Belfast Telegraph

Home Sport

Jones wants to give coach a perfect farewell

 

Steady hand: Wales’ Alun Wyn Jones
Steady hand: Wales’ Alun Wyn Jones

By Andrew Baldock

Alun Wyn Jones says it would be good to send Warren Gatland out of the Six Nations arena exactly how he entered it with Wales - as a Grand Slam winner.

Head coach Gatland's Wales Six Nations adventure started in triumphant fashion 11 years ago when his players were crowned unbeaten champions.

It was Wales' second clean sweep in four seasons following a Mike Ruddock-inspired success in 2005, while they repeated the feat under Gatland four years later.

If Wales beat Ireland in Cardiff today, they will claim another title and Grand Slam in Gatland's final Six Nations game at the helm.

It would also be a Five or Six Nations record for any coach, and provide Wales with a dream send-off into this year's World Cup, which will be Gatland's swansong before he steps down.

"He has a bit left on his contract, so we won't let him get too far ahead," Wales captain Jones said.

"But he came in with one (Grand Slam), and it would be nice for him to leave with one.

"There is a big 80 minutes before we can look at the romantic and sentimental side of it.

"It's his last Six Nations, but there is a bit to go yet, so we are not going to let him sail off into the sunset just yet."

A Wales win - they have claimed 13 successive Test victories since Ireland toppled them at the midway point of last season's Six Nations - would see Jones join an exclusive club.

It would be his third Six Nations Grand Slam, which is a feat achieved by just three other Wales players - Gethin Jenkins, Adam Jones and Ryan Jones.

"There are a lot of different people to the ones that have been involved before," Jones added.

"I've said before, the closer you get to something like this, the further away you can be sometimes.

"Ask any rugby player - this is what you dream about.

"We are at home, with what is going to be a great atmosphere, and these are the occasions you work for."

Belfast Telegraph

Popular

From Belfast Telegraph