Six Nations

'Bring on the World Cup' says Wales legend

2019-03-18 08:15
Warren Gatland (Getty)

Cardiff - Wales were hailed on Sunday for the energy, drive and belief that powered them to the Six Nations Grand Slam, legendary flyhalf Barry John saying the Rugby World Cup could not come around quick enough.

The Welsh thumped Ireland 25-7 at Cardiff's Principality Stadium on Saturday to follow victories over France (24-19), Italy (26-15), England (21-13) and Scotland (18-11).

It was also a 14th consecutive win, based around an iron-clad, swarming defence and an ever-strengthening squad coach Warren Gatland has forged around talismanic captain Alun Wyn Jones.

"You can see the camaraderie that Gatland and Alun Wyn have built so superbly," ex-Wales and British and Irish Lions icon John said in his Wales on Sunday column.

"It's resulted in the Grand Slam. Bring on the World Cup."

Wales, John continued, "are getting more and more confident and need fear nobody out in Japan", where the World Cup runs from September 20 until November 2.

Former Welsh and Lions prop Graham Price said Wales were thriving on the winning momentum that has seen them rise to second in World Rugby standings.

"Get to the World Cup and anything can happen!" Price said, with Wales drawn in Pool D along with Australia, Fiji, Georgia and Uruguay.

"I am optimistic we are going to do well at the World Cup and, if we were to face the All Blacks, the later the better."

Sam Warburton, who was named Welsh skipper at the age of 22 by Gatland and led Wales to their 2012 Grand Slam, hailed the "fairytale finish" for his former coach, who steps down from his job after the World Cup.

"It will be the most rewarding of his three Grand Slams because it is almost a fairytale to do this in his final Six Nations campaign," Warburton said in the Sunday Times.

"To do it in a World Cup year too - the last team to complete the clean sweep in such a year were England in 2003 and look how that panned out (they won the World Cup) - makes it extra special."

Warburton maintained that the sole team in world rugby he would worry about Wales playing were double defending world champions New Zealand.

"If it was anyone else at the moment, I would back Wales," said the flanker who retired from rugby last year after a succession of injuries.

"If somebody else beat New Zealand and knocked them out of the tournament, as a Welsh fan you would be thinking, 'Oh my God, this is on'."

Ian McGeechan, the former Scotland and Lions centre who was Gatland's predecessor as Lions coach, hailed the New Zealander as a "fantastic servant" to Wales and northern hemisphere rugby in general.

"What I liked about this (Grand Slam) was the spirit Wales showed when they were under the cosh," McGeechan said in the Sunday Telegraph.

"They never panicked. You cannot fake that."

There can be no denying the pressure has been ramped up on Wales, where the public are notoriously fickle and every family, as the joke goes, has an international selector in their ranks.

But Warburton said Gatland had "simply changed the psychology of the nation".

"Wales are now a team of achievers and the nation wants and believes that the team can achieve," he said.

Read more on:    wales  |  six nations  |  rugby

 

Read News24’s Comments Policy

Live Video Streaming
Video Highlights
Sport Talk
Breaking News

Logs
Team P W PTS
Previous Results

Date Home Team Result Away Team
Vote

Who will win the 2018 Six Nations title?

 
 
Men
Women
Love 2 Meet
English Premiership flutter

Take Sport24's "expert" tips at your peril...

Featured

The 2018/19 Absa Premiership season is in full swing. Will Mamelodi Sundowns retain their title? Or can one of Kaizer Chiefs, Orlando Pirates, Wits, SuperSport United - or another team perhaps - snatch glory from the Brazilians? Be sure to visit Sport24 for all the latest news!

Latest blogs
 

Twitter Follow Sport24 on Twitter

Facebook "Like" Sport24's Facebook page

WIN Enter and win with Sport24!

BlackBerry Stay in the loop on your BlackBerry

RSS Feeds Sport news delivered really simply.

 
There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.