No doubting that Warren Gatland’s Wales deserve their grand slam | Robert KItson

High-class defence and rare stamina make Wales second in the world and leave their Six Nations rivals struggling in their wake

There is no such thing as an accidental grand slam. Winning five games on the trot in testing conditions against reliably motivated opposition does not merely require skill and nerve but, crucially, rare stamina. Anyone questioning Wales’s status as true five-star champions underestimates the uniquely treacherous climb they have just completed.

Yes, Six Nations slam dunks are more frequent than they used to be but this was widely predicted in advance to be the most dog-eat-dog championship of all time. A supposedly impregnable Ireland had just beaten the All Blacks, England began like a bullet train in Dublin and by half-time in the opening game in Paris Wales were 16-0 down to France. To clamber back up the stairway to heaven from such an inauspicious start takes some doing.

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