Wales' triple Grand Slam-winners, finales against France and Jonny Wilkinson at Toulon
March 26, 2012
Gethin Jenkins, Ryan Jones and Adam Jones celebrate a third Grand Slam © Getty Images
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
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
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)
* 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
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 - Played 14 T 0 C 18 P 53 D 0 Total: 195
© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.
Joe Simpson talks to Charlie Morgan about loss, Wasps and being England's game-breaker