CARDIFF (Reuters) - Wales coach Warren Gatland stuck with the tried and tested as he named an unchanged team on Thursday to take on Ireland in their decisive Six Nations clash in Cardiff in Saturday.
He kept the same starting line-up and replacements that overcame Scotland 18-11 away at Murrayfield last weekend to maintain their winning run and set themselves up for the Grand Slam.
There had been some concern over fullback Liam Williams’ availability, but he has been passed fit to play. He was taken off in the second half last Saturday with a shoulder injury.
“We’ve rewarded the players for the last couple of outings and the last couple of victories,” said Gatland.
“These players are on a very good run, they are a hugely impressive group and they deserve to be going into the final weekend with everything to play for.
“It is a great reward for them for the hard work they have put in and we are all looking forward to what is going to be a huge game.
“For a number of us as coaches this is our last Six Nations game and the fact that it is in Cardiff is extra special. There is bound to be a bit of emotion on Saturday and that is something to embrace,” he said.
It will be Gatland’s 50th Six Nations match in charge of Wales - and also his last – as he is leaving after the World Cup in Japan later in the year.
Captain Alun Wyn Jones, 33, will equal Gethin Jenkins’ total test appearance record as he moves to 134 caps – made up of 125 tests for Wales and nine for the British and Irish Lions.
15-Liam Williams, 14-George North, 13-Jonathan Davies, 12-Hadleigh Parkes, 11-Josh Adams, 10-Gareth Anscombe, 9-Gareth Davies, 8-Ross Moriarty, 7-Justin Tipuric, 6-Josh Navidi, 5-Alun Wyn Jones (captain), 4-Adam Beard, 3-Tomas Francis, 2-Ken Owens, 1-Rob Evans
Replacements: 16-Elliot Dee, 17-Nicky Smith, 18-Dillon Lewis, 19-Jake Ball, 20-Aaron Wainwright, 21-Aled Davies, 22-Dan Biggar, 23-Owen Watkin.
Reporting by Mark Gleeson; Editing by David Goodman