Moriarty vows Wales won’t take a backward step
Gatland’s squad intent on sealing Grand Slam glory against last team to beat them
Ross Moriarty of Wales carries against Scotland’s Nick Grigg: “We’ve had some difficult games in the Six Nations, but we are ready to go again.” Photograph: Bryan Keane/Inpho
Ross Moriarty has vowed Wales won’t be taking a backward step as they plan Grand Slam glory against Ireland in Cardiff on Saturday.
A brutal encounter is expected at Principality Stadium with Warren Gatland’s side now 13 games unbeaten and just one win away from a first Six Nations clean sweep since 2012.
Standing in their way are Joe Schmidt’s men in green, the last team to beat Wales.
“This is my first opportunity at a Grand Slam and it’s what we set out to do at the beginning,” said forward Moriarty. “Apart from winning a World Cup it is the biggest thing for anyone in the Northern Hemisphere so I’d be really happy to achieve one.
“We’ve been building nicely over 13 games 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’ latest success – a gritty 18-11 victory over Scotland – was built on a remarkable second-half rearguard plotted by defence coach Shaun Edwards. At Murrayfield Wales made more than 140 tackles after the break following earlier tries from Josh Adams and Jonathan Davies.
Victory over Ireland – his former side – would make Gatland the only head coach in Six Nations history to win three Grand Slams. After the match in Edinburgh, Wales have altered their training schedule slightly for Ireland. They took Monday off to rest tired and battered bodies, but will return to action on Tuesday morning.
Gatland has been boosted by the fitness of fullback Liam Williams who left the field against Scotland due to a second-half “stinger” injury. Lock Adam Beard – who has won all 12 of his Tests to date – is another nursing the scars of battle, but Wales have no serious injury concerns for Ireland.
“We lacked a bit of discipline at times, but we will definitely shape up big-time this week now,” said Moriarty, reflecting on the Scotland win.
“There has been a lot of hard graft, a lot of carries and a lot of tackles, but it’s been nice to get the games in and build up some momentum.
“I say to myself every time we go into a game I am fighting for my spot. One mistake could mean I am out and nobody wants that. Sometimes people don’t see the hard graft, but against Scotland it showed across the board. It was a big heavyweight slog.
“We’ve had some difficult games in the Six Nations, but we are ready to go again.”