Grand Slam (rugby Union)
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Grand Slam Rugby Union

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.

It can also apply to The Rugby Championship and Rugby Europe Championship as well.

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 Slams

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[] 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.[] 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.[] 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 1908-1909, by England in 1913-1914, 1923-1924 and 1991-1992, and by France in 1997-1998. 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 winners

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 winners

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 tours

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 sides

Grand Slam tours

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

The Rugby Championship

Year Team Notes
Tri Nations Series
1996  New Zealand
1997  New Zealand
1998  South Africa
2003  New Zealand
2010  New Zealand
The Rugby Championship
2012  New Zealand
2013  New Zealand
2015  Australia Only played the 3 games due to the 2015 Rugby World Cup.
2016  New Zealand
2017  New Zealand

Rugby Europe Championship

Year Team Notes
FIRA Tournament
1938  France
FIRA Nations Cup
1965-66  France A
1966-67  France A
1967-68  France A
1968-69  Romania
1969-70  France A
1970-71  France A
1971-72  France A
1972-73  France A
FIRA Trophy
1973-74  France A
1975-76  France A
1976-77  Romania
1977-78  France A
1978-79  France A
1979-80  France A
1980-81  Romania
1982-83  Romania
1983-84  France A
1984-85  France A
1986-87  France A France won in 1986 as this was played in a two-year cycle.
1988-89  France A France won in 1989 as this was played in a two-year cycle.
1991-92  France A France won in 1991 and 1992 as this was played in a two-year cycle.
European Nations Cup First Division
2000-01  Georgia
2001-02  Romania
2003-04  Portugal Portugal won in 2003 as this was played in a two-year cycle.
2007-08  Georgia Georgia won in 2008 as this was played in a two-year cycle.
2011-12  Georgia Georgia won in 2011 as this was played in a two-year cycle.
2013-14  Georgia Georgia won in 2014 as this was played in a two-year cycle.
2015-16  Georgia Georgia won in 2016 as this was played in a two-year cycle.
Rugby Europe Championship
2018  Georgia
2019  Georgia

See also

References

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

External links


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