Six Nations: Six of the Best - Wales v France
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.
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.