How many nations have won back-to-back Grand Slams in the Five/Six Nations?
Eddie Jones’s team begin the 2017 Six Nations in search of a back-to-back Grand Slam, a feat achieved by England teams a record three times before.
Their first “double” was in the two seasons before the Great War when a side that included such household rugby names as Ronnie Poulton (later Poulton-Palmer), Cyril (“Kid”) Lowe and the Welsh-born stand-off, W.J.A. (“Dave”) Davies launched their 1913 Five Nations campaign by recoding England’s first victory on the Cardiff Arms Park. Poulton dropped a goal out of the Cardiff mud to help the visitors to a 12-0 win which was followed by convincing victories against France and Ireland. The Grand Slam — England’s first — was finally nailed at Twickenham through a “Bruno” Brown try — the only score of the match — against Scotland.
Wales provided a stern opening Test in 1914, England running out one-point winners at Twickenham (10-9) before accounting for Ireland there four weeks later. There was another thrilling one-point win, 16-15 against Scotland at Inverleith, before Poulton played a captain’s part by scoring four tries in the 39-13 thrashing of France which sealed the back-to-back Grand Slams.
“Dave” Davies (as captain now) and “Kid” Lowe were still there in 1923 when England embarked on the first leg of another double. Davies, who even managed to time his honeymoon to coincide with the Grand Slam win against France in Paris on Easter Monday that year, dropped a goal with what was virtually his last kick in International Rugby.
Wavell Wakefield took over as England’s captain in 1924 and led a side containing five new caps to a convincing win against Wales at Swansea. Ireland and France were well beaten before the side signed off with an outstanding 19-0 win against Scotland at Twickenham.
(Photo by Rusty Cheyne/Allsport/Getty Images)
England’s third and most recent successive Grand Slams were in 1991 and 1992. The 1991 finale was the winner-takes-all decider against France, England eking out a famous 21-19 win after Philippe Saint-André had completed one of Twickenham’s all-time best tries early in the first half. England played more expansively in 1992 to win all their games by decisive margins, a team of many talents finishing with an impressive 118-29 points difference.
Wales were the first nation to secure successive Grand Slams, winning all four of their international matches in 1908, the first year they met France in an official Test, and repeating feat in 1909. In between they also recorded a first win against Australia, beating the Original Wallabies 9-6 at Cardiff in December 1908.
From 1907 until 1910, when Wales were beaten in the first International staged at Twickenham, the Principality enjoyed a run of eleven consecutive Test wins, a Welsh record that still stands.
These were the years of a Golden Era for Welsh rugby when they were almost impregnable on home soil and formidable opponents on foreign territory. Between the defeat by Ireland at Cardiff in 1899 and England’s first win at the Arms Park, in 1913, Wales’s only home defeat was 11-0 to South Africa at Swansea in December 1906. Moreover, they won the Triple Crown in 1900, 1902, 1905, 1908, 1909 and 1911.
The only other nation which has managed the rare feat of back-to-back Grand Slams is France in 1997 and 1998, when they put fifty-one points on the board in their away games against Scotland (51-16 at Murrayfield) and Wales (51-0 at Wembley).
No team has won back-to-back Grand Slams in the Six Nations Era (2000 onwards).
Back-to-back Grand Slam summary:
England Three times: 1913 & 1914; 1923 & 1924; 1991 & 1992.
Wales Once: 1908 & 1909.
France Once: 1997 &1998.
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How many nations have won back-to-back Grand Slams in the Five Six Nations?
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