Wales’ Grand Slam triumph will go down in folklore – and supporters gave their 2019 Guinness Six Nations heroes a deserved welcome.
The undisputed toast of the nation, Warren Gatland’s champions were joined by hordes of fans at special reception at the Senedd – the Welsh Assembly building – at Cardiff Bay on Monday.
Celebrating Wales’ fourth Grand Slam in 14 years, sealed by Sunday’s 25-7 victory over Ireland, the squad were welcomed onto the steps to bask in the adulation of their fans and also pay tribute to head coach Gatland, who has now completed his final Guinness Six Nations campaign as the Welsh head coach.
Having guided Wales to three Grand Slams, Gatland will bow out as the most successful head coach in Championship history but, addressing the crowd, he was quick to divert praise onto his charges.
“This is about the players [and a] brilliant back room team — having good people around makes a difference,” said Gatland.
“We’ve got a group of players that would run through brick walls for you. These guys did that in this campaign and they trained hard, and they thoroughly deserve it.
“The last year’s been pretty good! I’ve enjoyed it.
“The biggest thing is to win the last game then enjoy the next few months.
“We finished second last year. We won it this year. We’ve had a couple of years where we’ve been a little bit disappointed.
“This group of players is pretty special and what we’ve achieved over the last 12 years has been fantastic. That’s why you enjoy it.”
Tour de France champion Geraint Thomas – another Welsh sporting hero to have been honoured at the Senedd – was shown on the big screen with a message of congratulation to the 2019 Guinness Six Nations Grand Slam winners.
And deputy presiding officer Ann Jones AM said: “What a championship, what a squad, what amazing fans and finally, of course, what a Grand Slam.”