Grand Slam (rugby union)

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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) beats 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.

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It can also apply to the U20 and Women's Six Nations Championships.

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 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 recognising a Championship-winning team which has won all their games.

A Grand Slam was therefore available in a total of 97 seasons to date. Grand Slams have been achieved 39 times 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.)

Two 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 winners

NationGrand SlamsGrand Slam winning seasons
Flag of England.svg  England 13 1913, 1914, 1921, 1923, 1924, 1928, 1957, 1980, 1991, 1992, 1995, 2003, 2016
Flag of Wales (1959-present).svg  Wales 12 1908*, 1909*, 1911, 1950, 1952, 1971, 1976, 1978, 2005, 2008, 2012, 2019
Flag of France.svg  France 9 1968, 1977, 1981, 1987, 1997, 1998, 2002, 2004, 2010
IRFU flag.svg  Ireland 3 1948, 2009, 2018
Flag of Scotland.svg  Scotland 3 1925, 1984, 1990
Flag of Italy.svg  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

YearTeamNotes
Home Nations Championship
1908 Flag of Wales (1807-1953).svg  Wales *see note above
1909 Flag of Wales (1807-1953).svg  Wales *see note above
Five Nations Championship
1911 Flag of Wales (1807-1953).svg  Wales Also with the Triple Crown.
1913 Flag of England.svg  England Also with the Triple Crown.
1914 Flag of England.svg  England Already won the Triple Crown.
1915–19No tournament due to World War I
1921 Flag of England.svg  England Already won the Triple Crown.
1923 Flag of England.svg  England Already won the Triple Crown.
1924 Flag of England.svg  England Also won the Triple Crown.
1925 Flag of Scotland.svg  Scotland Also won the Triple Crown.
1928 Flag of England.svg  England Also won the Triple Crown.
193239 France was suspended from the Five Nations Championship
1940–46No tournament due to World War II
1948 IRFU flag.svg  Ireland Also won the Triple Crown.
1950 Flag of Wales (1807-1953).svg  Wales Already won the Triple Crown.
1952 Flag of Wales (1807-1953).svg  Wales Already won the Triple Crown.
1957 Flag of England.svg  England Already won the Triple Crown.
1968 Flag of France.svg  France
1971 Flag of Wales (1959-present).svg  Wales Already won the Triple Crown.
1976 Flag of Wales (1959-present).svg  Wales Already won the Triple Crown.
1977 Flag of France.svg  France
1978 Flag of Wales (1959-present).svg  Wales Already won the Triple Crown.
1980 Flag of England.svg  England Also won the Triple Crown.
1981 Flag of France.svg  France
1984 Flag of Scotland.svg  Scotland Already won the Triple Crown.
1987 Flag of France.svg  France
1990 Flag of Scotland.svg  Scotland Also won the Triple Crown.
1991 Flag of England.svg  England Already won the Triple Crown.
1992 Flag of England.svg  England Also won the Triple Crown.
1995 Flag of England.svg  England Also won the Triple Crown.
1997 Flag of France.svg  France
1998 Flag of France.svg  France
Six Nations Championship
2002 Flag of France.svg  France
2003 Flag of England.svg  England Also won the Triple Crown.
2004 Flag of France.svg  France
2005 Flag of Wales (1959-present).svg  Wales Also won the Triple Crown.
2008 Flag of Wales (1959-present).svg  Wales Already won the Triple Crown.
2009 IRFU flag.svg  Ireland Also won the Triple Crown.
2010 Flag of France.svg  France
2012 Flag of Wales (1959-present).svg  Wales Already won the Triple Crown.
2016 Flag of England.svg  England Already won the Triple Crown.
2018 IRFU flag.svg  Ireland Also won the Triple Crown.
2019 Flag of Wales (1959-present).svg  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

Flag of South Africa.svg  South Africa 1912–13, 1931–32, 1951–52, 1960–61
Flag of New Zealand.svg  New Zealand 1978, 2005, 2008, 2010
Flag of Australia (converted).svg  Australia 1984

