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Six Nations: Six of the Best - Wales v France

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Bryn Palmer | 15:12 UK time, Wednesday, 14 March 2012

Welcome to the final week of our Six of the Best series, the chance to remind you of some of the most memorable matches associated with a particular Six Nations fixture.

This time it comes with a slight twist: not just the best Wales v France games down the years (otherwise some famous Welsh victories in Paris - 1999 (34-33), 2001 (43-35) and 2005 (24-18) - might also have been included), but six Grand Slam deciders between the countries, given the context of Saturday's momentous encounter in Cardiff.

Wales have completed four of their last five Grand Slams against France, while the French have also wrapped up two of their nine clean sweeps - in 1968 and 1998 - against Wales, as well as denying Wales another Slam in Cardiff in 1988.

Check out the video here, and as always, do share your own memories of these matches, as well as your thoughts on how the latest instalment will unfold on Sunday.

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1971: France 5-9 Wales

It was fitting that three of the real legends of Welsh rugby should play such a central role in clinching the first of their three Grand Slams of the 1970s, and Wales' first for 19 years. An interception from the great JPR Williams, a 60m dash up the left touchline, a step inside and pass the other way to Gareth Edwards saw the iconic scrum-half grab the first of two Welsh tries. The second featured a trademark swivel of the hips and acceleration from his half-back partner Barry John. "That's quality for you," marvelled commentator Cliff Morgan. France had shared the title with Wales the previous year, but captain John Dawes marked his final Test for his country by leading them to an era-defining victory.

1976: Wales 19-13 France

This time it was the turn of another legendary captain, Mervyn ("Merve the Swerve") Davies - who also played in the 1971 triumph - to lead his country to Grand Slam success in his final game for Wales. An emotional day in the Principality began when Gareth Edwards ran on to the old Arms Park alone to recognise him becoming Wales' most capped player (at the time). France out-scored their hosts two tries to one, JJ Williams finishing off a backs move in the left corner. Wales were indebted to the power of their pack, with the Pontypool front row of Graham Price, Charlie Faulkner, Bobby Windsor and Graham Price in situ. Lock Allan Martin even kicked one of Wales' five penalties. The match was also memorable for a try-saving JPR tackle that barged French wing Jean-Francois Gourdon into touch in the right corner. Ouch.

1978: Wales 16-7 France

Edwards and another Wales legend, Phil Bennett, bowed out of international rugby on the same day in appropriate style. Bennett signed off with two tries, the first after a trademark dummy, the second after an Edwards break and inside pass from JJ Williams on the right touchline. France, who were aiming for a second successive Grand Slam themselves, could not give Jean-Claude Skrela the farewell he wanted, but the celebrated flanker did score their only try. Instead, as Bill McLaren commentated, it was "the whole of Wales absolutely overjoyed, because they have got the Grand Slam back again".

1988: Wales 9-10 France

On this occasion France did spoil the Welsh party. Wales had already won the Triple Crown, but the defending champions prevailed on the final day in Cardiff to deny Jonathan Davies's side a Grand Slam and earn themselves a share of the championship, the last year the title was shared before points difference came into play. French fly-half Jean-Patrick Lescarboura wriggled over in the left corner to put the visitors ahead and, while Wales responded when Ieuan Evans won the chase to his own kick-ahead to finish off a flowing move, the hosts fell agonisingly short.

1998: Wales 0-51 France

A warning of what France can do when the mood takes them. A vintage Tricolores side - which had already scored seven tries in a 51-16 win against Scotland in the same campaign, ran riot at a sunlit Wembley, where Wales had relocated while work was under way on the new Millennium Stadium. The French, orchestrated by a bleach-blond Thomas Castaignede at fly-half, plundered another seven tries at the home of English football, full-back Jean-Luc Sadourny and wing Xavier Garbajosa grabbing a brace apiece. Captain Raphael Ibanez raised the trophy in triumph after his side became only the fifth in championship history to complete back-to-back Grand Slams.

2008: Wales 29-12 France

After an impressive Wales victory over Ireland the previous week, Cardiff was awash with Grand Slam fever for the second time in four years. But despite Wales leading 6-0 and 9-3, tension had set in with France level at 9-9 as the match entered the final quarter. Cometh the hour...cometh Shane Williams. A French move broke down on halfway, and the wing wizard seized on the loose ball, kicked ahead and controlled it again with his left foot before touching down under the posts to break the game open, and set a new Wales try-scoring record. Three minutes from time, after a couple of Stephen Jones penalties put Wales 22-12 clear, Eddie Butler wondered in commentary: "Is the Grand Slam going to be won with something just a little bit special?" Martyn Williams duly picked up at the back of the ruck, dummied his way through a gap and sprinted away to score from 25m. Relief and euphoria all round.

Comments

  • Comment number 1.

    Do we not deserve to be called a country? Being called a principality irks me.

  • Comment number 2.

    1998 wasn't a Grand Slam decider. I should know, I was there sadly.

  • Comment number 3.

    I know its not on here, but the 2005 Welsh win in Paris was such a compelling game, France sublime in the first half, Wales, had France rocking throughout the second. Stephen Jones' with an immense second half performance, started with that run in the build up to M. Williams first try.
    Here it is.
    http://www.bbc.co.uk/sport/0/rugby-union/15256600

  • Comment number 4.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 5.

    no4. That's absolutely brilliant! And I think you must be very proud of thinking it up, because you used it in another blog too! Are you going to deploy it in any more?

  • Comment number 6.

    The Internet has reached the valleys and we also have toilets in doors these days! But I prefer to talk about rugby. There have been some memorable matches throughout the years but I must stress that WelshLatic has it right on the 2005 front as that match was absolutely fantastic with both sides producing total rugby for 40 minutes each. Martin Williams putting that ball down against the upright again a great advertisement for someone knowing the rules at such a crucial point in the game. An amazing spectacle and one that will always get your pulse racing even after knowing the result. Come on Wales!

  • Comment number 7.

    SuperLeedsSuperSnodders23 - That's right, NO ONE in Wales has the internet and EVERYONE in Wales lives in the valleys... stick to what you know (two facts floundering in an Olympic-size swimming pool there me thinks... Oh, one's just poppped out the side there... oh, now the other's drowned - shame...)

    Just watched highlights of the 1976 encounter and stand out moment has to be JPR's try-saving tackle on Gourdon - not the best technique, but commitment second to non - he looked outers for about a minute - but played on... tough times in rugby.

