Six Nations: Anscombe hails Gatland as best coach in Wales' history

  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • G+
  • Mail
  • Pinterest
  • LinkedIn
  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • G+
  • WhatsApp
  • Pinterest
  • LinkedIn
Anscombe (l) and Warren Gatland (r).

Gareth Anscombe says that Warren Gatland has “got to go down as Wales‘ best coach” ahead of Saturday’s Six Nations clash against Ireland.

Victory for fly-half Anscombe and company would secure Wales the Six Nations title and a third Grand Slam of New Zealander Gatland’s reign.

No coach in history has masterminded three Five or Six Nations clean sweeps, but Gatland is now 80 minutes away from potentially achieving that.

It is also his final Six Nations game as Wales boss – he steps down after the World Cup in Japan later this year – and Anscombe has no doubt how highly he rates.

“He has got to go down as Wales’ best coach,” said Anscombe, whose parents will travel from New Zealand to watch Saturday’s Cardiff encounter.

“It is hard to go past his record and what he has accomplished – the fact that we are going for another Grand Slam that would be his third.

“He has just got the ability to get the best out of everyone, and as a player, one thing he does do is give you a belief to win.

“He really does leave no doubt in your mind that the team will get the job done. That’s what he did in the lead-up to the England game (Wales won 21-13).

“He has an exceptional ability to get the boys up for what we are doing. I am sure he will know the buttons to push this week.

“He has been with Wales a long time, and he will probably be a little bit emotional as it will be the last time in the stadium with this on the line. He deserves to go out with this.

“But likewise, everyone deserves it with the work we have put in and the commitment we have shown. We all deserve to get this, but it won’t come easy and Ireland won’t put this on a plate for us.”

Parkes (l) and Anscombe (r) have been key in Wales' Six Nations run.

Parkes (l) and Anscombe (r) have been key in Wales’ Six Nations run.

When Wales last won the Grand Slam seven years ago, Anscombe and his national team colleague, centre Hadleigh Parkes, were preparing to make their Super Rugby debuts for the Auckland-based Blues against the Bulls in South Africa.

But both players are now an integral part of the Wales set-up, performing key roles during an unbeaten Six Nations campaign and a 13-match winning run.

“It’s crazy how much my rugby landscape has changed over the past four to six years,” Anscombe added.

“I am in a hugely-privileged position and I am enjoying my time here and being part of this group.

“For us to be where we are at, with 13 wins in a row, it’s nice maybe to be able to look back one day and say you were part of that.

“For us to get the Grand Slam, it would be something that no-one could take away from you. It would be right up there in terms of accomplishments.

“You can see this week how much it means to the public, and everyone is desperate to finish the job.

“We know as players that we might not get this chance again. So you hate to look back with regret.

“It is going to take a huge effort from us. It is going take our best performance of the Six Nations, too. We want to finish on a high with our best performance.”

Provided by Press Association Sport

Most popular

Wales ready for final push for Grand Slam glory, says Ross Moriarty

  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • G+
  • Mail
  • Pinterest
  • LinkedIn
  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • G+
  • WhatsApp
  • Pinterest
  • LinkedIn

Ross Moriarty says Wales are “ready to go again” for the final push of their Guinness Six Nations title and Grand Slam bid.

Ireland stand between Wales and a first Six Nations clean sweep for seven years when the fierce rivals clash in Cardiff on Saturday.

While Wales have Grand Slam winners in their line-up – captain Alun Wyn Jones, wing George North, centre Jonathan Davies and flanker Justin Tipuric – such an achievement would represent a first for number eight Moriarty.

“Apart from winning a World Cup, it is the biggest thing for anyone in northern hemisphere rugby, so I would be really happy to achieve one,” Moriarty said.

“We’ve been building nicely over 13 games (unbeaten), and against Ireland, we won’t take a backward step to try and continue the streak.

“They are a good team, and we know what they are capable of.”

Wales put themselves in a position to challenge for European rugby’s biggest double prize by repelling a fierce second-half onslaught from Scotland at Murrayfield on Saturday.

An exceptional defensive display underpinned Wales’ 18-11 success, which means they remain undefeated since Ireland beat them at the midway point of last season’s Six Nations.

Moriarty added: “It was a very tough day at the office. We came up short two years ago at Murrayfield but this time we showed a lot of character to pull through.

