The Official Online RBS 6 Nations Store is open. The store has everything you need to get behind your team during the RBS 6 Nations, plus the store is now fully stocked with a much wider range of rugby merchandise.
The Championship that broke that trend was in 2005 when Mike Ruddock’s side completed a first clean sweep since the days of Gareth Edwards and Phil Bennett.
Of that 2005 team that beat Ireland to secure the Grand Slam only props Gethin Jenkins and Adam Jones started again in the 16-9 defeat of France.
But while there might not be too much playing continuity in that eight-year window, another 2005 veteran Kevin Morgan maintains the psychological impact of Wales shedding their also-ran tags should not be underestimated.
“For our side, it was a long time since Wales had completed a Grand Slam so it was a different context,” he said.
“A lot of the young guys in the squad would have been supporters growing up and coming through the academy system.
“I am sure that would have given them a lot of confidence when they eventually came up to the senior ranks. I think overall it gave the whole rugby nation a confidence boost after being in the doldrums for so long. It gave everyone more relief.
“Without a doubt France and England dominated the 1990s and we, along with Ireland and Scotland, were seen as the also-rans.
“But 2005 I think changed perceptions on what we could do and who we could compete with, which this next set of players have really taken on.”
The next challenge for Wales is to transfer their Northern Hemisphere dominance onto the global stage.
Tri-Nations scalps have been few and far between in recent times, with defeats to South Africa and Australia in the World Cup.
They will have a chance to amend that third-fourth place play-off defeat to the Wallabies in this summer’s tour and Morgan is confident that Gatland has the perfect marriage of fitness and finesse to conquer all.
“In 2005, it was a lot more open game,” he said. “We did not have a big set of players so we decided to use the high ball as a tactic.
“But in terms of competing with the Southern Hemisphere sides, this side has a better chance with their physicality, size and strength to compete at that level.
“They will not be overpowered like we were. We could compete with them on a skill level but just could not cope with their physicality.
“These boys have got the skills but now they also have the physicality to compete with the very best on a global level.”
One of Wales’ many heroes in this year’s RBS 6 Nations has been the man filling Morgan’s No.15 shirt Leigh Halfpenny.
The full-back demonstrated his full complement of talents with two tries against Scotland, the decisive conversion against Ireland and a try-saving tackle on David Strettle against England.
And it has been his improvement in the latter department, defence, that has impressed Morgan – who won 48 caps for his country – the most.
“Leigh Halfpenny has been the form full back in the Six Nations,” he said. “He has been outstanding. It is important for a full-back to have the core skills of being confident under the high ball and being able to run good angles.
“But what has impressed me the most is how much he has improved defensively. As a full-back you have to know how to use the touchline as your friend.
“You have so much field to defend you need to know exactly where you are in relation to everywhere else and that’s what Leigh is doing superbly at the moment. That comes from game understanding and Warren Gatland deserves a lot of credit for giving games to play.”