    As has been mentioned before, 2005 Martyn Williams' quick thinking in Paris changed that match for us, thankfully...

    Nervous - very nervous... (nice nervous though...)

  • Comment number 8.

    @6 - I don't know why you have toilets in doors, you should put them in rooms, preferably the one with the bath in.

    Anyway, this is getting silly.

    This slam reminds me alot of the Welsh slam in 2005 - the best of a bad bunch. Wales have been the better team - but in reality I don't think the southern hemisphere teams should be quaking in their boots. Shanklin before the last game got all a little excited about Wales - saying they were unebeatable - and he was not just referring to the Italy team.

    I still don't see this Welsh team taking the important steps necessary. They were lucky against Ireland, very lucky and hardly convincing against an England team that still lacks coherence.

    If they beat France, well done to them, but after their 05 Grand Slam they finished second bottom in 06.

    No team gets quite as hyped as Wales when they win a few games in the Northern Hemisphere, but in reality, this team struggled against England, should have lost against Ireland, and struggled against an awful Scottish side for 40mins is not likely to do much in the Southern Hemisphere.

    So instead of getting all giddy about winning a mediocre Six Nations turn your thoughts to whether you are good enough against the SH teams.

    Even the most honest Welsh fans should accept they have still got a lot of work to do.

  • Comment number 9.

    Thinking about it - he didn't play on... that must've registered on the Richter scale for JPR to come off...

  • Comment number 10.

    Martyn Williams' grounding the ball against the post in '05 was in the Italy game, not the France one. But I agree that Paris victory really set the pulse racing. One of the best games in 6N history.

  • Comment number 11.

    @8 - couldn't agree more re comments re this Welsh team versus SH opposition. It will be very interesting to see how they do in Australia, particularly as apparently the coach is going to be Gatland, the captain Warburton and the test team Welsh. I have seen nothing in this Welsh team yet that suggests they are a force to reckon with on the world stage. Notwithstanding that if they win on saturday it will be a terrific achievement. To win 3 GS in 8 years is a wonderful feat and I will take my hat off to them. It doesn't matter if some of the teams they have played have been ordinary it is still a great effort. The true test for Wales is if they can compete with the big boys of world rugby, something they haven't managed for a couple of generations.

  • Comment number 12.

    Tinoflyer @ 8.................. You may be right in saying we have a lot to work on but the majority of our squad are under 25, so barring career threatening injuries, I'd say the future looks promising.

    That aside, the facts are ..... played 4, won 4!

    I'd rather play mediocre and win than play well and lose................ as with most sports, nobody remembers who finishes 2nd, 3rd, 4th or 5th, but people remember who wins and who gets the wooden spoon and being Welsh, we had our fair share of wooden spoons in the 80's and 90's.

    When your at the top, people want to knock you off.............. guess it's something we'll have to get used to.

    Best moment in the videos......... JPR's tackle in the corner..... OUCH!

  • Comment number 13.

    France have a decent record away to Wales, but their form in this Six Nations is a notch below where it was in the World Cup, and Wales's recent results favour them clinching the Grand Slam at the weekend...

  • Comment number 14.

    Aagggh that 51-0 still sends a shudder down my spine and reminds me of the bad old days when internal politics, amatuerism and a lack of pride in the shirt had besmirched our glorious reputation to a laughing stock. Never again. I believe we will win in style on Saturday and take our rightful place amongst the top four in the world. To all the naysayers and backbiting Englishmen I say look at 98 and look at us now.

    We can now compete with the tri-nations teams and I believe things are going to be a great deal different from now on. We won't win every game, but we will play with pride, passion, streetwise rugby with technical precision, superb fitness power and pace and be a potent threat to every team we play, wherever we play. Forget about New England, the new, young and exciting Wales are back at the top of world rugby so NZ, Australia and SA better prepare for some tough encounters to come because things have changed and Wales are and will continue to be a force in world rugby...

  • Comment number 15.

    Remember '76 and '78 and was at the other three..'88 was a miserable day,stood in the old east terrace in the rain whilst the French rained on the grand slam parade(wasn't a 'decider' but a 'denier' similar to few England suffered a few years down the line, gut wrenching experience) '98 was just horrific,an embarassment, the first time I went to Wembley and not something to treasure, I decided to go once again the next season and we unexpectedly beat England..loved the place then..'08 was probably the most routine win against France for many years(at least that's how I remember it now,never really felt in doubt)...Roll on Saturday,who knows what side of bed France will get out of...
    I meet plenty of Welsh rugby followers and most who know a bit about the game know that there's a lot of over the top hype generated by the media who's basic principle is always to 'build 'em up and knock 'em down' but nevertheless 3 G.S's(hopefully) in 8 yrs,a pretty competitive R.W.C showing and the emergence of a depth of good young talent is reason to be pretty cheerful.
    There was a time not so long ago when defections to Rugby League ripped the heart out of successive welsh teams and most of the current back division would've been snapped up in absolutely no time,that this no longer happens and that these players will be around for a long time is my biggest reason to be cheerful when I think about it..

  • Comment number 16.

    @14 Redgrandslam- dream on! "Rightful place amongst the top four in the world". Please explain why it is Wales rightful place! "We can now compete with the Tri Nations". How have you made that massive assumption? "Wales are now back at the top of world rugby". I would be delighted to hear what the evidence of that is. I have read some priceless posts in my time but yours has to be one of the finest! Why not wait till you have won on Saturday, then regularly beaten the SH teams home and away before you start bragging so arrogantly. Is what you are taking on prescription or is it available over the counter?

  • Comment number 17.

    "We can now compete with the Tri Nations"
    ---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    Yeah that got me wondering too...when people say what I like most about the british, I always say their humour, another fine example of why

  • Comment number 18.

    France haven't clicked this 6N tournament but neither have Wales. England have won all their away games and so have Wales. Wales have to date won their home games and England haven't.

    That the trend continues this weekend.

  • Comment number 19.

    @17BlueBlancRouge - I think this is "Welsh" humour not British! Either way it is still hilarious.

  • Comment number 20.

    Numbnuts evidence?! 4th in the world cup backed up by a grandslam seems pretty good evidence to me. Yes we lost by fine margins in the RWC, but this years AIs will see a complete reversal of fortunes. Yes France could win they are a side after all that is capable of losing to poor teams such as Tonga/England one week and then beating topdraw teams of the calibre of NZ and by definition Wales the next! Just can't see it happening this weekend. As I say we won't win every game but things are going to be pretty tight from now on and I fancy we'll come out on top in a fair few of our encounters with the SH. You don't need drugs when you support such a confident and competent outfit such as Cymru my friend!!! C'mon Wales, c'mon Ireland!!!

