How about a Grand Slam tour every year?
Wales' Alun-Wyn Jones is tackled by David Pocock of Australia (AAP Image/Paul Miller)
Rarely does the money-hungry IRB overlook a ready cash-cow, but they have by not scheduling a Grand Slam every year.
It adds spice and meaning to the end of year tours by southern hemisphere nations New Zealand, Australia, and South Africa. And Argentina must be included now they are in the Rugby Championship.
Since 1905-06 there have only been 26 Grand Slam tours against England, Ireland, Scotland, and Wales, with just nine Slams.
The Boks have won four (1912-13, 1931-32, 1951-52, and 1960-61), the All Blacks four (1978, 2005, 2008, and 2010), the Wallabies just one in 1984.
That’s small pickings from the Boks and All Blacks, having played nine Slams each, the Wallabies eight.
So instead of rare Slams, make it a feature every year with one southern hemisphere nation on duty.
The other three nations play against France and Italy that year, and two of the four Home Unions.
So there would be a four-year Slam cycle shared individually in turn by the All Blacks, Boks, Wallabies, and Pumas: a financial bonanza, and a huge interest factor among the rugby hungry fans of England, Scotland, Ireland, and Wales.
And in the process, it would give added incentives to the Home Unions to improve their standards.
A win-win situation.
By the way, there has only been one Grand Slam tour in 26 where the touring nation has lost all four – the 1957-58 Wallabies.
Coached by Dave Cowper, and led by Bob Davidson, the side included Terry Curley, Rod Phelps, Jim Lenehan, straight out of St Ignatius, Arthur Summons, Kevin Ryan, John Thornett, Nick Shehadie, and Tony Miller.
But every international was closely fought, losing 9-3 to Wales, 9-6 to Ireland, 9-6 to England, and 12-8 to Scotland.
Which further undelines how difficult it is to win a Grand Slam when so many class Wallabies couldn’t win a game in 57-58,
So let’s have one every year.