cup. Set to give an inside look into the struggles of a professional rugby player, this series could be the key to connecting a new audience to the sport, with a spotlight shined on the people involved in it, rather than the game of rugby itself. 

High On Films in collaboration with Avanté

In comparison with the original Amazon Prime series, this could prove to be the difference. If there was one thing the Amazon series got wrong it was pandering to existing fans of Rugby Union, rather than attempting to intrigue new ones. Don’t get us wrong, existing rugby fans will still be flocking to Netflix over Amazon Prime or Hulu with this kind of content. But to get people invested in something new, it’s important to tell a human story, to explore the personalities and emotions of the players, and why winning is so important for them. From that foundation, interest in the sport can build, and the profile of Rugby Union along with it.

What is the Six Nations?

For those unfamiliar with the Six Nations, this docuseries could be a great hopping-on point. Focusing on the oldest annual international rugby tournament in the world, the series will give viewers an insight into the players as the best teams in Europe battle it out for the trophy. The tournament itself involves six teams – no surprise there! – and it takes place from the 2nd of February to the 16th of March. The opening game is to be played against France and Ireland, with the final match-up being against France and England.

What Will Happen in the 2024 Six Nations?

Of course, if the new Netflix docuseries is to work, the tournament put on in February will need to live up to the hype. There doesn’t seem to be any doubt of that, however, as every team is itching to go after the intensity of 2023. England are undoubtedly the team to watch, as they were the only Northern Hemisphere team to make it through the semi-finals. 

That being said, Ireland and France had been on an incredible run going into the 2023 WC, and their capabilities shouldn’t be distinguished by a single game – Ireland were knocked out by New Zealand in the QF, while France were beaten by the mighty Springboks. Wales will be hoping to get back to winning ways under Warren Gatland, and Scotland will be hoping that Finn Russel’s Bath transfer has added even more layers to his game. Italy are…

Well, Italy are Italy. You can never tell where they’re going to pull a win from, so we’re all just going to have to tune in to find out. Even more of us than ever, in fact, if this Netflix docuseries goes down the way people expect it to.

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