“You could see the momentum change in the second half, but we showed character with the driving lineouts, big defensive sets and big turnovers.

“We lacked a bit of discipline at times, which gave them the chance to go to the corners, but we will definitely shape up big-time this week now.

“Sometimes, people don’t see the hard graft, but against Scotland, it showed across the board with all the forwards and all the backs. It was a big heavyweight slog.

“We’ve had some difficult games in the Six Nations, but we are ready to go again.”

Moriarty has been among Wales’ many success stories in this season’s tournament, although wing Josh Adams probably tops that particular list.

Adams’ sparkling solo try against Scotland was his third in successive Six Nations games, earning many plaudits, including from his fellow wing North.

“He’s brilliant,” North said. “He is hungry, he wants to learn, he wants to play, he is energetic and he has got an unbelievable skill-set and mindset.

“To be fair to him, every challenge he has been up against, he has fronted up.

“His finish (against Scotland) was his only real opportunity, and he took it with both hands really well. That was a world-class finish by anyone’s standard.

“It’s great to work alongside him. He asks questions and vice versa. We challenge each other, and hopefully, it brings out the best in both of us.”

Provided by Press Association Sport

Most popular

Six Nations 2019: Breaking down the good and bad from round four

  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • G+
  • Mail
  • Pinterest
  • LinkedIn
  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • G+
  • WhatsApp
  • Pinterest
  • LinkedIn

Wales inched closer to a first Grand Slam since 2012 by extending their 100 per cent record at the weekend.

Here, we break down the good and bad points from the weekend’s action.

WALES

Good: It may have been an indifferent performance for Warren Gatland’s side but the Grand Slam dream is firmly on track. Defended well under the pump for much of the second-half and slowed up Scotland ball at every opportunity. Always felt the Dragons had another gear despite being under pressure late on. A class side.

Bad: May be guilty of thinking ahead to their decisive encounter against Ireland next Saturday. Missed a few tackles in the second period and were forced to defend desperately when Scotland were camped in their 22. Star man Liam Williams going off injured is also a worry.

ENGLAND

Good: An incredibly powerful performance. Manu Tuilagi and Joe Cokanasiga impressed as the Red Rose crossed for eight tries in a dominant display. They could pick up a third Six Nations title in four years if Ireland beat Wales in Cardiff next week.

Bad: Hard to find many negatives with their performance considering it was a comprehensive victory.

IRELAND

Good: Ireland controlled everything – the efficiency at the breakdown, tight defence, excellent continuity play, quick line speed and general commitment to the contest. James Ryan, Garry Ringrose and Cian Healy were also sublime. Their superb win over France elevates confidence levels in time to spoil Wales’ grand slam party next weekend.

Bad: If there was one criticism for an overall strong Ireland display, they switched off defensively in the final ten minutes and conceded two tries. The withdrawal of full-back Rob Kearney before kick-off was another slight concern, but he is expected to be fit for next weekend.

FRANCE

Good: The sole positive for Jacques Brunel – besides two late tries – was the performance of Felix Lambey. The 24-year-old Lyon lock made 30 tackles over his 62 minutes on the field, including 22 in the first-half alone.

Bad: Where to start. Their discipline continues to be a disgrace, conceding a staggering 12 penalties over the course of the game. They showed no consistency in their game plan and never looked like being a threat. One of sports biggest enigmas, especially with the immense talent they have in their squad.

SCOTLAND

Good: Though it was another defeat, it was the Scots best performance of the championship so far. There was plenty to admire about the displays of Darcy Graham and Hamish Watson. The latter, in particular, showed a glimmer of his potential when introduced late in the second period, carrying with real vigour and getting them over the gain line.

Bad: Squandered a large chunk of quality positions and could have won the game if they were any way accurate. The Murrayfield defeat followed an error strewn home loss to Ireland and a meek display against France in round three in Paris. The loss of key men to injury has also diminished the team.

ITALY

Good: Their persistence in the match was one of the big positives for Conor O’Shea. They lost three centres to injury and ended up with a prop playing as a backrow at one point. For all their effort they were rewarded with a try by Luca Morisi on 53 minutes. But otherwise it was all England.

Bad: The Azzurri were unable to match the physicality of England, lacked consistency and fell to their 21st successive Six Nations defeat. A loss against France next Saturday looks likely too.

Most popular