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Last Updated: Saturday, 19 March, 2005, 19:07 GMT
Boldness bred success - Ruddock
Wales coach Mike Ruddock holds the Six Nations trophy aloft
Wales coach Mike Ruddock paid tribute to his players for their stylish charge to Grand Slam glory.

"It's been easy for us coaches, we just told them to go out and play," he said after the 32-20 win over Ireland. "We've given them a licence to thrill.

"It was a massive win, the players have been through a lot of hard times and come out the other side.

"Look back to half-time of the France game, 15-6 down away to the champions. We showed character and fortitude."

There are so many emotions - exhaustion, relief. It's probably not going to sink in for a couple of weeks
Wales captain Michael Owen
Ruddock said that Wales were delighted to end a barren period of 11 years without a Championship title, 22 years without a win over Ireland in Cardiff, and 27 years without a Grand Slam.

"It's been a long time coming and we've had to wait for it, but it has been worth the wait," Ruddock added.

"A lot of these guys are too young to remember some of those days of the '70s, but it brought back those memories.

"The players really dug in. At times it has been tough for them but they are an amazing bunch and have worked hard so hard for this moment.

"Now we've got the Grand Slam - and it's brilliant!"

Ruddock had special praise for prop Gethin Jenkins, whose charge-down try in the first half set the platform for victory.

"We'd been working very hard on charging down kicks and putting pressure on Ronan O'Gara," he added.

"There has been no-one better at it than Gethin and he has very good skills.

"He showed his prowess with his dribble to the line and it was a great try."

Interview: Wales' coach Mike Ruddock

Highlights: Wales 32-20 Ireland

Interview: Wales' Dwayne Peel

Presentation: Wales lift the Six Nations Trophy


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