  • Comment number 21.

    Highlight of 2008 decider:
    2nd Half, French put-in to scrum, 5yds from Welsh line.
    Wales push France off the ball, and clear to touch.
    Stadium erupts, game over, the rest was inconsequential :-)

  • Comment number 22.

    #8 - 'getting all giddy about winning a mediocre Six Nations'

    Isn't this the same line we heard in '05 & '08? Yeah, Wales are only ever contenders when it's a 'mediocre' tournament.
    What you and Numbnuts (apt name by the way) haven't recognised is that Wales are also a team in transition; Sam Warburton's first as captain, Priestland's first at pivot, debut Six Nations for Faletau, North, Tipuric, Shingler, Webb, Lloyd Williams and Cuthbert.

    Wales are showing great character to keep going to the last minute and punish opposition mistakes. That sort of thing doesn't happen by accident. If we lose on Saturday I'll be gutted but it'll have still been a tremendous tournament from such a young and inexperienced team. The same goes for England too.

  • Comment number 23.

    Derycr, strangely the things I remember in that game are the shocking kick off and the French scrum that got driven back quite some distance, that Grand slam was rather comfortable in the sense they only conceded 2 tries but this time around there is no stand out team I guess.

    As for people saying we have been lucky you could say the same for England against Italy/Scotland.
    Wales have become better after the world cup at closing out games a criticism which has been said for many years but will it last we have to wait and see. I think Wales have played well overall but the opposition have tried to turn the matches into an arm wrestle. The first 40 against the Irish was pretty intense from Wales but priestland has a shocker with the boot. It would be nice to see wales have a better plan B we saw a bit of it against England when priestland had the yellow.

    I see people trolling about how we are the rightful number four ranked side if we win the GS but those who know rugby know there is almost always nothing between France/Wales/England/Ireland just look at the last 4 years in the Six nations, it’s all about momentum and confidence. The ranking doesn’t mean much outside of the world cup draw.

    Wales have a lot of potential and so does almost every other six nations side with a lot youth coming through, if things keep up we could have a sick lions team.

    I am looking forward to next week, france always look to put in a good performance after a loss and I could see this match turning into another arm wrestle, the Ireland v England game will be interesting but I think Ireland have a bit of an edge over England in recent times.

  • Comment number 24.

    @20RedGrandSlam - thanks for the explanation! I think you are in serious need of treatment. I "look forward" to your predictions coming true! I hope you don't mind if I don't put any bets on Welsh world dominance!! Thanks for your posts. Biggest laugh this pub has had in years when I showed to my mates one of whom is Welsh! He thinks you are bonkers. 4th in the WC. Wow! That really is something!

  • Comment number 25.

    For what it's worth...it's the media that are getting all over exited about the Welsh team (plus a few deluded creatures that have escaped from the Llareggub home for the Bewildered). Having said all that it is a good feeling to haave a competitive side again. Yes...we have got to take on the SH teams and get better results (or any result if I think about it!!!), but it is pleasant to be able to look forward to an international test match with a bit of possitivity.

    I remember, all too well, the green shoots of progress being cut short post 1988 when an entire generation of test rugby players trooped off North for the 13 man code (who can blame them). One of my greatest regrets was not being able to see the nucleus of that side play for Wales (J Davies, Hadley, Devereux, Gibbs, R Phillips, D Young, Moriarty, Bateman, Ellis et al). I then had to sit by and watch the game that I love destroyed by incompetance, in fighting and increasingly bizarre decisions (the Neath mafia debacle anyone?).

    Over the 40 odd years of watching 5/6 nations rugby, there will always be times when some teams seem to be better than others (luck & judgement in equal measure methinks). I am not so myopic or bitter to decry the success of other sides (except the Boks of course...joking by the way). England under Woodward were outstanding, the O'Driscoll years sublime and the French will always quicken my pulse whenever they play. However, as a dyed in the wool Welsh supporter, who has been through the rugby supporters mangle over the decades, it gives me a warm fuzzy feeling when I watch the boys play well.

    Good luck on saturday, boys.

  • Comment number 26.

    @22Bluesetc - if you read my posts you will see that I have expressed my admiration for Wales and stated another GS would be a terrific performance. I am not totally convinced that Wales are going to dominate the world like some posters (RedGrandSlam) think! A few narrow wins and you guys think you are gods gift to rugby! Frightening how you welsh are so easily deluded. Glad you like the name by the way! Your insult is a meaningless cheap shot.

  • Comment number 27.

    1



    Start acting like an independent country, then we will call you one.

  • Comment number 28.

    @25nannymassive - great post. A nice objective assessment. RedGrandSlam - read and learn. A bit of modesty, humility and appreciation of other teams shouldn't be too difficult for you.

  • Comment number 29.

    #26 - Ah come on, you're setting yourself up for a fall picking a name like that now aren't you? (Unless your parents actually called you that, in which case I'm truly sorry!)

    I agree that we're not world beaters at the moment. There's definitely room for optimism but the big test for our world standing is Australia in June. If we win that series then the crowing will carry some serious weight. I'm not one to jump on the bandwagon just yet, but I also think this Wales team has more potential than the '05 & '08 ones due to this (fingers crossed) success being built on a team with so much inexperience and youth.

    And where you say some posters are deluded, just remember that in Wales over the last 20 years it's rarely middle of the road, we're either very tasty or (mostly) very lousy. England always seem to maintain a good level even if not winning tournaments (like reaching the WC final '07 with a very average team), so your fans probably find it easier to keep feet to ground than ours.

  • Comment number 30.

    @25 very good post. It is an exciting team, the welsh, when they are playing well, and its good that you have confidence in them. However as good and exciting as the 6nations are wales, much like us need a wc win to say that we dominate the world, even just for those few years. Thats the ultimate test, since as you say the top4 in 6 nations are fairly close.

  • Comment number 31.

    For those who have been annoyed by the "Wales gets internet" thing there was an article in Viz on this very subject some time ago - http://www.flickr.com/photos/samsmith/3619752897/ - which is hilarious, particularly Bonnie Tyler's domain name.

  • Comment number 32.

