Warren Gatland is hopeful Wales can continue the fine work he has set in motion after he departs later this year, although he admits he will miss the Six Nations.
Gatland became the first coach to win three Grand Slams when Wales crushed Ireland 25-7 at a raucous Principality Stadium on Saturday.
The former Ireland boss will leave his post after this year’s Rugby World Cup – with Wayne Pivac to take over – having been in charge of Wales since 2007.
Gatland is confident he has restored the team’s pride and respect – and will be watching on when they return to defend their Six Nations championship in 2020.
“Sitting somewhere next year watching the Six Nations, it’ll be something I miss,” he told a news conference.
“But having been involved here so long, I just hope they can continue what we’ve done in the last 10 or 12 years in terms of putting some respectability back in that jersey – being successful and being a team that is hard to beat.
“I know that when the players put that red jersey on, it’s not always about winning but the Welsh public want to see this group try hard. If they do that, it’s all you can ask for.
“Those are the sort of things that I’m going to miss with this group.”
Asked if he had been seen shedding a tear at full-time, Gatland replied: “It was the rain, I think.
“There’s no doubt that I was reasonably emotional afterwards. It’s great. I get such a buzz out of watching those guys go up and collect trophies and celebrate. That’s what it’s all about.”
— Welsh Rugby Union ? (@WelshRugbyUnion) March 16, 2019
Wales climbed above Ireland to hold second spot in rugby’s official world rankings, and they will head to the World Cup in Japan later this year – Gatland’s swansong – as major title contenders.
“This group of players will run through a brick wall for you,” Gatland said. “I am excited for the World Cup because you get two or three months together and you can prepare like a club side.
Warren Gatland ahead of Ireland clash:
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