Six weeks later, reinforced by the recovery of Sam Warburton and Alex Cuthbert but with Blues second row Bradley Davies in a state of suspension for his misdemeanour, they had won the Grand Slam for the third time in eight years, just as their renowned predecessors had done in the Seventies.
On Saturday the RBS 6 Nations champions will be back on the biennial visit, ready after five successive away wins (Ireland, England, France, Italy, Scotland) for the most formidable obstacle since they last lost on the road, in Paris three years ago
Ireland will be straining at the leash, ready to bust the proverbial gut in announcing themselves as serious title contenders by winning what is, in effect, a Grand Slam eliminator between the only two of the home quartet left standing after a humdinger of an opening round.
Italy provided the surprise of the weekend, giving Wales a seven-point start before offering infinitely more than dogged resistance in forcing the holders to rely on Leigh Halfpenny's boot for the most predictable of home wins in a manner nobody would have predicted.
France and England followed with a classic in Paris, the hosts winning by two points on a night that evoked memories of the double Grand Slam decider at Twickenham in 1991, eight months before Will Carling's team lost to Australia there in the World Cup final.
Despite conceding the Try of the Century, as launched by Serge Blanco from behind his own posts and finished off 100 metres downfield by Philippe Saint-Andre, the hosts also won in '91 by two points.
Now head coach, Saint-Andre will probably consider Gael Fickou's conversion from late substitute into even later match-winner as evening up an old score.
Ireland will hope to be settling a more recent one now that they are up and running after Sunday's home win over Scotland, achieved despite the disruption after Paul O'Connell had been counted out early on Sunday morning because of a chest infection.
Lingering resentment over Brian O'Driscoll's removal from the Lions squad for the decisive third Test in Australia last summer provides a sub-plot which may, or may not, enliven proceedings for the man who made that decision, Wales head coach Warren Gatland.
Senior figures like O'Driscoll and O'Connell will doubtless be more concerned about another grievance during the final seconds against Wales two years ago, the penalising of Stephen Ferris for a high tackle which enabled Halfpenny to nail the penalty that cost Ireland victory.
The margin, 23-21, may have been too close for comfort but nobody ought to have been in any doubt that day that the better team won, albeit only after a hefty stroke of luck.
Davies got a yellow card when he ought to have had a red one for doing to Donnacha Ryan what Warburton did to Vincent Clerc in the 2011 World Cup semi-final.
The Wales captain was sent off for that tip-tackle and Davies' retrospective seven-week ban for the same offence confirmed that he, too, should have gone.
For all the ferocity fizzing around a duel guaranteeing the winner the outright leadership of the table, if only temporarily with France home to Italy on Sunday, it can be safely assumed that nothing at the Aviva Stadium will compare with what happened at the Balmoral Showgrounds in Belfast exactly one hundred years ago.
The centenary of the last home international before the outbreak of The Great War has gone down in the annals of Ireland-Wales conflict as the most violent match played between the countries. One eye-witness described it as a running fist fight.
Historians have recorded that the Ireland captain, William Tyrrell, dropped into the Welsh team's hotel on the Friday night before the match in March 1914.
The precise reason for his visit has long been lost in the mists of time but the popular version has been interpreted as a warning to Wales about what awaited them the next day.
Tyrrell, a Belfast doctor, is said to have singled out the hardest nut in a pack full of them, Percy Jones, a colliery foreman from Pontypridd. "It's you and me for it tomorrow," Tyrell has been reported as saying to Jones.
Another Wales player, hooker Harry Uzzel, overheard the comment and responded with one of his own: "Can anyone join in?"
By all accounts, every forward felt free to let fly from the start although nobody could say for sure whether that applied to the Wales captain, the Reverend Alban Davies from Llanelli.
With his head down in the set-piece and a scrum-cap covering his ears, the clergyman could have protested that he had neither seen nor heard any evil.
Wales won the match, 11-3, and also the fight, in a manner which ensured they sailed home the next day with a new title bestowed on their pack by one Irish newspaper: 'The Terrible Eight.'
Tyrell and Jones became the best of friends. Two World Wars later, on the occasion of the 1951 fixture, they sat side by side at the after-match dinner - Jones, the coalminer-turned-hotelier, and his old sparring partner, then Air Vice Marshall Tyrrell, KBE, DSO, MC, MB, Ll.D. He died in 1968 at the age of 82, Jones one year later at the same age.
For all the intensity of their rivalry, only two players have been sent off, both in the Five Nations match at Cardiff Arms Park in January 1977.
Scottish referee Norman Sansom dismissed the Swansea lock Geoff Wheel for punching Ireland wing forward Stewart McKinney and Ireland No.8 Willie Duggan for taking retaliatory action.
According to the late Moss Keane, who played in that match, Duggan always protested that he was never sent off, at least not in the literal sense. Keane said that his compatriot always maintained that the referee asked him: 'Would you mind leaving the field?'
To which Duggan is supposed to have said: "Not at all. I'm absolutely knackered…"
Ireland-Wales is followed by Scotland-England at Murrayfield, a place where the visitors have experienced the loss of two Grand Slams - in 1990 when David Sole spearheaded the famous slow walk and again ten years later when Sir Clive Woodward's team were caught in a storm and Duncan Hodge accounted for every one of Scotland's 19 points.
Despite winning just once on their last four visits, England will be clear favourites against the only team unable to contribute to the 12 tries scored in last weekend's three matches.
Whatever happens, the one certainty is that the Calcutta Cup, up for grabs since 1879, will not finish up being kicked around Rose Street in Edinburgh as happened in 1988.
Round two finishes in Paris on Sunday with France-Italy, no longer the foregone conclusion it used to be, not with Sergio Parisse's team winning two of the last three matches.
They will have won a legion of new friends with the way they played at the Millennium Stadium where their 20-year-old centre, Michele Campagnaro, emerged as the outstanding individual performer of the weekend. Italy's challenge will be to start in Paris where they finished in Cardiff.
Team of the weekend?
15. Brice Dulin (France)
14. Yoann Huget (France)
13. Michele Campagnaro (Italy)
12. Wesley Fofana (France)
11. Mike Brown (England)
10. Jonny Sexton (Ireland)
9. Danny Care (England)
1. Cian Healy (Ireland)
2. Richard Hibbard (Wales)
3. Nicolas Mas (France)
4. Alun Wyn Jones (Wales)
5. Courtney Lawes (England)
6. Yannick Nyanga (France)
7. Mauro Bergamasco (Italy)
8. Sergio Parisse (Italy)