Netflix’s sports series are great at covering sports and aspects of sports that don’t often get much attention. Six Nations: Full Contact continues the tradition in setting a new standard in sports docuseries.

Like Netflix did on Drive to Survive with Formula 1, Captains with FIFA World Cup Qualifying, and Quarterbacks with NFL QBs, Full Contact takes you on the pitch, inside the locker rooms, meeting rooms, and homes of select players and coaches from the six nations of the 2023 Guinness Men’s Six Nations Championship, a Rugby competition between England, France, Ireland, Italy, Scotland, and Wales.

The series touches on the history of the tournament and the intense rugby rivalries therein. Let’s be honest: even off the pitch, these six nations have some history.

The show doesn’t shy away from the violence of the sport. Words and phrases like “primal,” “combat sport,” “virtuous combat,” and more are the ways those passionate rugby players and coaches describe the sport.

Whether it was the encouragement of the directors or producers of the series, the players and coaches don’t skip around the mental health and physical ailments of the game. In the previous paragraph, the words I borrowed from the series to describe the sport would make it unrealistic to do otherwise, but sometimes these series gloss over the real life ramifications of sport beyond the final score.

However, Full Contact does well to exemplify the sport of rugby as more than a violent game. Within the series and to a point within each team of the Six Nations, you will see examples of leadership, confidence, pressure, expectation, resilience, and through it all, a very keen sense of mortality and humor in good measure.

The Six Nations tournament is an annual event, which means that these players, many of whom play together domestically, really do get to know each other well. It breeds a familiarity that calls back to Drive to Survive, the excellent F1 series.

This may be something that makes Six Nations that much more interesting. This isn’t the Olympics where you may have to face someone twice in 12 years if you’re lucky enough to make it to three Olympics. The cream of the crop here compete against each other year in and year out.

These players often know each other’s strengths and weaknesses, and the same holds true on the team level, too. There are very few surprises as to what the other person lined up across from you wants to do or intends to do, and the question is whether you will be able to deny them their strategy or not.

I particularly enjoyed the discussion points around focus and the ability to let go. Not everything is going to go your way all the time during a match, and the ability to compartmentalize and move on is extremely important. This goes for both the team and the individual, of which there is an interesting subtext in the series that you can follow. It’s all about how a group of individuals can be cohesive as a team and still work as leaders or creative in their own unique ways.

On the whole, and coming from someone who has only ever watched the Netflix sports docuseries following subjects I was previously already interested in, this show feels a bit more candid than others. It is entertaining, however, whether you know how the 2023 tournament ends or not. And if you have no idea about rugby on any level, this is a great introduction.