    RedGrandSlam - you are a joke Welshman; the sort of which your more reasonable compatroits must despair. You have the temerity to call the English arrogant and then leap to unfounded conclusions about Wales' place in the rugby world based on what? Yes, Wales have played some decent rugby this term, but please, you are just the cliche of cliches in terms of quantum leaps of hysterical proportions. Let me remind you of something: there can only ever be one NH team that was the first to win a World Cup, and that same team is STILL (repeat STILL) the only NH team to have beaten all three SH teams home and away. In fact, we had already achieved that in the 1970s, when your great Welsh team was at the peak of its powers. By the way, do you realise that the All Blacks decided, after the 1970/71 Lions tour, that they had seen the way rugby needed to be played and so adapted accordingly. That Lions team was predominantly Welsh. They were great players, and modest. The current team cannot yet hold a candle to them and I am here to predict that, while they may become very good indeed, they won't scale those heights. Indeed, you struggled against a very junior England team, which will get better and come hunting you down. But please, in the meantime, learn some level of perspective and humility. Great champions (including their supporters) don't brag. I remember feeling great respect for Scott Gibbs when he congratulated England on the 2003 win - he showed proper class and sportsmanship, as I knew he would. You, on the other hand.........

  • Comment number 33.

    @29 - yes I am but great name isn't it! Thanks for explaining the irrationality of your compatriots. I don't want to rain on your parade but I don't think Wales are even close to being World beaters. Still it doesn't stop you dreaming. I feel genuinely sorry for the Welsh players if they have to put up with the sort of mindless expectation and fantasies that have been portrayed in the various posts here. I will doff my cap when you start beating SH teams regularly and doing better than 4th in the RWC (which seems to have been deemed a brilliant performance)! Anyway good luck on Saturday. Should be a good game and who knows maybe the start of Wales' world domination with a RWC win at Twickenham in 2015 against the All Blacks!

  • Comment number 34.

    @32Cullodenhaha - brilliant post. Couldn't agree more.

  • Comment number 35.

    @Cullodenhaha

    incidently, when was the last time you won away at the three SH?

  • Comment number 36.

    @35BleuBlancRouge - permit me to answer:- Australia June 2010, New Zealand June 2003, South Africa June 2000.

  • Comment number 37.

    oh dear you know wales are doing well when posters like numbnuts start popping up on these forums with their small minded jealousy filled invective. How such posters must have hated it when scott williams burst thru at twickenham...how they must hate it every time wales win the grand slam......the prospect of us winning our third grand slam in 8 seasons must be making their lives a misery...when all they have to keep them going is decade old past glories that will soon have faded into obscurity.

  • Comment number 38.

    @ numbnuts

    many thanks!

  • Comment number 39.

    I am a proud welshman who think we are doing OK if we win the GS we will have deserved to scored a lot of tries missed few tackles less then everyone else.No country has a god given right to be top of the tree but to my english friends i ask one question? If England has the largest pool of players why on earth is your team full of the commonwealth. personnally as i am going to OZ to watch Lions next year i look forward to peaople like North backing up Foden and Farrell and Roberts working in tandem
    Anyway good luck to all at the weekend

  • Comment number 40.

    "with the Pontypool front row of Graham Price, Charlie Faulkner, Bobby Windsor and Graham Price in situ."

    No wonder they were so good, they played Graham Price twice!

  • Comment number 41.

    @37 leighrichards what a condescending and patronising reply. Sorry for popping up. I didn't realise it was a private Welsh only blog! If you actually read my posts you will see, as I have said before, that if Wales win I will be full of admiration. It will, as I have said before, be a fantastic achievement. Jealous of Wales! You must be joking mate. I just don't like, and neither do most of your normal compatriots, people posting such garbage as to suggest Wales are now going to take on the world, are world beaters can take on the SH teams etc! I suggest it is you who are jealous of England's numerous achievements against all teams including the best in the world. Jealous of Wales! Never laughed so much. When and IF Wales start emulating England's achievements (I am happy to remind you of what they were) then is the time for you to start bragging. Until then I suggest a little modesty and humility from you. Life has a way of bringing you crashing to the ground so I wouldn't get to euphoric about Wales yet. Well done to them so far.

  • Comment number 42.

    @ admorgan - it was for the French.

  • Comment number 43.

    @32- Cullodenhaha, which Welsh players haven't shown patience, humility and perspective? Which Welsh players have not shown the upmost respect for the opposition? It's a shame when your post obviously shows you have a degree of intelligence - and then you take the view of a handful of overly excited Welsh supporters and presume the Welsh squad and the rest of us more grounded Welsh supporters are exactly the same.

    From what I have seen the players have been model professionals and have actively tried not to get carried away with the expectations the Welsh public put on them during this wonderful competition. Most people I know have no belief that the Welsh are the best in the World - we are just pleased that they look like a promising group of players with potential to do well.

  • Comment number 44.

    What the hell is going on here?

    This is a blog about a few rather good Welsh-French encounters and it just descends into petty idiotic squabbling.

    The same old peope over and over, bunch of clarts the lot of you

  • Comment number 45.

    Theone

    Clarts ?

  • Comment number 46.

    Its a bit a slang i picked up when i was in Jamaica, you can draw your own conclusions as to what i really mean.

  • Comment number 47.

    Theone

    Hahahahah yeah, I work in a prison, and have been referred to as one by a rastafarian before.........nice.

  • Comment number 48.

    Numbnuts - a quick question. Are England potential world beaters? They're looking good right now - starting to play some good rugby, a young team, the possibility of a settled coaching regime coming their way. I wonder if you would dream that they might match the SH teams? Even win the world cup one day. Now be honest...

    It's a yes, isn't it. See how that looks? But you're right to say yes. After all, they've done it before. So...why not Wales? Who plenty of neutrals might put ahead in terms of the standout players on their slate as of now. Are Wales not allowed to state that ambition without being howled at? I can understand BTW that perceived arrogance by some Welsh posters is winding you up - but do understand that Welsh supporters are a bit excited right now - we've had plenty of time in the desert after all. And in all that time you'll know we've had to put up with our own fair share of arrogance from certain quarters...

    One thing's for sure - there are going to be some epic England v Wales games in the near future. Nice to think these 'new-generation' teams might be building the firepower to regularly match the SH...

    And now on to skid on the big French banana-skin...

  • Comment number 49.

    Can I bring a level of civility and sense to some of the early Wales/England bashing.

    I'm a Welshman and have to say this is far from a mediocre 6N. However I will say Wales haven't played brilliantly and have benifitted from some ref decisions, but a sign of a good team team is when they aint playing well they still win, if we play awful on Saturday and win I'll still be bouncing off the walls in an extremly drunken stuper!!

