Although it sounds impressive, the Grand Slam in the Six Nations era has not been that hard to achieve. Since Italy joined the competition in 2000, 8 Grand Slams have been achieved out of the 13 tournaments. Wales, winning 2012, made it 3 Six Nations grand slams for them, making it even with France, who they beat to capture their fifth win in 2012.
Well, it seems reasonable. When a nation’s good, it simply much better than the rest. You can argue Wales have been that much better than the rest, with England finishing a win behind them and their encounter at Twickenham was decided by a very late try and an England attempt which was literally inches from going in on the final charge, but you can’t argue with results.
2002 – France, First Six Nations Grand Slam
France won their first Six Nations title a year before the World Cup where France reached the Semi Final, with Gerald Merceron leading the tournament in points, scoring 80. France’s wrapped up the tournament on Week 3, beating England 20-15. England finished behind them with four wins and one loss.
2003 – The Year England Win Everything
In 2003, England won the World Cup, but it was the culmination of a squad that was built around Jonny Wilkinson’s kicking prowess, winning three of the first four Six Nations tournaments. Wilkinson led the tournament with 77 points, ending the tournament by humiliating Ireland in Dublin with a 42-6 win, against an Irish team looking to win the Grand slam themselves.
2004 – France Again
France beat Ireland 35-17 on the opening week, scoring four tries, to set the tone as the team to beat in the 2004 championship. Ireland finished the tournament with 4 wins, including a 19-13 win over England in London. The English came into Paris needing to win by 8 points, resulting in a fantastic battle, which France won 25-21 as England’s comeback came short in the Second Half.
2005 – Wales Break Drought
Wales won their first tournament since 1994 and became the first team ever to win the Grand Slam by playing more away matches than home. The tournament was a rare one, not including the bonus point system. Typical North Hemisphere Rugby. Their most impressive win came on Week 3, beating France 24-18 in Paris with Martyn Williams scoring two tries.
2008 – Wales, out of Nowhere
Wales showed their tendency to peak in post World Cup years, with no one even coming close to Warren Gatland’s side. Wales conceded only two tries through the five matches, setting a new tournament record. Shane Williams scored six tries in the championship, becoming Wales’ all time try leader.
2009 – A Rare Irish Win
Ireland win their first championship since 1985 and their only Six Nations title to date. It was a close affair, despite being two wins ahead of everyone. They beat England 14-13 and on the final week, and England’s demolition of France the next week set up the champagne openings. Ireland beat Wales 17-15 with a 78th minute drop goal by Ronan O’Gara to cap off the Grand Slam. Brian O’Driscoll led the tournament (along with two English players) with 5 tries.
2010 – France Win GS no. 3
France looked like potential world champions during those 5 weeks, which actually almost did happen despite their disappointing performances in the World Cup. A 33-10 demolition of Ireland set the tone for the rest of the tournament, capping off the 5 wins with a tough as nails victory over England in Paris, 12-10.
2012 – Wales Win a Third Grand Slam as Well
Wales surprised many with their performance in the 2011 World Cup, and they showed that they have a very talented young generation blossoming, winning their 3rd six nations title in seven years. The big wins were the 19-12 drama at Twickenham, as Scott Williams scored the winning try with four minutes left, and David Strettle’s try was not allowed, needing inched to tie the game. Then came Wales’ first win over France since 2008, making a small payback for the World Cup, beating the French 16-9 in Cardiff. Wales’ Leigh Halfpenny led the tournament with 66 points.