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17 October 2014

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The Grand Slam of 1984

Jim Aitken


Having won only one of their matches in the 1983 Five Nations Championship, thoughts of a Grand Slam were not uppermost in Scottish minds as the 1984 tournament got under way.

However, there was cause for optimism. Not only had Scotland come closer than ever to gaining a first ever win over New Zealand in the autumn international - only a missed conversion attempt in the dying minutes by Peter Dods allowed the All Blacks to leave Murrayfield with a 25-25 draw, but it could also be argued that the fixture list fell kindly for the Scots.

Home advantage against the two sides likely to be Scotland's closest challengers, England and France, were interspersed with away games against Wales and Ireland, meaning that there was a realistic chance of victory in each of the games.

Cardiff Arms Park was never an easy ground for opposing sides, so when Scotland emerged from their opening game of the season with a 15-9 success over Wales, it gave rise to thoughts that something special might be occurring. Tries by Ian Paxton and skipper Jim Aitken, the latter converted by Dods who also added a penalty, were enough to win a match which Scotland dominated and could have won more convincingly.

The result was an ideal confidence booster for the Scots as they returned to Murrayfield for their hundredth match against the Auld Enemy, England.

David Johnson's first half try, converted by Dods was enough to give Scotland a narrow 6-3 lead at the interval; Dusty Hare having kicked England's only points from a penalty.

Scotland fans celebrate the win over England


Scotland stretched their lead in the second half when Kennedy's touch down was converted by Dods and although Hare again kept England in touch, the rampant Scottish pack were dominating the game and when Dods added two penalties late in the game he secured the victory by 18 points to 6.

Scotland travelled to Lansdowne Road, Dublin, for their third match in the series, knowing that victory against Ireland would not only ensure the Triple Crown for the first time in forty-six years, but would also leave them one step away from a Grand Slam.

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