Grand Slam tours

YearTeamAchievedResultScores
Flag of England.svg  England IRFU flag.svg  Ireland Flag of Scotland.svg  Scotland Flag of Wales (1959-present).svg  Wales
1905–06 Flag of New Zealand.svg  New Zealand No3–115–015–012–70–3
1906–07 Flag of the United Kingdom.svg  South Africa No2–13–315–120–611–0
1912–13 South Africa Flag 1910-1912.svg  South Africa Yes4–09–338–016–03–0
1927–28 Flag of Australia (converted).svg  Australia No2–211–185–38–1018–8
1931–32 Flag of South Africa (1928-1994).svg  South Africa Yes4–07–08–36–38–3
1935–36 Flag of New Zealand.svg  New Zealand No2–20–1317–918–812–13
1939–40 Flag of Australia (converted).svg  Australia Cancelled due to World War II
1947–48 Flag of Australia (converted).svg  Australia No3–111–016–316–70–6
1951–52 Flag of South Africa (1928-1994).svg  South Africa Yes4–08–317–544–06–3
1953–54 Flag of New Zealand.svg  New Zealand No3–15–014–33–08–13
1957–58 Flag of Australia (converted).svg  Australia No0–46–96–98–123–9
1960–61 Flag of South Africa (1928-1994).svg  South Africa Yes4–05–08–312–53–0
1963–64 Flag of New Zealand.svg  New Zealand No3–014–06–50–06–0
1966–67 Flag of Australia (converted).svg  Australia No2–223–118–155–1114–11
1969–70 Flag of South Africa (1928-1994).svg  South Africa No0–28–118–83–66–6
1972–73 Flag of New Zealand.svg  New Zealand No3–09–010–1014–919–16
1975–76 Flag of Australia (converted).svg  Australia No1–36–2320–103–103–28
1978 Flag of New Zealand.svg  New Zealand Yes4–016–610–618–913–12
1981–82 Flag of Australia (converted).svg  Australia No1–311–1516–1215–2413–18
1984 Flag of Australia (converted).svg  Australia Yes4–019–316–937–1228–9
1998 Flag of South Africa.svg  South Africa No3–17–1327–1335–1028–20
2004 Flag of South Africa.svg  South Africa No2–216–3212–1745–1038–36
2005 Flag of New Zealand.svg  New Zealand Yes4–023–1945–729–1041–3
2008 Flag of New Zealand.svg  New Zealand Yes4–032–622–332–629–9
2009 Flag of Australia (converted).svg  Australia No2–118–920–208–933–12
2010 Flag of New Zealand.svg  New Zealand Yes4–026–1638–1849–337–25
Flag of South Africa.svg  South Africa No3–121–1123–2117–2129–25
2013 Flag of Australia (converted).svg  Australia No3–113–2032–1521–1530–26
2016 Flag of Australia (converted).svg  Australia No2–221–3724–2723–2232–8
Total9–1917–1–1021–3–418–1–920–1–7

The Rugby Championship

YearTeamNotes
Tri Nations Series
1996 Flag of New Zealand.svg  New Zealand
1997 Flag of New Zealand.svg  New Zealand
1998 Flag of South Africa.svg  South Africa
2003 Flag of New Zealand.svg  New Zealand
2010 Flag of New Zealand.svg  New Zealand
The Rugby Championship
2012 Flag of New Zealand.svg  New Zealand
2013 Flag of New Zealand.svg  New Zealand
2015 Flag of Australia (converted).svg  Australia Only played the 3 games due to the 2015 Rugby World Cup.
2016 Flag of New Zealand.svg  New Zealand
2017 Flag of New Zealand.svg  New Zealand

Rugby Europe Championship

YearTeamNotes
FIRA Tournament
1938 Flag of France (1794-1815, 1830-1958).svg  France
FIRA Nations Cup
1965–66 Flag of France.svg  France A
1966–67 Flag of France.svg  France A
1967–68 Flag of France.svg  France A
1968–69 Flag of Romania (1965-1989).svg  Romania
1969–70 Flag of France.svg  France A
1970–71 Flag of France.svg  France A
1971–72 Flag of France.svg  France A
1972–73 Flag of France.svg  France A
FIRA Trophy
1973–74 Flag of France.svg  France A
1975–76 Flag of France.svg  France A
1976–77 Flag of Romania (1965-1989).svg  Romania
1977–78 Flag of France.svg  France A
1978–79 Flag of France.svg  France A
1979–80 Flag of France.svg  France A
1980–81 Flag of Romania (1965-1989).svg  Romania
1982–83 Flag of Romania (1965-1989).svg  Romania
1983–84 Flag of France.svg  France A
1984–85 Flag of France.svg  France A
1986–87 Flag of France.svg  France A France won in 1986 as this was played in a two-year cycle.
1988–89 Flag of France.svg  France A France won in 1989 as this was played in a two-year cycle.
1991–92 Flag of France.svg  France A France won in 1991 and 1992 as this was played in a two-year cycle.
European Nations Cup First Division
2000–01 Flag of Georgia (1990-2004).svg  Georgia
2001–02 Flag of Romania.svg  Romania
2003–04 Flag of Portugal.svg  Portugal Portugal won in 2003 as this was played in a two-year cycle.
2007–08 Flag of Georgia.svg  Georgia Georgia won in 2008 as this was played in a two-year cycle.
2011–12 Flag of Georgia.svg  Georgia Georgia won in 2011 as this was played in a two-year cycle.
2013–14 Flag of Georgia.svg  Georgia Georgia won in 2014 as this was played in a two-year cycle.
2015–16 Flag of Georgia.svg  Georgia Georgia won in 2016 as this was played in a two-year cycle.
Rugby Europe Championship
2018 Flag of Georgia.svg  Georgia
2019 Flag of Georgia.svg  Georgia

See also

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References

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