More than 75 pubs a month shut its doors in 2023 – a significant hike in figures from 12 months previously – but rugby fans are helping to get the pints flowing again during this Six Nations.  

Sport is vital in keeping beer being poured in pubs and bars across Britain – during last year’s Six Nations, it is estimated more than three million pints were poured over nine days in pubs.

To mark the start of the Six Nations, former England international Ugo Monye and TV star Jake Quickenden tag teamed for a challenge which saw the pair sent to visit all six competing nations in under six days.

And rugby fans have been declared the ‘friendliest supporters’, beating traditionally genteel tennis followers and football fans.

I’m A Celebrity star Jake admitted that being thrown into the mix with ‘hardcore fans’ was quite intimidating, but quickly realised how welcoming everyone could be.

“I came into this tournament as a complete rugby novice, and it can sometimes feel intimidating if you’re surrounded by hardcore fans as you’re worried about saying the wrong thing or asking a silly question,” Jake said.

“This trip has shown me that rugby fans, particularly in the Home Nations, have something special about them. There’s such a huge sense of community in UK sports pubs and, although we’ve been welcomed in every nation, the sense of inclusiveness in pubs in the UK is on another level.”

This was backed up by new research by Greene King, who confirmed that UK rugby fans are the single friendliest group of supporters (25%), beating out tennis fans (21%) and football fans (21%).

The research, which surveyed 1500 adults in the UK, France, and Italy respectively, showed that more Home Nations supporters will be heading to the pub and getting a round in spending around £20 per person in their locals, while fans in Italy and France will be shelling out an average of £12.90 per person (€15).

Former England international, Ugo Monye said, “Having experienced the Six Nations time and time again as both a player and a commentator, it’s fascinating to get under the skin of what the tournament means to people in each country. 

“It’s clear that wherever we go, there’s a common ground between fans – a lively atmosphere is a must when people come together to watch the tournament, as well as a very friendly rivalry that’s unmatched in other sports.”

Greene King's Michelle West said: “Sport has such an important role to play in the very fabric of UK pub culture, and it’s clear that pub goers up and down the country will be coming out in force to show support for their respective teams during the Six Nations tournament."