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Last Updated: Saturday, 19 March, 2005, 17:21 GMT
Peel praises Wales' dogged heroes
Dwayne Peel turned in a man-of-the-match performance
Wales' Grand Slam-winning players say that their success is a victory for perseverance after a whitewash in 2003.

"We've been through some dark times but this time we performed," said man of the match Dwayne Peel after the 32-20 win over Ireland in Cardiff.

"It's just brilliant, a credit to the team, the squad and the management.

"Ireland played well to come back, but our gallant defence showed the squad's character. It's a first Grand Slam for 27 years, we're over the moon!"

Wales captain Michael Owen was equally ecstatic, saying: "There are so many emotions - exhaustion, relief. It's probably not going to sink in for a couple of weeks."

Try-scoring full-back Kevin Morgan added: "It was something different this time, I've never heard the anthem sung that loud.

The crowd were fantastic, they were watching in the best stadium in the world... and we gave them what they deserved
Wales squad captain Gareth Thomas

"The noise coming from the crowd at the end was fantastic and dragged us to the end really."

The squad were determined to pay tribute to the thousands of Welsh fans who had followed them to Italy, Paris and Edinburgh before roaring them to triumph in Cardiff.

"The fans have been awesome, they've followed us everywhere and this is a great reward for them," said Peel.

Wing Shane Williams added: "It was an unbelievable atmosphere in the stadium, the support was tremendous.

"It would be difficult for any visiting team in Cardiff on a day like this, the fans carried us through."

Wales' injured squad captain Gareth Thomas interrupted his furious celebrations to add: "This meant everything to the boys after three years of hard work.

"The crowd were fantastic, they were watching in the best stadium in the world... and we gave them what they deserved."




WATCH AND LISTEN
Highlights: Wales 32-20 Ireland


Interview: Wales scrum-half Dwayne Peel


Interview: Wales' coach Mike Ruddock


Presentation: Wales lift the Six Nations Trophy



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