Six Nations: Top 11 coaches with the most titles and Grand Slams in the history of the Championship

Fabien Galthié joined an elite list of coaches in 2021 when he guided France to their first Six Nations title since 2010, becoming the eleventh coach to lift the trophy and the ninth to claim a Grand Slam. Dubbed 'rugby's greatest championship', the Six Nations is a notoriously difficult competition to win with Grand Slams, winning all five of your fixtures, even more so. The likes of Bernard Laporte and Warren Gatland have worked out the formula to do just that and are legends of the Championship for having so. Credit: Alamy
Fabien Galthié joined an elite list of coaches in 2021 when he guided France to their first Six Nations title since 2010, becoming the eleventh coach to lift the trophy and the ninth to claim a Grand Slam. Dubbed 'rugby's greatest championship', the Six Nations is a notoriously difficult competition to win with Grand Slams, winning all five of your fixtures, even more so. The likes of Bernard Laporte and Warren Gatland have worked out the formula to do just that and are legends of the Championship for having so. Credit: Alamy

Fabien Galthie joined an elite list of coaches in 2022 when he guided France to their first Six Nations title since 2010, becoming the eleventh coach to lift the trophy and the ninth to claim a Grand Slam.

Dubbed ‘rugby’s greatest championship’, the Six Nations is a notoriously difficult competition to win with Grand Slams, winning all five of your fixtures, even more so. The likes of Bernard Laporte and Warren Gatland have worked out the formula to do just that and are legends of the Championship for having done so.

Let’s look at the top 11 coaches with the most Six Nations titles in the competition’s history since Italy joined in 2000.

1 title: Mike Ruddock, Declan Kidney, Marc Lievremont, Martin Johnson, Wayne Pivac, Fabien Galthie

As mentioned, Galthie is a recent entry onto the list after lifting the Six Nations title last year. He joins five other coaches who have managed the feat on one occasion.

The 53-year-old is one of eight coaches who have also completed the Grand Slam. However, the French head coach will hope that he does not fall into the same category as Declan Kidney, Marc Lievremont and Mike Ruddock, who secured the Grand Slam along with their first title, then never won the competition again.

Ruddock guided Wales to a Grand Slam title in 2005, his first-ever Championship and Wales’ first since the 1978 Five Nations. He resigned from his role in 2006, with Gatland replacing him.

Kidney was Ireland‘s head coach between 2008 and 2013, leading the side to a Grand Slam in 2009, ending a 61-year wait. He was named IRB Coach of the Year for his efforts.

After guiding France to a Grand Slam triumph in 2010, Lievremont helped the side reach the 2011 Rugby World Cup Final – infamously falling out with the playing squad during the tournament.

After winning five Six Nations titles, including two Grand Slams with England as a player, Martin Johnson coached the Red Rose to Six Nations glory in 2011. His side lost 24-8 on the final day, denying them a Grand Slam.

Finally, Wayne Pivac won his first Six Nations with Wales in his second attempt in 2021, but poor results in 2022 meant he would not have a fourth go this year.

3 titles: Sir Clive Woodward, Joe Schmidt, Eddie Jones

Eddie Jones' first England captain Dylan Hartley lifts the RBS 6 Nations trophy during the 2016 Credit: Alamy
Eddie Jones' first England captain Dylan Hartley lifts the RBS 6 Nations trophy during the 2016 Credit: Alamy

Just five coaches have managed to win the Six Nations on more than one occasion, and three of them have successfully lifted the title three times.

Sir Clive Woodward was the first to do it when he led England to back-to-back titles in the first two Six Nations tournaments in 2000 and 2001, falling short of the Grand Slam on the final weekend on both occasions, first to Scotland and then Ireland. In 2003, he went one better as his side won all five games and went on to win the Rugby World Cup in Australia later that year.

Similarly, Joe Schmidt won back-to-back titles in his first two campaigns in charge of Ireland (2014 and 2015) and secured the Grand Slam in 2018.

After Schmidt’s two years of dominance, it was Eddie Jones’ turn to replicate the Ireland coach, but he went one better, securing a Grand Slam in his first tournament in charge of England but lost on the last day of the 2017 tournament to fall short of back-to-back Grand Slams, a feat yet to be achieved in the tournament.

4 titles: Bernard Laporte

During his eight-year stint as France head coach, Laporte won an impressive four titles for a 50% success rate.

Les Bleus finished in fifth place in his first tournament but bounced back in 2001 to finish runners-up. They claimed their first Six Nations Grand Slam in 2002, ending the Championship stylishly with a comprehensive 44-5 win over Ireland.

France started the 2006 tournament slowly, losing 20-16 to Scotland at Murrayfield, but finished on top of the pile, winning their remaining four games to seal Laporte’s third title. He claimed his fourth and final trophy in 2007, missing out on a Grand Slam after losing 26-18 to England on the penultimate weekend.

4 titles – Warren Gatland

Wales captain Alun Wyn Jones (centre) with the Six Nations trophy during the 2019 Guinness Six Nations Grand Slam winners, Warren Gatland's record fourth title and third grand slam celebration welcome at the Senedd in Cardiff Bay. Credit: Alamy
Wales captain Alun Wyn Jones (centre) with the Six Nations trophy during the 2019 Guinness Six Nations Grand Slam winners, Warren Gatland's record fourth title and third grand slam celebration welcome at the Senedd in Cardiff Bay. Credit: Alamy

The most successful coach in Six Nations history, Gatland has won four titles with Wales but what separates him from Laporte is his three Grand Slams.

Gatland will have the chance to go one-up on the number of titles when he takes charge of Wales once again this year, and if his record is anything to go by, he may do it.

In his debut Wales campaign in 2008, his charges won all five matches on their way to lifting the trophy. A feat they replicated four years later in 2012. In 2013, Gatland’s side fell to an opening day defeat to Ireland but recovered to secure his third title and only one that has not been a Grand Slam.

The New Zealander became the first coach to complete the Grand Slam three times in 2019, his last campaign as head coach until now.

Most Six Nations titles

4 – Bernard Laporte (France): 2002, 2004, 2006, 2007

4 – Warren Gatland (Wales): 2008, 2012, 2013, 2019

3 – Sir Clive Woodward (England): 2000, 2001, 2003

3 – Joe Schmidt (Ireland): 2014, 2015, 2018

3 – Eddie Jones (England): 2016, 2017, 2020

1 – Mike Ruddock (Wales): 2005

1 – Declan Kidney (Ireland): 2009

1 – Marc Lievremont (France): 2010

1 – Martin Johnson (England): 2011

1 – Wayne Pivac (Wales): 2021

1 – Fabien Galthie (France): 2022

Most Six Nations Grand Slams

3 – Warren Gatland (Wales): 2008, 2012, 2019

2 – Bernard Laporte (France): 2002, 2004

1 – Sir Clive Woodward (England): 2003

1 – Mike Ruddock (Wales): 2005

1 – Declan Kidney (Ireland): 2009

1 – Marc Lievremont (France): 2010

1 – Eddie Jones (England): 2016

1 – Joe Schmidt (Ireland): 2018

1 – Fabien Galthie (France): 2022

READ MORE: Six Nations: 14 all-time individual records that could be broken or equalled this year

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