Wales secure the Grand Slam
Sam Warburton holds aloft the Six Nations trophy
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Warren Gatland's Wales secured their third Grand Slam in eight years with a 16-9 win over France at the Millennium Stadium. Wales had already overcome Italy and Scotland in Cardiff with wins on the road coming against Ireland and England. Alex Cuthbert scored a first-half try for Wales and the boot of Leigh Halfpenny did enough to guide them over the finishing line. Captain Sam Warburton lifted the trophy - despite being forced to withdraw at half-time with a shoulder injury - and Gethin Jenkins, Ryan Jones and Adam Jones all collected their third Grand Slam. The match had added significance with the death of Mervyn Davies the day before.
It's Bannockburn revisited as Scotland secure a famous Grand Slam at Murrayfield by sending the title favourites, England, homeward tae think again. Despite fielding the same tight-knit 15 for their entire campaign, few people gave David Sole's men a prayer against a high-flying England side that had racked up 11 tries and 83 points in their previous three games. But on an afternoon of raw emotion, which began with a slow march out of the tunnel and a hair-raising rendition of "Flower of Scotland", Tony Stanger latched onto a chip-kick from Gavin Hastings to touch down early in the second half. A bruising defensive display ensued, with England camped on the Scots' 22, but they were repelled in a 13-7 victory.
St Patrick's Day is an auspicious date for the Scots, because six years earlier, they were once again victorious in a Grand Slam decider at Murrayfield, this time outmuscling France 21-12. Despite trailing 6-3 at half-time, and then by 9-3 after Jean-Patrick Lescarboura's drop goal, Peter Dods hauled Scotland level before Jim Calder's late try from a line-out provided the decisive moment of the match. It was only the second Grand Slam in Scotland's Five Nations history, and their first since 1925.
The Decade of the Dragon culminated in Cardiff where Wales won the Triple Crown for the fourth year running, beating a bedraggled England side 27-3, with four of their five tries coming in a virtuoso second-half performance. The Welsh Whippet, JJ Williams, signed off for his country with the afternoon's final score.
A Grand Slam of scoring options for Neil Jenkins, who racked up a try, four conversions, three penalty goals and two dropped goals to spearhead Wales' breathtaking 43-35 Six Nations win in Paris. Jenkins' personal tally accounted for 28 of his team's points, and took him into the history-books as the first player to score more than 1000 in international rugby. Rob Howley, Dafydd James and Scott Quinnell were the other try-scorers.
Super Saturday in the Six Nations began with Ireland, Italy, France and England all in with a chance of winning the title. In the end, France's 46-19 defeat of Scotland gave them the title on points difference over Ireland. England, needing a 57-point margin in the evening match in Cardiff to revive their prospects, were instead beaten 27-18 by Wales.
Gareth Edwards returned from the World Superstars contest in the United States just in time to take part in Wales's final run-out ahead of the Triple Crown visit to Scotland. His tardiness made no difference - two days later, Wales were triumphant at Murrayfield by 18 points to 9