It's fair to say that Italy have been the whipping boys when it comes to the Six Nations. They haven't won a game since 2015 and their highest position is only fourth place which they achieved in 2013.
While although they may have had great players like Sergio Parisse and Diego Dominguez in years gone past, in the last 6 years they just haven't been competitive enough. This has made many people believe there should be a promotion and relegation system in place to allow teams like Georgia or Romania get a chance at playing more Tier 1 nations.
Italy head coach backs potential introduction of promotion and relegation to Six Nations
Although the system may be to Italy's detriment, the idea is something head coach Kieran Crowley isn't against, as he spoke about during the 2022 Guinness Six Nations Media Launch.
The decisions around Italy being in the Six Nations, that’s board talk and the boards need to decide those sorts of things, if I was given a personal opinion on it, I’d welcome a promotion/relegation system. Then you’re going to get away from all of this. Who’s to say that anyone else would be better than Italy in the Six Nations?
I don’t think it will ever get to that because other teams might have a bad year, Scotland or Wales or a France, England, Ireland. They might have one bad year and suddenly they’re down.
What would it do to Italian rugby? It might help Italian rugby, you might get a few wins and grow the confidence and get promoted again. Then you know how to win because you can’t win if you don’t know how to win.
Italy has probably got into the situation in the Six Nations is that we don’t know how to win. If you look at games in the past couple of years, they have been very close and then it blows out in the last few minutes. Maybe it’s because they’re trying to not lose, rather than win.
It's an idea that's been floated around for a few years now as lower rank sides have improved immensely but Six Nations CEO Ben Morel believes changing the rugby calendar is the way to go rather than changing the Six Nations.
In order to give a stronger pathway to emerging nations, whoever they may be, I believe there could be some adaptations to the July and November windows on a quicker basis that could give more competitive matches to those unions,
Those games would be properly scheduled and take place on a regular basis and would give them the experience they need to get them to that level.
Italy start their Six Nations campaign away in Paris as they take on France at the Stade de France on Sunday 6th February.