When Wales won the Grand Slam in 1978, I never in my wildest dreams thought that a rugby mad Country like Wales would have to wait 27 years to win another one. Here we are only days away from history being made or are we once again to experience a false dawn. In 1988 and 1994 we were on the verge of winning the Grand Slam only to stumble at the last hurdle – but this time there is genuine optimism in the air and its all down to one thing – Welsh flair at last.
The rugby being played by the team is wonderful – its what we’ve all been waiting for – to see counter attacking, finger tip passing by forwards and backs alike makes us all sit at the edge of our seats in raptures.
The tries scored this season have been amongst the best – in fact even when we lost games against South Africa and New Zealand we still managed to score some magnificent tries. Perhaps in Scotland it was too easy but still the attitude to move the ball from deep positions is what a true Welsh rugby person from past eras were brought up in by tradition.
We hope this style will continue on Saturday but against the Irish it will be ten times more difficult than against the Scots. I am sure that Mike Ruddock will be wary (not that they need to be told) by players of the ferocity and pressure of the Irish, but with super cool Stephen Jones controlling events, I am sure we’ll weather the storm and go on and continue in the same mode as we’ve seen all season.
I believe we have more pace out wide and a better back row around the field. However the Irish will attempt to win this game up front and attack our line-out and scrum. One English so-called expert has said that the Welsh pack is not good enough – well I can only say that they have given our backline plenty of ball so far this season and Saturday will be no different.
So lets hope we are celebrating in the WREX room after the game – but even if we lose we can still enjoy the fact that it has been a great season with great memories of great tries and hopefully go into the summer with the Lions in New Zealand with most of this Welsh Team in its ranks.
J.J.Williams Grand Slam Team Member 1978