You can never write off England!! But France here we go ;)


Wales lock Ian Gough expects “blood and guts” when England visit the Millennium Stadium on Saturday.

I went to Cardiff College, with some of the Great Rugby players, seen here in the 1978 line up. I have done my best to
add last Sundays 2009 Welsh Line up, against Scotland. Just for fun, why not pick your ideal team to play France next?

WALES 1978

JPR Williams
An intimidating full-back, who was fearless in defence. He was almost impassable and played in every game of Wales’ three Grand Slam successes of the 1970s.
Gerald Davies
A Ferrari on legs with a wonderful change of pace, his ability to glide away from the opposition was often breathtaking. He missed the ’78 game against France.
Ray Gravell
A fearless and powerful centre, he played rugby with his heart on his sleeve. Died last year at the age of 56. His two daughters led Wales out on Saturday.
Steve Fenwick
Became one of Wales’ most accomplished all-round players. Valued for his ability to score tries as well as convert them. Powerful and strong in defence.
JJ Williams
Scored the winning try in Dublin in 1978 that won Wales a third Triple Crown. He was often impossible to catch and was master of the kick and chase.
Phil Bennett
Rated as highly as Barry John among those who saw both play. Able to jink past players twice his size and his famed sidestep sparked many a glorious try.
Gareth Edwards
Named as the greatest player of all time, Edwards had speed, agility and guile. He made his debut aged 19 and became Wales’ youngest captain a year later.
Charlie Faulkner
The Pontypool prop was relatively unknown when he made is debut in 1975. Faulkner, winner of two Grand Slams, was mobile and a fierce scrummager.
Bobby Windsor
The steelworker began his career as a back but developed into a legendary hooker. He was quick and strong in the scrum and knew every trick in the book.
Graham Price
Announced his arrival on the international scene with a 60-metre try against France in Paris. Regarded as one of the greatest props to have graced the game.
Geoff Wheel
His Herculean strength would mean that mauls would rise up and down when Wheel had his hands on the ball. One of the best Wales locks there has been.
Allan Martin
The Aberavon man was a classic line-out jumper, invariably securing Wales ball and often stealing opposition throw. Also an impressive kicker of the ball.
Jeff Squire
At his peak he was superb on the burst and rarely gave away possession. Also responsible for his share of line-out ball. A number eight playing blind-side.
Terry Cobner
“A nightmare” to play against, the athletic flanker was probably the strongest man, pound for pound, in the Welsh team. British Lions standout player in 1977.
Derek Quinnell
Big and aggressive, he adept as a lock and number eight. In 1971 was the only British Lion in New Zealand not to have been capped.

Captain Ryan Jones celebrates winning the Grand Slam

But now many of them have won a second Six Nations Grand Slam in four years, only one less than the legendary team of the 1970s, who claimed Five Nations clean sweeps in 1971, 1976 and 1978 and five Triple Crowns in nine years.

The greatest of that swashbuckling vintage, former scrum-half Gareth Edwards, told BBC Sport: “It is difficult to compare one team with the other but it is easy to compare the outcome. “They have won the Grand Slam and it is as good as it gets,” he said. “It is a fantastic achievement and it was beyond our wildest dreams after the disappointment of the World Cup.”

Give us your thoughts

WALES 2009: Lee Byrne, Leigh Halfpenny, Jamie Roberts, Tom Shanklin, Shane Williams, S Jones, Phillips, Jenkins, Rees, A Jones, Gough, AW Jones, R Jones, M Williams, Powell. Ian Gough

Lee Byrne
So impressive that he is regarded as a certainty for next year’s Lions tour. Hardly missed a high ball and his huge boot would be the envy of JPR in his heyday.

Tom Shanklin
No coincidence that Wales are at their best when Shanklin is in the midfield. Came on for Sonny Parker against England and was imperious for the rest of the campaign.

Gavin Henson
His stop-start career reflects Wales’ fortunes. Enigmatic but has the talent to become a great. Wales have not lost a Six Nations game he has started.

Shane Williams smile
Closer to joining the pantheon of greats with every game. Now Wales’ record try-scorer after crossing six times during the campaign, he has got quicker with age.

James Hook
Burden of being labelled ‘the next Barry John’ rests easily on his shoulders. Nifty footwork created the vital try that launched the comeback against England.

Gethin Jenkins
The archetypical modern-day prop – dynamic in the loose and strong in the set-pieces. Second Welsh prop to amass more than 50 caps, and plenty more to come.

Adam Jones
His ever-changing hairstyle means he is always noticed. Improved his fitness and was ever-present this season. He now has two Grand Slams to his name.

Ian Gough
He was in the wilderness between 2002 and 2005 but in the twilight of his career, is playing better than ever. Lost 4kg during the lung-burster against Italy.

Alun Wyn Jones
The law student was a member of Wales’ 2005 Under-21 Grand Slam side. Missed the Italy and Scotland wins but returned with two monumental displays.

Martyn Williams
Not the biggest but mobility ensures he is always first to the breakdown and has handling skills of a fly-half. Player of the 2005 Six Nations and hugely influential again.

Ryan Jones
A Lions star in 2005 before injury disrupted his career. Back to full fitness he has confirmed that promise and led the side with aplomb.

 

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