Wales’ Luke Charteris plays down tackle count of 31 against Ireland
‘It’s who they run at, and they decided to run at me quite a lot’
Wales secondrow Luke Charteris (scrum cap) and Jamie Roberts tackle Jamie Heaslip during the Six Nations match at the Millennium Stadium in Cardiff. Photograph: Billy Stickland/Inpho
Wales lock Luke Charteris has played down his record-breaking heroics during Wales’ stirring Six Nations victory over Ireland.
The secondrow giant made a staggering 31 tackles – a tournament-best for any player – as Wales prevailed 23-16 to keep themselves in this season’s title mix.
He also played a starring role in the lineout, earning him widespread acclaim from Wales’ coaching staff and his team-mates.
“It is one of those things, tackles,” Charteris said. “It’s who they run at, and they decided to run at me quite a lot.
“The best thing about the game on the weekend was the work-rate throughout the team around the field. It was unbelievable. There were boys racing to get back in line.
“You could feel in the game that something pretty special was happening. You could feel there was an extra buzz.
“I feel a lot worse today than I did yesterday. Two days after is when it always hits you.
“Ireland have some very good, big ball-carriers in their team, so you felt the tackles you made on them.”
Wales repelled 32 phases of Irish attacking play during the third quarter at the Millennium Stadium, a staggering rearguard action that ended when the home side won a penalty to a tumultuous reception from the home crowd.
“You are very well aware in that phase of tackles how big a deal it is psychologically,” Charteris added.
“It’s almost like it is the last few minutes of the game, and you do everything you can just to stop that score.
“There was the noise when we got that penalty, in the middle of the game like that, and then we managed to go down the field and score.
“It was a massive turning point in the game psychologically. It was a massive lift for us, and I am sure it would have been a blow for them.
“You have got to go back and give credit to the coaches. Shaun (Edwards) works really hard with us and puts systems in place, and we have been together quite a long time.
“We know what he wants and we know our structure, and once that is in place it comes down to the individual players and the massive work ethic.
“Because you play together so much and you know how good the boys are, you know all you have got to focus on is doing your job and you know that everyone around you will do theirs. It was a great example of that on the weekend.”
Attention has now switched to next Saturday’s final round of Six Nations action, when Wales face Italy in Rome, followed by Ireland tackling Scotland at Murrayfield and England hosting France.
England, Ireland and Wales are currently tied on six points, but England’s superior points difference has them in pole position, with Ireland second and Wales third.
“We have to go and win on Saturday – that’s the first thing,” Charteris said.
“England and Ireland have got tough games, and the French boys had a good win on the weekend (against Italy). They will be keen to go to England and do a job.
“We certainly haven’t given up on the championship, and we will go there and try to win the game and hope for some favours.”