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Wales crush Ireland to seal Grand Slam

WALES won the Grand Slam as they defeated Ireland in the pouring rain at the Principality Stadium today.

Warren Gatland’s side put on a clinical display against the Irish, racing to a 7-0 lead inside the first two minutes of the game after a Hadleigh Parkes’ try.

From there the remaining 78 minutes were contested at a canter for the Welsh, who rarely escaped second gear.

Even an early George North departure to injury didn’t faze his teammates, with Dan Biggar slotting in to good effect.

The Irish were way off their best, allowing Wales to ease the pressure by making errors in promising territory.

Added to that, Wales fly half Gareth Anscombe was in fine form with his kicking, guiding over a late first-half penalty to extend the Welsh lead to a 16-0 at half-time.

The second half started as the first had finished, with Anscombe keeping the scoreboard ticking over as Ireland struggled to put any pressure on the Welsh.

A last minute consolation try scored by Jordan Larmour did little to dampen the spirits of those in the Principality as the full-time whistle blew. The contest finished 25-7 — a fine victory for Alun Wyn Jones’ men.

The performance not only seals Wales’ first Grand Slam since 2012, but coach Warren Gatland’s third Grand Slam title with the side, in what was is believed to be his final Six Nations tournament leading Wales.

He is the first coach in the history of the championships to achieve that feat.

Captain Alun Wyn Jones told the BBC: “It’s a milestone. Anything can happen when you work hard.

“We’re a proud nation and I think we’ve shown that in the last nine weeks.”

On the influence of Warren Gatland, Alun Wyn said: “It filters down, he’s the man at the top, we’ve been under pressure but he’s been unwavering — he’s been unflappable.

“I’m sure we’ll miss him when he’s eventually gone.”

Eyes now turn to the Rugby World Cup in Japan later this year, and the captain is all too aware of the expectation surrounding this Wales side.

He said: “We like to think there’s still more potential in us and we know we have a target on our backs now.”

Man of the match Gareth Anscombe told the BBC: “We worked incredibly hard over the last few years and it’s paid off.

“We wanted to enjoy it. We are in the best stadium in the world in front of our people. We wanted to start the game well and we did.

“It’s about picking your moments — it hasn’t all been smooth sailing for me but I’m glad that worked.”