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Dublin: 4°C Sunday 17 January 2021

'A mistake leaving the roof open,' says Gatland as he celebrates Grand Slam

The winning coach also joked that his side were not looking tired, despite Eddie Jones’ assertions.

Centre Jonathan Davies celebrates the title win.
Centre Jonathan Davies celebrates the title win.
Image: David Davies

WALES HEAD COACH Warren Gatland said that Ireland made a mistake by declining the chance to close the roof ahead of what turned out to be a rain-soaked coronation for the hosts in Cardiff.

Gatland’s final Six Nations match ended in Grand Slam glory as a 25-7 win completed the clean sweep and left Ireland lamenting a long error-strewn day in sopping wet conditions.

”I think Ireland made a mistake leaving the roof open,” Gatland said when saluting the support inside the Principality Stadium, a crowd who in theory would have been louder under a closed roof.

Ireland head coach Joe Schmidt maintained the resistance to closing the roof was not the root of a humbling defeat for a side who entered the year chasing top spot in the world rankings.

“We usually play in those conditions really well, our set-piece is a real strength,” said Schmidt.

Gatland also took the chance to snipe back at Eddie Jones after the England head coach noted that Wales were tiring as they neared the finish line in the Championship.

Wales v Ireland - Guinness Six Nations - Principality Stadium Schmidt and Gatland look to the skies pre-match. Source: David Davies

“I’m proud of the players. It’s about the players, not me,” said the outgoing coach, “nobody can take that away from them. I thought it was a fantastic performance today.

“We didn’t look too tired, did we?”

Gatland hailed Wales’ run to the title, which began with a dogged win away to France when they had to battle from 16 points down in Paris before the Slam became possible after an incredibly hard-fought win over England.

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“We’re just trying to slip under the radar,” Gatland said of his team’s World Cup prospects after 14 straight Test wins.

“We know, on our day we’re capable of beating good teams. We’ve got a bit of a break now before we prepare for the World Cup.”

The Grand Slam winners will take on Australia, Georgia and Fiji in World Cup Pool D, with England, France and Argentina their likely quarter-final opponents.

About the author:

Sean Farrell

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