    As for Wales being "World beaters" I, like 99% of Welsh supporters, will reserve judgement until the next time we play one of em. Even if we beat one of em I'll still need convincing that were wrold dominators.... however thats not to I dont think we could become this. This young side is dynamic and pwerful and exciting and not over confident or arrogant. But there is still a very long way to go until world domination, lets not get carried away here fellow Welshys, the English still have the high ground! :-)

    I think the England team look to be summit special as well, I hope they do become so as the Wales/England battles would become even more epic!! Good luck to you.

    I'm all for Welsh/English/Irish/Italian/French banter as long as its in good spirits, heck I'll even let the Scottish get involved sometime (sorry, missus is Scottish) but this football style of bickering has no place here.

    As for Wales having the internet, thats debatable in my house with Sky supplying it... but yes we do, we have electricity, we dont all work in a mine, make love to wooly animals or live in Valleys....

    We've even stopped pointing at cars and planes....

    Although a mint condish Serria Cosworth drove past me the other day and i did actually point at it! But I dont point at planes anymore.... Much.

  • Comment number 50.

    I've enjoyed these 6 of the best series but my only complaint is that they really have focused on England and Wales. Now this one you can't really complain about as let's be honest it's the natural choice but so far we've had England 3 times and Wales 3 times on it. Including one for the England v Wales match. Whilst Scotland have been featured twice, Ireland once and France twice I can't help get the impression this is because they were playing either England or Wales. Anyway small complaint and maybe I should be grateful for a good look back.

    In terms of tomorrows games I'd love to see France really turn on the style and take Wales to the cleaners, as this would really help England's slim hopes of the championship, however I'd be surprised. I see wins for Scotland, Wales and England.

  • Comment number 51.

    dragonsbreath you ask if England are world beaters at the moment. I'd say not really. I'd say we'd have a fair chance against South Africa who were fairly unimpressive at the world cup, a slim chance against Australia and no chance against New Zealand. However there is a lot of potential in the England team. Farrell has the potential to be a really good 10 and in it for the long haul, Tualagi and Barritt seem to be the kind of centre partnership we've been missing for a while, Morgan looks like the kind of quick ball carrying no. 8 we've been missing for years. All that said it's very early days but it seems to be coming together.

  • Comment number 52.

    This has been a mediocre 6 nations? Why because France or England won't win it! Nonsense this has been the most intense and profesional 6 nations to date and its a matter of fact that every team in this 6 nations would beat the 2003 England Team with some considerable margin of comfort.

    Modesty, Humililty nah you can keep those Numbnuts et al they don't win you much. Compare England and Australias sporting records over the decades for your evidence of that ;)

  • Comment number 53.

    RedGrandslam

    Modesty, humility wins you a lot kid. Respect for a start. Yes this has been a good six nations, the best I can remeber for a long time, but realistically you cannot compare any of the sides to England's 2003 team. Nice that you, as a Welshman hold them so high in regard though.

    p>s England's record against Australia in recent times at most sports is quite good is it not, What about comparing Wales to Australia.... oops sorry ;)

  • Comment number 54.

    @1 - We are in fact finally a country, huzzah!

    Although it seems that piece of information has been missed by the BBC who continually refer to us as a Principality. Turns out some clever lady from Plaid Cymru pointed out that as the Prince of Wales has no ruling power (which is the definition of a Principality) that Wales cannot be a Principality. Now we're a big boyo country like everyone else!

    For me I'd agree that the 2005 game should be above. France were incredible in the 1st half, blew Wales away. Wales played non-stop, quick-tap rugby in the 2nd leading to a great comeback and a memorable win. The game was immense though, France still pushing for the winning converted try into overtime... knock on!

    Looking forward to Saturday, should be a cracker and I think Wales will be good for the win.

    @ Numbnuts - RedGrandSlam is perhaps being slightly over-optimistic, but that's all it is, optimism and belief. I don't think it's fair to berate him for that. You should also get over the anti-Welsh sentiments (which are clearly there), if you met most of us I'm sure you'd like us as much as I like most English ;)

    Anyone know if Ferris was misquoted in the article about England being bad losers the other day? Or is he looking to get smashed by Tuilagi?

  • Comment number 55.

    Think it may have been a missquote as the British press are not renowned for their factual information are they ;)

    However as I quoted somewhere else, it would be nice to see Tuilagi or Barritt scrag O'Gara, he gets right on my wick him like.

  • Comment number 56.

    Re.53 Some inadvertent comedy from smackeyes; he gently explains:

    "RedGrandslam

    Modesty, humility wins you a lot kid. Respect for a start."

    ...and then shows us all how it's done...

    "...but realistically you cannot compare any of the sides to England's 2003 team."

    It's been a lesson...

  • Comment number 57.

    By realistically not being able to compare the 2003 team to todays sides, I merely meant they were a different era in time, not that they were THAT much better than the teams today. Apologies for any confusion Dragonsbreath

  • Comment number 58.

    Any body disagree that the teams occupying 1, 2 & 3 are there because they deserve to be? You can take the last 2 minutes of Ire v Wal and Eng v Wales with different scenarios and the table could look a whole lot different but the same 3 teams would be there.

    I think its great that France have nothing to play for when you consider how close to mugging NZ they came in the RWC. Nice to see the balance of power has shifted back across the Channel, the next Lions tour is going to be very interesting....... who'd like to pick the back row? Because as I see it, 2 out of every 3 from the four countries could get picked (no, I'm not Scottish........ shame they've got nobody from 10, 12 & 13 who knows what to do with the ball!)

  • Comment number 59.

    No.43 laughing_gravy "@32- Cullodenhaha, which Welsh players haven't shown patience, humility and perspective? Which Welsh players have not shown the upmost respect for the opposition? It's a shame when your post obviously shows you have a degree of intelligence - and then you take the view of a handful of overly excited Welsh supporters and presume the Welsh squad and the rest of us more grounded Welsh supporters are exactly the same."

    --------------------------------------------------------------------------------

    Thank you for your kind words about my intelligence. I seem to recall writing at the very beginning, about RedGrandslam, not about the Welsh people, that he was "the sort of which your more reasonable compatroits must despair. You have the temerity to call the English arrogant and then leap to unfounded conclusions about Wales' place in the rugby world based on what? Yes, Wales have played some decent rugby this term, but please, you are just the cliche of cliches in terms of quantum leaps of hysterical proportions." So I am certainly not tarring the Welsh people with that brush. And if you read closely, I'm sure you will see, through the slight red mist (maybe just a pinkish hue, as you didn't seem enraged) that I was commending Scott Gibbs in comparison with our one-eyed friend. So, no intentions to criticise the whole Welsh populace, just the myopic ones. By the way, Sam Warburton , top man, future Lions captain, lives just down the road from a girl I was once engaged to (she saw sense and we went our separate ways) and he's half-English.

