Grand Slam: Wales' Six Nations victory event at Senedd

  • 19 March 2012
  • From the section Wales

Thousands of fans have celebrated Wales' Grand Slam success at a victory event at the Senedd in Cardiff Bay.

First Minister Carwyn Jones formally re-presented the Six Nations trophy to Wales captain Sam Warburton in front of ecstatic supporters.

The country has been celebrating since the final whistle blew after Saturday's win over France.

Wales won their third Six Nations Grand Slam in eight seasons, securing their place in Welsh rugby history.

"What we have here is a great team, a great captain, a great coach and a great credit to Wales," Mr Jones said.

Warburton said the fans had "spurred" the team on throughout the campaign.

Image caption Thousands of fans turned out to cheer the Wales team

Fireworks and ticker tape were let off after the presentation, and the ceremony ended with the Welsh national anthem before official photos were taken.

Wales coach Warren Gatland said: "I was warned about the confetti and I got such a shock when it went off. Even the players at the back were laughing.

"It's humbling to come out and realise the game means a lot to a lot of people."

The Welsh Rugby Union says 8,000 supporters, many wearing their Wales shirts and waving flags, were at the event, and those who arrived early were treated to singers and choirs.

Steve Harding was one of the fans at the Senedd.

He said: "It's important to show we appreciate what they've done because it's fabulous. Magnificent."

The team arrived at the Senedd shortly before 18:00 GMT and received cheers from the crowd, while taking pictures of supporters who came to see them, before going inside the building.

Former captain and three-times Grand Slam winner Ryan Jones said: "Moments like this are wonderful - it's overwhelming.

"You wonder what the turnout will be like but the support we've had over the years has been fantastic."

Wales centre Jamie Roberts added: "It's pretty amazing and we've been blessed with the weather.

"As players, I don't think many of the boys have experienced anything quite like it."

'Exhilarating experience'

A private reception was hosted by the first minister and the presiding officer before the squad took to the steps of the debating chamber to receive the trophy.

The team returned to the Senedd where a few short speeches took place ahead of the team's departure.

Heritage Minister Huw Lewis said the weekend had been an "exhilarating experience" for the whole of Wales.

An estimated 250,000 people descended on Cardiff on Saturday either to be at the match or to watch the game in the supporters' village and the city's bars.

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