Wales boss Warren Gatland says he cannot wait to see his side face down Ireland in Cardiff on Saturday. The Welsh survived a scare against Scotland but battled on to secure an 18-11 win at Murrayfield and now know another victory will see them seal both the Six Nations title and their first Grand Slam since 2012.
Doing so in a World Cup year will send out a huge message to their rivals ahead of Japan 2019 and Gatland has admitted his team may have found themselves distracted by the prospect of facing Ireland for the clean sweep during the second half in Edinburgh.
Ireland were the pre-tournament favourites for the Championship but an opening defeat to England stalled their progress, and they will hope to keep the pressure on against France on Sunday. Even so, with home advantage on his team’s side, Gatland says he is already excited about what should be a titanic tussle at the Principality Stadium, when his team will be aiming for a 14th win in a row.
“There will be emotion,” admitted Gatland. “It is St Patrick’s Day next week and the Irish will be chomping at the bit. It is going to be a great occasion and you won’t be able to get a ticket anywhere. “We want to win this Championship and the only way we can do that is by getting the Grand Slam.
“There will be no lack of motivation and if that Welsh crowd can do the same thing they did against England. That atmosphere, drive and motivation they gave the players will have a significant impact next week.” The Kiwi added: “I am excited about it and it’s a dream we can fulfil and achieve something pretty special as a group. We are 13 in a row and hopefully we can do 14 now.”