    Actually, as these posts do seem to degerate into xenophobic self-justification sometimes, I have a serious question. Why do so many of the celts keep this hatred alive? Because frankly, there was a time when I supported whichever of our home nations was playing, but once my youthful naivety gave way to hearing the constant invective, I changed.

  • Comment number 60.

    Bryn, how come you didnt choose Scotland vs Italy? Surely thats the match everyone will be interested in?

    ;-)

  • Comment number 61.

    I think if you read the whole of the Ferris quote he's saying that England don't like losing however the headline has been drawn to put him in the worst possible light. Maybe not a misquote but certainly picking up on one line and missing the intention of what he's saying.

    As for this being a mediocre 6 nations well it's obviously nonsense. It's been a thoroughly entertaining 6 nations with plenty of close and exciting games, England v France and Wales v Ireland stand out for me. That said the 6 nations following a world cup will always be a bit weird as you're inevitably going to get big changes in certain teams (England, France and Italy) other teams smarting from a poor campaign and looking to put things right (Scotland and Ireland) that might be playing on players and coaches minds. The world cup will always cast a shadow over the first 6 nations that follows it, however this takes nothing away from the result.

  • Comment number 62.

    Wales is recognised as a country by the ISO, and the Laws in Wales Acts 1535-1542 refers to Wales as a "countrie", and not, as has been the suggestion, a principality (this is the origin of the misnomer). Further, Cymru cannot be a principality by pure definition of the term. It is therefore safe to say that it is a country.

    On to matters rugby. On a Welsh post, sighting the historic rivalries between Wales and our gallic chums, I am slightly confused as to how there are a minimum of 7 references to the 2003 RWC. If there is a need to comment upon the perceived arrogance of Wales as a whole (this is the running theme, rather than singling out individual posters), then why not comment on the clear flaws of the current squad (potentially limited game plan etc) rather than just referring to the decade old victors of the world cup. It would be far more prudent and command more respect.

    Having posted on English blogs on the potential of various squads (indeed commending them on last season's 6N), I find it galling that in 2005, 2008 and now, the assertion is that Wales only prosper during mediocre tournaments. That is simply not true. However, if we were to take this as gospel, then why don't other teams have a crack in the same year. Surely England could have seen from the first 2 games that it was a mediocre tournament and so thoroughly smashed Wales. OR, the French could have cottoned on to the fact that the men in red were winning and so it must be an average-at-best tournament, and therefore theirs for the taking.

    What utter cr@p.

  • Comment number 63.

    Zanderzelle to be honest that is an interesting match to me as a loss for Scotland could easily end Robinson's tenure as Scotland coach. Equally both will be playing to avoid the wooden spoon and so it really means something. Should Wales beat France the England v Ireland game will take on a bit of a dead rubber kind of feel, not that this will mean I'll pay any less attention just it would add an extra tension to it if Wales lost.

  • Comment number 64.

    # 63 - Yeah its an interesting match to me too as I'm Scottish so am well aware of whats a stake (again). I just like to remember the good old days when we were always playing Wales for the wooden spoon instead, then they got their act together and we didnt and left us alone with Italy.

  • Comment number 65.

    Zanderzelle

    You know all joking aside, it's sad that Scotland are in the predicament they are at present. Being brought up on the borders, I used to go and see Jedforest and Hawick and watch for myself on Rugby special on the Sunday. The borders sides then always had something about them, dont know if it was the farming background or what, but they used to play some really good rugby.

    What happened?

  • Comment number 66.

    I don't know about Zanderzelle but I've found Scotland to be bemusing in this 6 nations. I've sat and watched how in their first 3 games they were the better side for about 50 minutes of each game and come away with a loss. I've sat and watched some really good players in the Scotland team do some really good things. They've come within 6 points of France, 7 of England and only really got blitzed against Wales when they were down to 13 men. With all that I've also seen them chuck good ball away, scuff attacks with the line beckoning and get pretty soundly beaten by Ireland.

    Overall they just seem to be missing one or two elements to stop them being a very good team. What those elements are (whether it's players, coaching, performances or tactics) I can't really tell but the just need a little something extra.

  • Comment number 67.

    TheLastKingofEngland

    Dunno, but it would be better for all concerned if they found whatevers missing. What also concerns me is I think Argentina join the tri nations this year is it? Let's see how fast they improve and start battering the NH sides in coming years. Last thing I want is them becomming a major force in world rugby to be honest, but if the tri nations sides rub off on them, they could be major WC candidates 2019.

  • Comment number 68.

    LKOE - When the Evans brothers first started playing together for Scotland I thought we had found it, I thought we had something special starting that was going to bring us out of the rut. I was at the Milennium stadium when Thom got injured, and when I found out that his career was finished I also suspected that my hopes of a renaissance were over too. Tragic incident. Glad he seems to have found a pretty decent life for himself though!

  • Comment number 69.

    LastKingofEngland writes of Scotland: "They've come within 6 points of France, 7 of England and only really got blitzed against Wales when they were down to 13 men."

    Yeah, Scotland played really well against Wales - it was a great, close game. But this odd myth beloved of English posters about 13 men...(Amazing how they take hold in fertile ground.... ) Can you remember what actually happened? How long were Scotland playing with 13 men? Fairly sure it was under two minutes...

  • Comment number 70.

    2 minutes during which time Wales scored a converted try. Take that off and Wales will have only beaten Scotland by 7. However if you want I can say Wales onlyreally blizted Scotland during the 18 minutes Scotland had less than 15 men on the pitch. During which Wales scored 17 of their 27 points, considering they won by 14 it was definitely a significant passage of play.

    Anyway my point really was that Scotland were the dominant team in that game for around 50 minutes, as they were in the France and England games, but they failed to turn this into points and this at least indicates there is something to this Scottish team.

  • Comment number 71.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 72.

    No no no... There was no score while Scotland were down to 13 men. De Luca was back on when 1/2p scored. But the sin-binnings certainly turned the game...and Scotland had a fine first half.

  • Comment number 73.

    The moderators clearly getting a bit sensitive! Here goes again with a minor alteration.

