• Switch Edition
Follow
ESPNscrum Columnist
John Griffiths | Columnist Index
John Griffiths is a widely respected rugby historian and is the author of several sports books, including The Book of English International Rugby, The Book of International Rugby Records, British Lions, The Five Nations Championship, Rugby's Strangest Matches and Rugby's Greatest Characters. He was a regular contributor to the Daily Telegraph for 19 years and is co-author of the IRB International Rugby Yearbook. He has also provided insight for Scrum.com since 1999.
Ask John
Wales' triple Grand Slam-winners, finales against France and Jonny Wilkinson at Toulon
John Griffiths
March 26, 2012

Welcome to the latest edition of Ask John where renowned rugby historian John Griffiths will answer any rugby-related query you have!

So, if there's something you've always wanted to know about the game we love but didn't know who to ask, or you think you can stump our expert - then get involved by sending us a question.

In this edition, John answers questions on Wales' triple Grand Slam-winners, finales against France, defensive excellence and Jonny Wilkinson at Toulon.

How many Welshmen have featured in three Grand Slams? Jim Phillips, Wales

The current Welsh team are the third in the nation's history to enjoy three successes in a short period. Three Grand Slams were won between 1908 and 1911, between 1971 and 1978 and between 2005 and this season.

All told, a dozen Welshmen have been involved in three Grand Slams:

2005, 2008 and 2012 - Ryan Jones, Adam Jones and Gethin Jenkins
1971, 1976 and 1978 - Gerald Davies, Gareth Edwards and J P R Williams
1908, 1909 and 1911 - Johnnie Williams, Billy Trew, Dickie Owen, George Travers, Jim Webb and Tom Evans.

Two Welsh coaches have guided the side to two Grand Slams, John Dawes in 1976 and 1978, and Warren Gatland in 2008 and 2012.

During the Grand Slam season Wales conceded only 58 points. What is the Six Nations record in this respect? John Stephens, Wales

It was a new Welsh record for the Six Nations, beating the 2008 Grand Slammers, who conceded only 66 points. Since the Championship became a Six Nations contest in 2000 the lowest points conceded over a season have been as follows:

England - 46 - 2003
England - 53 - 2002
Wales - 58 - 2012
France - 60 - 2004
Wales - 66 - 2008

Of these, only the England team of 2002 (beaten by France) failed to achieve a Grand Slam. The all-time Championship record was set in 1892 (before France had made it a Five Nations Championship). The England team of that year won the Triple Crown without conceding a score.

Could you list all the Wales-France matches (with results) in which Wales have been going for the Grand Slam? CR, England

Wales have now faced France for the Grand Slam nine times altogether. They have been successful on seven occasions - five of them at Cardiff. These are Wales's results when France have been the last hurdle in their path:

1950 Wales 21-0 (Cardiff)
1952 Wales 9-5 (Swansea)
1965 France 22-13 (Paris)
1971 Wales 9-5 (Paris)
1976 Wales 19-13 (Cardiff)
1978 Wales 16-7 (Cardiff)*
1988 France 10-9 (Cardiff)
2008 Wales 29-12 (Cardiff)
2012 Wales 16-9 (Cardiff)

* The 1978 game is the only one where the sides went head-to-head in an "us or them" Grand Slam final.

Wesley Fofana nearly managed to score a try in every round of this year's Six Nations Championship. How many players achieved it in the old Five Nations and has anyone done it since the Championship was enlarged to Six Nations? Chris, England

The following managed to score tries in every round of a Five/Six Nations Championship (NB Excludes 1932 to 1939 when France were suspended from the tournament):

Carston Catcheside, England, 1924
"Johnnie" Wallace, Scotland, 1925
Patrick Estève, France, 1983
Philippe Sella, France, 1986
Gregor Townsend, Scotland, 1999
Philippe Bernat-Salles, France, 2001

Bernat-Salles is the only player to do so since the Six Nations began in 2000. In 1999, however, Townsend additionally scored against Italy in a friendly staged in the middle of the Five Nations.

Do you have Jonny Wilkinson's first-class details (for Toulon) since returning from Rugby World Cup duty in October? Jonathan T, England

Wilkinson was back in action a week after playing for England against France in the Rugby World Cup quarter-final last October. The only Top 14 match he has missed since then was a fortnight ago, against Perpignan.

He was rested for their Amlin Challenge Pool game against Petrarca Padova on November 10 and, though featuring in the squad, did not come off the bench at Newcastle for the pool game against the Falcons on December 8.

His appearances (up to March 25) have been as follows:

Top 14 - Oct 15 v Perpignan Tries - 0 Conversions - 2 Penalties - 0 Drops - 0 Total: 4
Top 14 - Oct 22 v Racing Metro T 0 C 1 P 3 D 0 Total: 11
Top 14 - Oct 29 v Brive T 0 C 0 P 6 D 0 Total: 18
Amlin - Nov 19 v Lyon T 0 C 1 P 1 D 0 Total: 5
Top 14 - Nov 26 v Castres T 0 C 1 P 5 D 0 Total: 17
Top 14 - Dec 3 v Toulouse T 0 C 0 P 4 D 0 Total: 12
Top 14 - Dec 13 v Agen T 0 C 0 P 4 D 0 Total: 12
Amlin - Dec 17 v Newcastle T 0 C 4 P 1 D 0 Total: 11
Top14 - Dec 23 v Lyon T 0 C 0 P 5 D 0 Total: 15
Top 14 - Dec 31 v Biarritz T 0 C 0 P 2 D 0 Total: 6
Top 14 - Jan 8 v Clermont-Auvergne T 0 C 1 P 4 D 0 Total: 14
Amlin - Jan 15 v Lyon T 0 C 3 P 1 D 0 Total: 9
Amlin - Jan 21 v Petrarca Padova T 0 C 3 P 1 D 0 Total: 9
Top 14 - Jan 28 v Bayonne T 0 C 5 P 5 D 0 Total: 25
Top 14 - Feb 11 v Begles-Bordeaux T 0 C 5 P 3 D 0 Total: 19
Top 14 - Feb 18 v Stade Francais T 0 C 0 P 2 D 0 Total: 6
Top 14 - Mar 2 v Montpellier T 0 C 1 P 4 D 0 Total: 14
Top 14 - Mar 24 v Racing Metro T 0 C 2 P 6 D 0 Total: 22

Top 14 - Played 14 T 0 C 18 P 53 D 0 Total: 195
Amlin - Played 4 T 0 C 11 P 4 D 0 Total: 34
TOTAL Played 18 T 0 C 29 P 57 D 0 Total: 229

© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.
Live Scores
Results
Fixtures