Six Nations 2019: Wales' Grand Slam glory days in Cardiff

By Gareth GriffithsBBC Sport Wales
Captain Ryan Jones celebrates the 2008 Grand Slam with his team-mates
Captain Ryan Jones celebrates the 2008 Grand Slam with his team-mates
Six Nations: Wales v Ireland
Venue: Principality Stadium, Cardiff Date: Saturday, 16 March Kick-off: 14:45 GMT
Coverage: Live on BBC One and S4C, BBC Radio 5 Live, BBC Radio Wales, BBC Radio Cymru and BBC Sport website and BBC Sport app, plus live text commentary.

Grand Slam occasions have generally meant glory days in Wales.

If Warren Gatland's side are looking for an omen this weekend in their quest for a Six Nations triumph against Ireland on Saturday and win a 12th Grand Slam, they can reflect on recent history.

These rare days in the Welsh capital on the final day of the tournament have generally proved an overwhelming success over the years.

Most occasions have been magical moments of celebration with Wales triumphing in front of their home crowd and sparking wild scenes.

When Wales have needed to deliver on the final weekend with the Grand Slam at stake, they have tended to triumph.

There are always exceptions to the rule. In 1988 Wales had secured the Triple Crown but failed to win a tournament clean sweep on home soil when France defeated Bleddyn Bowen's side 10-9.

That has been the glaring anomaly. BBC Sport Wales looks back at some of the memorable moments that have provided Grand Slam fever in Cardiff as Gatland attempts to become the first coach to win three tournament clean sweeps.

2012: Wales 16 France 9

Warren Gatland celebrates his second Grand Slam in 2012
Warren Gatland celebrates his second Grand Slam in 2012

Wales survived France's best display of the tournament to secure a third Grand Slam in eight years in a pulsating encounter.

Gatland's side were equal to the challenge and held their nerve under the pressure of great Welsh expectations. A dynamic defensive effort was typified by flanker Dan Lydiate being named man-of-the-tournament.

A minute's silence before kick-off paid tribute to former Wales and Lions number eight Mervyn Davies, who died two days before the game.

Davies had captained Wales for their 1976 Grand Slam and Wales said his achievements had given them extra motivation with a try from wing Alex Cuthbert and 11 points from Leigh Halfpenny's boot sealing victory.

It capped a wonderful season where Wales had finished fourth in the 2011 World Cup in New Zealand before this Six Nations clean sweep.

Highlights included a George North inspired win in Dublin, followed by a man-of-the-match performance by Sam Warburton at Twickenham, where super-sub Scott Williams scored the match-winning try.

2008: Wales 29 France 12

Alun Wyn Jones and Stephen Jones congratulate Shane Williams on becoming Wales record try scorer against France in 2008
Alun Wyn Jones and Stephen Jones congratulate Shane Williams on becoming Wales record try scorer against France in 2008

In Gatland's first season in charge, Wales completed their transformation from World Cup flops to secure their second Grand Slam in four years and send the nation into raptures.

In the Cardiff finale, an early 9-3 Wales lead was whittled away by France after Gavin Henson's sin-binning on the stroke of half-time.

But Shane Williams secured the crucial try on 60 minutes after pouncing on a loose ball, becoming Wales' all-time top try scorer in the process. Flanker Martyn Williams added a second try late on to provoke the celebrations.

Shane Williams was the man of the tournament with his dazzling tries which included a Triple Crown winning score against Ireland, while namesake Martyn was brought out of retirement to help inspire the side.

This Grand Slam came just six months after Wales had been dumped out of the World Cup by Fiji in Nantes which resulted in the sacking of Gareth Jenkins and prompted Gatland's appointment.

2005: Wales 32 Ireland 20

Gethin Jenkins celebrates scoring against Ireland in 2005
Gethin Jenkins celebrates scoring against Ireland in 2005

Perhaps the most euphoric day out of the lot as Wales celebrated their first Grand Slam since 1978 with an historic victory on a carnival Cardiff afternoon.

In the scorching sunshine, a big screen was installed in the centre of Cardiff as thousands lined the street. They were climbing trees to try and gain a glimpse while supermarkets ran out of alcohol.

The fans lucky enough to be inside the Millennium Stadium witnessed Mike Ruddock's side hold their nerve to beat Ireland at home for the first time since 1983 and clinch the Six Nations.

A first-half try from Gethin Jenkins helped Wales to a 16-6 interval lead with the prop charging down a Ronan O'Gara kick and deftly dribbling the ball over the line before triumphantly flopping on it.

Gavin Henson weighed in with a drop goal and a long-range penalty.

Kevin Morgan's iconic try and 16 points from Stephen Jones sealed the victory to complete a remarkable transformation in fortunes.

Two years earlier, Wales failed to win a match in the tournament, but under Ruddock they flourished by reverting to the adventurous style of old. Ruddock's son Rhys now plays for Ireland.

1978: Wales 16 France 7

Both teams were going for the Grand Slam with Wales having secured a third successive Triple Crown at Lansdowne Road two weeks before.

The iconic 'Grand Slam' film, starring Windsor Davies, was aired for the first time on BBC the night before the game. A sure sign of impending success.

Fly-half Phil Bennett had pulled out on the Wednesday with foot trouble, but was persuaded to change his mind. It was just as well, as the Wales captain scored two tries in a 16-7 Slam-sealing victory.

It proved to be Bennett's last Five Nations match alongside his legendary half-back partner Sir Gareth Edwards who bowed out in style with a drop-goal.

Phil Bennett scores the first of his two tries against France in 1978
Phil Bennett scores the first of his two tries against France in 1978

1976: Wales 19 France 13

Once again, with a Triple Crown under their belt, Wales looked to have built up a winning 19-9 lead against France with a try from JJ Williams and penalties from Phil Bennett, Steve Fenwick and Allan Martin.

France battled back though and Wales were later indebted to a famous late try-saving tackle from full-back JPR Williams.

The decisive moment came in the final minutes as powerful wing Jean-Francois Gourdon charged down the right wing with only JPR between him and the line.

The fearsome full-back shoulder charged Gourdon into touch and stood with his fists raised as the crowd erupted and Wales sealed their Grand Slam.

Today the "tackle" would be considered an illegal challenge, a penalty try and yellow card. In 1976 it was a championship-winning intervention.

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