    @48 dragonsbreath. Good post and no I don't think they are potential world beaters and won't be for some time. Good luck to Wales in their ambition to be so. Yes I have been wound up by certain posters. I must learn to control myself!

    @54padds31 great post but please don't accuse me of being anti welsh as I am most certainly not. I have a couple of close welsh friends so am very familiar with how nice the welsh are. Any perceived anti welshness is against some of the utterly bizarre and crazy posts of some of your compatriots.

    @49 the dragon cometh etc. Great post.

    Redgrandslam - what can I say! You are priceless.

  • Comment number 74.

    "And its a matter of fact that every team in this six nations would beat the 2003 England team by some considerable margin of comfort". Redgrandslam you have excelled yourself here. I would love to hear how you have established this FACT! This has to be one of the most remarkable statements every written on the subject of rugby!

  • Comment number 75.

    A game of Rugby is 80 minutes long so it would be folly to expect Wales to be well ahead after the first half, and a discredit to their opposition, regardless of who that might be. In fact, in all games so far bar Italy i think Wales have trailed at half time?

    I think there's a lot to be said for this cryo lark that they're being put through. I can only assume that they have absolute belief that they are fitter than anyone they play against, and during that last 20 minutes that fitness will carry them through to a win.

    Wales will not win every game, anybody can beat anybody, but you must go in to every game expecting to win, and if belief in fitness levels now allows Wales to compete then so be it. To my mind this is where England have been so successful through the years, their self belief in their ability to win was second to none. This is possibly where Scotlands weakness lies in my opinion. I honestly think that the Scottish side go in to games with hope rather than belief in their minds.

    We can argue whether Wales are the fittest team or not, they may not be, but if they believe they are then thats what matters. I think that the cryotherapy not only helps to fix them physically but perhaps mentally as well?

  • Comment number 76.

    Numbnuts

    Don't get so excited mate, just hope France do you a favour on Saturday ;)

  • Comment number 77.

    @76 smackeyes. I am trying. I really am. I need a pint or several! Can't see Wales losing and I think Ireland are better than us - so I may need several more pints then! Anyway here's to a good climax to the tournament.

  • Comment number 78.

    @77 Numbnuts

    I too am looking forawrd to an exciting climax over the weekend, anniversary on Saturday.

    Agreed... been a good tournament and as an English fan I share your thoughts exactly. However as I want us to win so much, I reckon I may be overestimating the strength of the Irish. Tuilangi try to win it i think!

  • Comment number 79.

    For me, one thing I have been massively impressed with again is Dan Lydiate who has been fantastic in defence and doing a lot of the ugly work teams need doing (Richard Hill springs to mind, but he isn't at his level, yet). Along with Warbs, A Jones and G Jenkins, he would be one of the first names on my team sheet. He made over 15% of the tackles against Italy last weekend and I constantly found myself saying good hit for everyone he made, if he's not going in low to bring down destructive ball carriers, he's being destructive himself and not only stopping people but usually driving them backward. I think he could possibly carry a little more but I'm not going to complain when we have Faletau, I Evans, G Jenkins and W Jones looking for carries.

    He's had a fantastic tournament and sounds like he's really grounded and a hard working young chap. Exactly the type of characters rugby teams need (Farrell is another who seems to be in the same category, very professional and hard working).

  • Comment number 80.

    It's been an enjoyable tournament to watch as a welsh fan, the matches have been nail biting.

    It's good to see warburton is back in the squad such a key player for us but i am suprised Justin Tipuric has been droped all together. I would have charteris starting but he may not be fit enough, i use to have my doubts about him but he proved in the WC how hard he works and made a big impact against italy.

    I am not a fan of the all the hype the media seem to give wales, it just starts the mud slinging, we have a lot of potential but so does ireland and england. After the 2008 GS wales faded, we can hope this side goes on to bigger and better things and they should but i am going to try and not get carried away :)

    France want to keep the roof open this saturday and the weather in cardiff is not looking good, It seems like they don't want to play an open game, at least thats how i interpret it. They may already be taking a negative mind set when it comes to saturday.

  • Comment number 81.

    @80 Dlok nice post. I agree entirely with you. The media need to control themselves. It is all extremes with the media. You are either brilliant or rubbish. I think Wales have some great players in key positions. If they stay fit then there is no reason why Wales shouldn't win the big games in the future. Regarding the roof question I felt that Martin Johnson had it right when he said rugby was an outdoor game and always wanted the roof open. I think you are right about France. I am not sure they are up for it. I would like to see Wales "earn" the GS with a hard fought win.

  • Comment number 82.

    I was there in 1988. I was 14 at the time and it was my first ever international. I got a double decker from Pontllanfraith to Cardiff. It was piddling down and my wallet's black dye leached in to my bus ticket so I had to buy a new one on the way home. My stadium ticket was nice and safe in my hand though....all the way down! I was gutted when we lost by one point although I seem to remember we had a score disallowed too. As I was too young to remember the 70's grandslams (having not even been born for one of them) so it wasnt until 2005 that I experienced that joy. And it was a joy. Living through the 90's, when the most vigorous expression of your country's nationality has been dragged through the dirt, trodden on with some soul destroying defeats (1991 - 63-6 followed by brawling AMONGST THE WELSH TEAM! 96-13 against South Africa.....yes, that's 4 points short of 100...!) , to finally have re-discovered how to play rugby again from 2003 onwards (yes, if it hadn't been for Catt (great, great player) and Robinson, we would have beaten England! ;) ) it makes you proud again, almost as if you were on the field with them. You may have no idea how much rugby means to the majority of welsh, but for me, it is a part of who I am. It helps to define me, and when my national side, who may or may not be world beaters, are playing with such pride and belief, then I feel proud too. Crticise me as much as you like. I dont really care. It is how it is. And France won't be playing against 15 men on Saturday. They will be playing against 3 million. Wales to win our 3rd grand slam in 8 years. That's my prediction. Enjoy the matches and let's hope for some great rugby.

  • Comment number 83.

    i suppose of those games the standout encounter was the 1976 grand slam decider. Two excelent sides at the top of their game vying to take a grand slam! of course the game is most famous for jpr's last ditch block on the french player as he headed for the corner in the last minute...a 'tackle' that would be penalised now of course. But the french player i always remember from the 1970s was their fly half romeu! He was an excellent drop kicker....and had all the flair one used to associate with french rugby..but he really did look like a 70s porn actor lol.....ive always wondered what became of him...anyone know?

  • Comment number 84.

