Ruthless Wales seal Grand Slam with emphatic victory

Alun Wyn Jones says Wales have now put a target on their backs after clinching a deserved Six Nations Grand Slam with a 25-7 win over an ill-disciplined Ireland. AFP  Paul ELLIS

Wales shrugged off the rain, wind and Ireland to win the Six Nations and complete the Grand Slam this morning (local time).

Congratulations Warren Gatland and his Wales team for a thoroughly deserved Grand Slam - and what a job the New Zealander has done.

And the team gave coach Warren Gatland, who will step down after the Rugby World Cup later this year, a flawless Six Nations sendoff. You only have to look back a year and see that England went back-to-back in the championship (in 2016 and 2017) and then ended up fifth.

"We have to be more consistent, dust ourselves off and hope we finish strong in the World Cup".

"Those two guys are not the reason we lost and those two guys we'll continue to invest in", Schmidt declared.

"In our previous two World Cups (Gatland was in charge of), we were one of the fittest teams in the World Cup".

Larmour did dance his way over with the last play of the game to at least save face for Ireland, but they were a long way off their rampant opponents, who will enjoy their night.

Warren Gatland became the first coach to win three Six Nations Grand Slams. AFP  Paul ELLIS
Warren Gatland became the first coach to win three Six Nations Grand Slams. AFP Paul ELLIS

The final round defeat meant there was no fairytale ending for Schmidt or team captain Rory Best, who are both set to step down after later this year.

But amidst talk that his side's performance in this year's Guinness Six Nations could constitute a disappointment back home, Schmidt defended his troops and told supporters to trust in his process. "Our discipline doesn't usually let us down, it allowed them to get a distance ahead of us, they scored after a couple of minutes and you're always under a little bit of pressure and we didn't respond overly well to that pressure giving up those penalties".

"Obviously, with the conditions being what they were, to go 10-0 behind so quickly was incredibly frustrating and it just puts pressure on you and pressure can do very odd things to you and we probably had to force it a little bit".

"Emotion plays a huge part in big games like that".

With today's 25-7 drubbing of Ireland in Cardiff, Warren Gatland's side won their 14th straight test match to leapfrog Ireland in the rankings.

He said: "I'd like to take my hat off to Wales and Gats".

"We weren't as good as Wales today".

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