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Six Nations set to see player names on all shirts

By Josh Raisey
England's Marcus Smith and Scotland's Finn Russell during the Six Nations Rugby match between England and Scotland at Twickenham Stadium on February 4, 2023 in London, United Kingdom. (Photo by Rob Newell - CameraSport via Getty Images)

France, Ireland and Wales are set to follow England, Scotland and Italy in having player names on the back of shirts in the upcoming Guinness Six Nations.

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The Telegraph have reported that the long awaited move has been “supported in principle” by all six unions, after England, Scotland and Italy spearheaded the switch in the 2023 Championship and the World Cup last year.

The objective is to attract more casual viewers, with players being more easily identifiable during a match. This is the latest move rugby is making to appeal to new markets, and a move that many other sports have already taken.

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Some fans online have gone a step further and called for players to be given squad numbers that they keep, as is seen in football, which would make players even more identifiable and marketable at the same time. England and Australia adopted this move in 2019 in Test cricket, following football’s lead in having squad numbers after going without names or numbers on shirts for almost 150 years.

France and Ireland get this year’s Championship underway on February 2 in Marseille, and both will be donning their new shirts.

Wales’ players will have their names emblazoned on their shirts for the first time in the Six Nations in over a decade when they host Scotland a day later. They had been pioneers in the 2000s with this idea, but reverted back, although they did revive it again for their World Cup warm-ups last year.

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