    It annoys me no end that every time Wales are on the possibility  of winning the 6 Nation that the same old comments come out 'best of a bad bunch' etc. 

    By no means are Wales the finished article as other teams in NH, but when you read the rubbish towards the top about Wales competing with the SH it's just a joke. I bet if you research the stats of England v SH sides the SH sides will come out better, but hey England have won the world cup a couple of times & same for France. It's not about the autumn tests at the end of the day. France (a NH team) were in the final of the last world cup and could have easily won it, on the same note it could have easily been Wales in the final and who knows? It's not a bad bunch, I think at the moment it's a pretty decent bunch of teams, and the person a few comments in who states that Scotland are not a good team clearly has no knowledge about rugby, they have issues but far for a rubbish team.

  • Comment number 85.

    Just relating to the posts about the 2 yellow cards being the turning point in the Wales V Scotland match-

    Correct me if I'm wrong as I don't profess to be a rugby expert, but weren't the yellows handed out as the Scottish players made illegal tackles/professional fouls that took down Welsh players who were in try scoring positions? If they hadn't infringed then yes they wouldn't have been down to 13/14 men and been battered down for a long period but Wales could have put 10, possibly 14, more points on the board which surely would still have turned the tide of the match.

  • Comment number 86.

    also @Cullodenhaha about Wales struggling against a 'junior' English side 'who will come and hunt us down' when they improved. Yes the majority of the Welsh team played in the world cup but you can hardly call them senior, half of them are under 24 so surely if England's 'Juniors' are going to come and hunt us down when they mature they will hopefully be faced with a more mature, clinical and experienced Welsh side to match.

    Personally I think the English have done pretty damn good despite all the nonsense that they and the RFU have had to deal with this year but you can't use their young status to belittle Wales' win over them.

  • Comment number 87.

    Speaking purely as an Englishman I'm hoping for a repeat of 1998 ... only then to find groundhog day also strikes at Twickenham and the Irish beat us again, sigh ..

    Anyway, back in reality: Wales are red-hot favorites here even though they haven't played as well as they are capable in the past 4 games - wins over England and Ireland could have been losses but I think in both of those games Wales got what they deserved; France have been drifting for over a year now and don't look to know which direction they want to go in ... well, until they're at least 10 points down then they'll give it a go ... and if France give 10 points away on Saturday there wont be any way back for them.

    And I'm not actually sure who having the roof open will favour, but it smacks a little of the French clutching at straws to be honest; Realistically the only thing I can see stopping Wales is Wales, the nerves must be on edge already ;-)

    @86 a lot of attention has been on England's age/inexperience but you're right, that shouldn't detract from Wales age/inexperience either with the only difference being the 12 months start Wales have. I reckon this crop of players are going to be going at each other for a good decade to come which bodes well for both sides.

  • Comment number 88.

    @ 49 - great post, I'll be smiling until Saturday at least ... :-)

  • Comment number 89.

    @84 Betty - I agree it is wrong to say Wales only win when other teams are rubbish. That is clearly nonsense. You can only play what is in front of you so to speak. I think comments made here re SH teams are perfectly valid though. Wales' record against SH has been woeful to say the least. It doesn't matter how many grand slams you win you can't call yourself a great team (in my opinion and I guess the vast majority of fans / players / pundits) unless you have won some big games home and away against SH which England have frequently but Wales haven't. This isn't attempting to rub Welsh noses in it. It just seems to me (on this side of the border) that beating England and winning GS is Wales' "Holy Grail". Anyway I am sure you will be celebrating on Saturday afternoon!

  • Comment number 90.

    Just seen that Mervyn Davies has died. Very very sad. One of the all time greats.

  • Comment number 91.

    numbnuts the point i was making with 2003 wasn't a slight it was just acknoweldging that the game has moved on a great deal in the last 10 years. Its a fact in most sports that there is a leap forward in a decade.

    Yep sad news on Mervyn Davies, Faletau has got big boots to fill this weekend. Hope the WRU do a similar tribute that they did for Ray Gravell in 2008.

  • Comment number 92.

    Yes we all know about the SH and we can't hide from the record book but as I've been saying the graph has been gradually plateauing and I beleive the top NH teams will be more competitive with the SH from now on. The 50 point defeats are a thing of the past and things have been getting closer and closer.

    Not sure Englands record against SH opposition is a great as people seem to think. 9 straight losses to NZ and apart from 2003 you've got to go way back into the record books for an England victory over NZ. 7 straight losses to South Africa and a 70% loss rate to the Aussies in the last decade. Slightly better return than Wales I acknowledge, but not much to crow about really...

  • Comment number 93.

    Very sad news about Mervyn Davies, a true rugby giant, and a gentleman every time I saw him.

    Hopefully there is a fitting tribute before the game tomorrow.

    May he RIP.

  • Comment number 94.

    @92and93 RedGrandSlam- yes a nice tribute to Merv would be good. I wasn't crowing re SH wins (sorry if it came over that way) merely trying to emphasise that the real benchmark for aspirational teams, as Wales clearly are, is beating SH teams. Actually, and I am not crowing here, but I think Englands record compared to all other Home nation teams against SH is remarkably good. We have had quite a few more NZ wins than you appear to think - '73, '83, '93, '02 and the one in 2003 that you mention. There are always more games played v SH teams away than at home (and this applies to all home countries) so I guess maybe there is an inbuilt "advantage" to the SH teams with more home games. Anyway I look forward to seeing how all home teams do in SH in summer. As Wales (if one was selecting today - long time to go) are likely to have the lions share of the Lions Test team, Warburton as captain and Gatland as coach, it would be good if they can lay down a marker and do well in Australia.

  • Comment number 95.

    Numbnuts well yes but we want better than one British Isles win against the AB's every ten years. I honestly believe that in the age of professionalism the top NH sides will beat SA, NZ and AUS more regularly. Things have been getting closer and closer for wales and other against the SH in recent years just narrowly losing out rather in the same fashion as Scotland have suffered against England, France and Wales this year. As I say you can't win every game and its not unheard of for one tri-nations team to slamdunk another with a cricket score from time to time.

    There will be games where nothing goes right for a team and the other team hit everything and Wales will be on the receiving end from time to time, but those sort of games will become the exception rather than the general rule as was the case back in the 80's and 90's. The days of the forgone conclusion drubbing when Wales et al squared up against the SH are happily over for the time being I believe...

  • Comment number 96.

    @95 RedGrandSlum - I certainly hope you are right!

 

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