Wales will travel to Paris on Saturday hopeful of masterminding the away victory that would give them a memorable Six Nations Grand Slam.
Host James Gemmell is joined by Welsh legend Scott Quinnell, former Ireland captains Jamie Heaslip and Fiona Coghlan, and Scotland hooker Fraser Brown as they take listeners behind the scenes of some of the tournament’s most iconic matches.
Quinnell was a key member of the Wales team that beat England 32-31 at ‘home’ at Wembley Stadium in the final match of the Championship before it became the Six Nations.
According to the former British and Irish Lion, several of the Welsh players became distracted during the warm-up in north-west London, which riled their coach Graham Henry.
“Tom Jones was singing Delilah,” Quinnell said. “We were doing Auckland grids and we all stopped, and we thought 'Oh, Tom Jones, never seen Tom before. Oh, look at that. It's amazing!'
“And then Graham Henry said: 'Oh, what are you doing mate?', and [we said:] 'Oh, sorry, sorry, sorry'.
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“So, we got back into the Auckland grids and then we're doing lineouts after that then, and then Max Boyce came on and he had this massive leek with him and we stopped.
“We were doing lineouts and I remember Garin Jenkins and myself and Chris Wyatt and we all sort of stopped and went 'Oh, look it's Max Boyce!’. And Graham Henry literally said: 'Right, everybody back in the changing sheds, everybody back in the training sheds!’"
Although Quinnell and his team-mates felt like “naughty little schoolboys” as they sat in the Wembley changing room waiting for kick-off, they were able to focus their minds on the match.
Two hours later they were celebrating a famous victory as Quinnell gave the scoring pass to Scott Gibbs, who danced over the goal-line, and Neil Jenkins held his nerve to convert.
“We never practised the move before,” Quinnell said. “There was no point really, because it involved me passing the ball. So, there wasn't any point because I never did it!”
Test centurion Heaslip regales Gemmell and Quinnell — and potentially provides some pointers for Wales — with the story of Ireland’s Grand Slam-clinching win at Stade de France in 2014, and the celebrations that followed.
Brown provides insight into Scotland’s recent Calcutta Cup victory over England at Twickenham, and the second-half comeback that earned a 38-38 draw in London two years previously.
Meanwhile, Coghlan discusses the effort that went into both Ireland’s Women’s Six Nations Grand Slam in 2013 and the team’s defeat of New Zealand at Rugby World Cup 2014.
It seems the Grand Slam campaign was catalysed by the martial arts skills of coach Philip Doyle, who needed to force open the changing room door at Talbort Athletic Ground with his side trailing Wales 7-5 at half-time of their opening match of the Championship.
“Obviously, everyone remembers the match against Italy and lifting the trophy, and the big win against England at home, 25-0,” Coghlan said.
“But for me, one of the defining matches was the first match against Wales, who have always been our nemesis, and we always struggled away from home.
“We were down playing poorly at half-time, and we ran into the changing rooms and Joy Neville was leading the way, and she went to open the door and she said it was locked.
“And, Phil, our coach, who was furious because we were playing so badly, was screaming at the caretaker in the changing room saying, 'Get the door open!’ And he's like, 'It's not locked'.
“So, then Goose (Doyle) proceeded to kung-fu kick the door in so we could get in and try and sort out our problems at half-time.
“It obviously worked because we came out in the second half and we were much improved. Ali Miller denied Wales a try by literally her toenails, and then we went down and scored one of our best tries of the Championship, touching probably every player's hands.”
Wayne Pivac will hope he doesn’t need to take similar action at Stade de France on Saturday.