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In rugby union, a Grand Slam (Irish: Caithréim Mhór. Welsh: Y Gamp Lawn. French: Grand Chelem) occurs when one team in the Six Nations Championship (or its Five Nations predecessor) manages to beat all the others during one year's competition. This has been achieved 39 times in total, for the first time by Wales in 1908, and most recently by Wales in 2019. The team to have won the most Grand Slams is England with 13.

In another context, a Grand Slam tour refers to a touring side – South Africa, Australia or New Zealand – which plays fixtures against all four home nations (England, Ireland, Scotland and Wales) during their tour. If the tourists then win all of those matches, they are said to have achieved a Grand Slam. This has been done nine times, first by South Africa in 1912–13, and most recently by New Zealand in 2010.

Five and Six Nations Grand SlamsEdit

In the annual Six Nations Championship (among England, Ireland, Scotland, Wales, France and Italy), and its predecessor the Five Nations Championship (before Italy joined in 2000), a Grand Slam occurs when one team beats all of the others during one year's competition.[1] The Grand Slam winners are awarded the Six Nations trophy (as tournament winners), but there is no special grand slam trophy – the Grand Slam is an informal honour recognizing a Championship-winning team which has won all their games.

Although the term grand slam had long been in use in the game of contract bridge, the first time[citation needed] that the expression is known to have been applied to rugby union was in 1957, in a preview of a match between England and Scotland:

There is much more than usual at stake for England to-day in the match against Scotland at Twickenham... The last time when England achieved the Grand Slam under present conditions was as long ago as the 1927–28 season, but it is difficult to try to build up a case against her repeating the performance to-day.

— The Times, 16 March 1957

The Grand Slam honour is applied retroactively to teams which won all of their matches in Five Nations tournaments before the term came into use.[citation needed] It is also applied to the 1908 and 1909 seasons, when matches with France took place during, but outside of, the then Home Nations Championships.[citation needed] However the Grand Slam honour is not applied to seasons in which only the four home nations were involved (1883–1907 and 1932–1939) – in that case a team that won all its matches is said to have achieved the Triple Crown. This honour is still competed for between the four home nations within the Six Nations Championship, and any Grand Slam-winning home nation will necessarily also win the Triple Crown.

A Grand Slam was therefore available in the years 1908–1931 and 1947–1999 (Five Nations) and 2000–2016 (Six Nations), a total of 94 seasons to date. Grand Slams were in fact achieved on 39 of these occasions – 13 by England, 12 by Wales, 9 by France, 3 by Scotland and 3 by Ireland. (Italy, involved in the tournament since 2000, have yet to win a Grand Slam.)

Consecutive Grand Slams have been won by Wales in 19081909, by England in 19131914, 19231924 and 19911992, and by France in 19971998. No team has yet achieved three consecutive Grand Slams.

Prior to 2000, each team played four matches, two at home and two away from home. Following the inclusion of Italy in 2000, each team plays five matches, two at home and three away in one year, and the opposite in the following season. When Wales won the Grand Slam in 2005, it was the first time that the feat had been achieved by a team that had played more matches away than at home. This was repeated by Ireland in 2009, by England in 2016, and by Wales in 2019.

Since 2017, the Six Nations Championship has used bonus points. A team that wins the Grand Slam will get three bonus points.[2] This eliminates the possibility of a Grand Slam winner losing the championship on bonus points.

Table of Grand Slam winnersEdit

Nation Grand Slams Grand Slam winning seasons
  England 13 1913, 1914, 1921, 1923, 1924, 1928, 1957, 1980, 1991, 1992, 1995, 2003, 2016
  Wales 12 1908*, 1909*, 1911, 1950, 1952, 1971, 1976, 1978, 2005, 2008, 2012, 2019
  France 9 1968, 1977, 1981, 1987, 1997, 1998, 2002, 2004, 2010
  Ireland 3 1948, 2009, 2018
  Scotland 3 1925, 1984, 1990
  Italy 0

* In 1908 and 1909 matches with France were played, although they were not part of the Championship.

