Wales

Wales fans and players celebrate Grand Slam at Senedd

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Media captionWales won an emphatic 25-7 victory over Ireland at the Principality Stadium on Saturday

Hundreds of rugby fans joined the Wales national team in Cardiff Bay to celebrate winning the Grand Slam.

Celebrations after victory over Ireland to win the Six Nations continued throughout the weekend.

They included a special event at the Senedd to mark a fourth Slam in 14 years.

Receiving big cheers from the crowd, head coach Warren Gatland said how he has "really loved his time here."

He added that when he joined the team: "There was no way to go but up."

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Media captionSix Nations 2019: Wales beat Ireland to complete Six Nations Grand Slam

"I have loved every minute here, you people have been so friendly, welcoming. Thank you very much.

"This group of players is very special. What we have achieved over the last 12 years… makes it very special."

Someone from the crowd shouted to Gatland: "Don't go to England!"

He replied: "I would never be allowed back across the Severn Bridge!"

Speaking at the end of the event, First Minister Mark Drakeford told the team: "We are enormously grateful."

He added: "It was suggested in the newspapers over the weekend that the captain ought to be the next First Minister of Wales.

"When his time comes, I will be there to support him!"

Image caption First Minister Mark Drakeford said "We are enormously grateful"

Team captain Alun Wyn Jones praised Gatland for his work with the squad.

"He entered the room with a Grand Slam and will leave the room with a Grand Slam," he said.

"He brings out the best in us."

Deputy Presiding Officer, Ann Jones AM, said: "What a championship, what a squad. What amazing fans and finally, of course, what a Grand Slam."

Tour de France champion Geraint Thomas was shown on the big screen offering his best wishes to the team ahead of the game, six months after he was celebrated at the Senedd.

A public celebration kicked off at 17:30 GMT, with a reception at the Senedd starting at 18:00.

The squad were then welcomed on to the steps in front of fans.

The team kicked off a weekend of revelry with an emphatic 25-7 victory over Ireland at the Principality Stadium - their record 14th win in a row.

Team mascots Joey Hobbs was given the gift of Alun Wyn Jones' jacket as he shivered in the cold conditions in the stadium.

Image copyright Jason Lewis
Image caption Mascot Joey Hobbs was given a jacket by Alun Wyn Jones

Joey's father, Dan Hobbs, told BBC Radio Wales: "It was absolutely baltic and he was shivering...Alun Wyn looked after him well."

Afterwards, he said his son ran over to him still wearing the top.

Mr Hobbs explained: "He ran straight over, still with Alun Wyn's top on, and that was his main concern - he was just saying 'What shall I do with this Dad, do I need to give it back?'"

His son added that the Wales captain had said he could have it.

Mr Hobbs said they are now organising getting the jacket framed.

He added: "He just saw a little kid who was cold and he looked after him, I don't think Alun Wyn would think any more of it than that he just did what was right for him to do."

Image caption Geraint Thomas was shown wishing Wales luck ahead of the game on Saturday
Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption Fans have another chance to celebrate

Clubbers in one Cardiff nightclub were surprised to discover Wales flanker Josh Navidi mixing music behind the decks in a DJ booth, over the weekend.

The rap-music fan spent 45 minutes entertaining a delighted crowd.

One onlooker said: "He went on about midnight and played a great set. All killer no filler."

Image caption Navidi delights clubbers in Cardiff

There was also a surprise for guests at a wedding on Gower.

Winning a first Six Nations title did not stop Adam Beard fulfilling his wedding duties for a close friend.

The Ospreys second-row was unable to be an usher for Joe and Tiffany Davies due to the game.

However he left Cardiff after the final whistle in time for the reception of his former college friend.

Image copyright Adam Beard
Image caption Adam Beard made sure he could be part of his friend's wedding

While it was a first experience of winning silverware with Wales for forwards Navidi and Beard, it was nothing new for others.

The likes of captain Alun Wyn Jones, among four Welsh nominees for Player of the Tournament, George North and Jonathan Davies were toasting a third Slam and fourth Six Nations title.

However fly-half Dan Biggar was praised by his Northampton Saints team-mates for returning to watch their game on Sunday.

Image copyright Reuters
Image caption The win was Gatland's third Grand Slam while in charge of Wales

The Prince of Wales has sent a message of congratulations to the team, from his tour of the Caribbean, for their "brilliant performance".

He said: "Please pass on my warmest wishes to all involved in this tremendous achievement, which made me extremely proud of Wales.

"Cymru am byth!"

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