Gatland urges Wales to ‘build further’ after beating England

CARDIFF – Warren Gatland has warned Wales against resting on their laurels after a second-half recovery saw them to a thrilling Six Nations victory over England in Cardiff.

Wales, 10-3 behind at half-time, rallied to win 21-13.

Victory left Wales two wins away from completing a Grand Slam in coach Gatland’s final Six Nations in charge.

The New Zealander, who will stand down after the World Cup in Japan later this year, knows wins over Scotland at Murrayfield and Ireland in Cardiff will see Wales to their third Championship clean sweep since he took charge in 2008.

“The biggest challenge for us now is to not be happy with beating England and accepting where we are at the moment, but try and build further and create something very special,” said Gatland.

“It would be pretty special if we could win the championship in my final year with Wales, and sign off like that.

“I was really proud of the performance. The second half was as good as it gets, and a lot of people out there might sit up and take a little bit of notice of that.”

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Wales’ Josh Adams and teammates celebrate victory after the match against England. Photo: Reuters/Paul Childs

Gatland added: “Eddie (Jones, the England coach) said they were coming down to spoil our party. Well, maybe we’ve spoilt theirs.”

Wales’ 12th successive win – a new national record – owed much to replacement fly-half Dan Biggar, brought on by Gatland for the final quarter at a raucous Principality Stadium.

Biggar kept his cool, however, and it was from his precise cross-kick that wing Josh Adams scored the match-clinching try two minutes from time.  

“We are in a great position, but we are fully aware that one slip-up would probably mean we don’t win the Championship,” Biggar said.

“It (the Grand Slam) would be the perfect way to finish off what has been a great reign by Warren.

“We’ve won 12 on the bounce now, so we are going into games full of confidence. We’re on a great run, but we know the next two games will present very difficult challenges.”

Reflecting on the win over England, he added: “It was just a really solid second half, a very professional 40 minutes. And in international rugby all that matters is getting across that finishing line with your noses in front.

“We kept within one score, and eventually we managed to grind out the result.”

Agence France-Presse (AFP)

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