Chronological list of Grand Slam winnersEdit

Year Team Notes
Home Nations Championship
1908   Wales *see note above
1909   Wales *see note above
Five Nations Championship
1911   Wales Also with the Triple Crown.
1913   England Also with the Triple Crown.
1914   England Already won the Triple Crown.
1915–19 No tournament due to World War I
1921   England Already won the Triple Crown.
1923   England Already won the Triple Crown.
1924   England Also won the Triple Crown.
1925   Scotland Also won the Triple Crown.
1928   England Also won the Triple Crown.
1932–39 France was suspended from the Five Nations Championship
1940–46 No tournament due to World War II
1948   Ireland Also won the Triple Crown.
1950   Wales Already won the Triple Crown.
1952   Wales Already won the Triple Crown.
1957   England Already won the Triple Crown.
1968   France
1971   Wales Already won the Triple Crown.
1976   Wales Already won the Triple Crown.
1977   France
1978   Wales Already won the Triple Crown.
1980   England Also won the Triple Crown.
1981   France
1984   Scotland Already won the Triple Crown.
1987   France
1990   Scotland Also won the Triple Crown.
1991   England Already won the Triple Crown.
1992   England Also won the Triple Crown.
1995   England Also won the Triple Crown.
1997   France
1998   France
Six Nations Championship
2002   France
2003   England Also won the Triple Crown.
2004   France
2005   Wales Also won the Triple Crown.
2008   Wales Already won the Triple Crown.
2009   Ireland Also won the Triple Crown.
2010   France
2012   Wales Already won the Triple Crown.
2016   England Already won the Triple Crown.
2018   Ireland Also won the Triple Crown.
2019   Wales Also won the Triple Crown.

Grand Slam toursEdit

A Grand Slam tour is one in which a touring national team from Australia, New Zealand, or South Africa plays Test matches against all four home nations (England, Ireland, Scotland and Wales). If the tourists win all four of these games, they are said to have achieved a Grand Slam.

Some Grand Slam tours also include a Test match against France; South Africa achieved a "Five Nations Grand Slam" in 1912–13 and 1951–52.

Grand Slams by touring teams have been achieved nine times: four times each by South Africa and New Zealand, and once by Australia.

Australia is the only country to have lost against all four home nations during a Grand Slam tour, on their 1957–58 tour. Australia also lost to France on that tour.

After 1984, Southern Hemisphere sides started to tour the British Isles more frequently, but to play fewer Tests on each tour, and thus there were no Grand Slam tours between 1984 and 1998. However, since 1998 Grand Slam tours have again become quite common, as the number of Tests on each tour has increased. The All Blacks' tours of 2005 and 2008 were originally planned to include only three Test matches; the late inclusion of matches against Wales and England respectively turned these into Grand Slam tours.

Grand Slams achieved by touring sidesEdit

  South Africa 1912–13, 1931–32, 1951–52, 1960–61
  New Zealand 1978, 2005, 2008, 2010
  Australia 1984

Grand Slam toursEdit

Year Team Achieved Result Scores
  England   Ireland   Scotland   Wales
1905–06   New Zealand No 3–1 15–0 15–0 12–7 0–3
1906–07   South Africa No 2–1 3–3 15–12 0–6 11–0
1912–13   South Africa Yes 4–0 9–3 38–0 16–0 3–0
1927–28   Australia No 2–2 11–18 5–3 8–10 18–8
1931–32   South Africa Yes 4–0 7–0 8–3 6–3 8–3
1935–36   New Zealand No 2–2 0–13 17–9 18–8 12–13
1939–40   Australia Cancelled due to World War II
1947–48   Australia No 3–1 11–0 16–3 16–7 0–6
1951–52   South Africa Yes 4–0 8–3 17–5 44–0 6–3
1953–54   New Zealand No 3–1 5–0 14–3 3–0 8–13
1957–58   Australia No 0–4 6–9 6–9 8–12 3–9
1960–61   South Africa Yes 4–0 5–0 8–3 12–5 3–0
1963–64   New Zealand No 3–0 14–0 6–5 0–0 6–0
1966–67   Australia No 2–2 23–11 8–15 5–11 14–11
1969–70   South Africa No 0–2 8–11 8–8 3–6 6–6
1972–73   New Zealand No 3–0 9–0 10–10 14–9 19–16
1975–76   Australia No 1–3 6–23 20–10 3–10 3–28
1978   New Zealand Yes 4–0 16–6 10–6 18–9 13–12
1981–82   Australia No 1–3 11–15 16–12 15–24 13–18
1984   Australia Yes 4–0 19–3 16–9 37–12 28–9
1998   South Africa No 3–1 7–13 27–13 35–10 28–20
2004   South Africa No 2–2 16–32 12–17 45–10 38–36
2005   New Zealand Yes 4–0 23–19 45–7 29–10 41–3
2008   New Zealand Yes 4–0 32–6 22–3 32–6 29–9
2009   Australia No 2–1 18–9 20–20 8–9 33–12
2010   New Zealand Yes 4–0 26–16 38–18 49–3 37–25
  South Africa No 3–1 21–11 23–21 17–21 29–25
2013   Australia No 3–1 13–20 32–15 21–15 30–26
2016   Australia No 2–2 21–37 24–27 23–22 32–8
Total 9–19 17–1–10 21–3–4 18–1–9 20–1–7

See alsoEdit

ReferencesEdit

  1. ^ "History". sixnationsrugby.com.
  2. ^ "Bonus points system to be trialled in Six Nations". BreakingNews.ie. 30 November 2016. Retrieved 30 November 2016.

External linksEdit