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Home Nations (often written as the common noun home nations) is a collective term used to refer to Englandmarker, Northern Irelandmarker, Scotlandmarker and Walesmarker (which together form the United Kingdommarker). It is most commonly heard in sporting contexts. The term Home Countries, not to be confused with the "home counties", is also sometimes used.

Sporting events

In some sports, (such as rugby union and hockey), a single team called Ireland competes, representing the whole island of Irelandmarker, and drawing players from both Northern Ireland and the Republic of Irelandmarker (which is a separate country from the UK). The term "home nations" can be used to include Ireland in these cases.

'Home Nations' is often used in reference to sporting events in which each country competes separately, such as rugby union's Six Nations Championship and the now defunct British Home Championship in association football.

Between 1883 and 1909, what is now the Six Nations was played between England, Ireland, Scotland and Wales and was known as the Home International Championship. It reverted to that name when, from 1932 to 1939, France was excluded from the tournament even though, by then, Ireland had been partitioned into Northern Irelandmarker (part of the UK) and the Irish Free State (Irelandmarker from 1949). The term "Home Nations" continues to be used in rugby union and rugby league even though the Ireland national rugby union team and Ireland national rugby league team draw players from the entire island. The term "Home Union" is used to refer to the four national governing bodies of rugby union.

In football, the British Home Championship (also known as the Home International Championship) was an annual competition contested between the UK's four national teams, England, Scotland, Wales and Ireland (later, Northern Ireland), between 1884-1914, 1919-1939, and 1946-1984.

Other sports which use the term "Home Nations" include boxing, cricket, curling, cycling, disabled sports, fencing, hockey, golf, mountaineering, orienteering, rowing, skiing, swimming and tennis.

The term is also used to refer to the seven representative teams — England, Northern Ireland, Scotland, Wales, Isle of Man, Jersey and Guernsey — from the British Islands that participate in the Commonwealth Games. Advocates of Cornish self-government have occasionally lobbied for Cornwall to be considered the fifth home nation, but this has been rejected.

See also


  1. "historic rivalries between the home nations and the Commonwealth were once again centre stage with the Home Countries having great success", British Cycling, March 2006
  2. RTÉ Sport: Easterby relishing New Zealand clash
  4. "Scotland have been nominated as the home nation to score points towards a place for Great Britain", BBC Sport website, 16 January 2005

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