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Wales come crashing back down to earth

John GriffithsFebruary 11, 2014
A bloodied Matthew Watkins tries to break through the England defence in 2006, but Wales fell to a heavy defeat © PA Photos
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What's the heaviest Five/Six Nations defeat Wales have suffered as reigning champions? Peter Lewis, Wales

The 23-point margin of defeat suffered by the current champions in Dublin earlier this month was third only to two defeats as reigning Grand Slammers in 2006. They lost by 34 points (13-47) at Twickenham when they faced England on the opening weekend of the Six Nations, and three weeks later they were defeated 31-5 in Dublin by Ireland. Like this year, that campaign took place after Wales had supplied a strong contingent to a Lions tour the previous summer.

Their next worst defeat as champions was in 1951 (again as reigning Grand Slammers and after supplying the overwhelming majority of tourists to the 1950 Lions trip Down Under). Scotland beat John Gwilliam's side 19-0 in a match that came to be regarded as the 'Murrayfield Massacre'.

The selectors, however, did not panic. It's true that the defeat paved the way for Cliff Morgan to make his Wales debut, but all told there were only three changes made for Wales's next match, against Ireland, in Cardiff the month later.

John Griffiths is a widely respected rugby historian and is the author of several sports books, a regular contributor to the Daily Telegraph and co-author of the IRB International Rugby Yearbook. He has provided insight for Scrum.com since 1999.

© ESPN Sports Media Ltd

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Writer Bio

John Griffiths is a widely respected rugby historian and is the author of several sports books, a regular contributor to the Daily Telegraph and co-author of the IRB International Rugby Yearbook. He has provided insight for Scrum.com since 1999.

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