Wales centre Jonathan Davies eyes perfect performance to secure Grand Slam

Wales centre Jonathan Davies says it would be “perfect timing” for his Grand Slam-chasing side to produce a complete performance on Saturday.

Ireland stand between Wales clinching a first Six Nations title since 2013, while their last Grand Slam came the previous year.

Although they are unbeaten in this season’s tournament, defeating France, Italy, England and Scotland, their victories have been generated through purple patches during each match, rather than sustained dominance.

“Saturday would be perfect timing,” Davies said when asked about a complete display.

“We have shown glimpses throughout the tournament, and it is keeping to our process during the week and making sure that come Saturday there is clarity among everyone.

“We do feel there is more in us, and I hope we can show that on Saturday.

“It would be great to win the Grand Slam, full stop. It would be good to keep the momentum going we have built up over the last 12 months.

“Ireland are an excellent team. Just to get a win over them, given what they have achieved over the last 18 months or so, would be excellent for us moving forward.

(PA Graphics)

“You feel a responsibility as a squad to give your all, and when those championship minutes come into play, you feel confident that the work you have put in will put you in a good place.

“That’s how Gats (Wales head coach Warren Gatland) and the coaches like us to be when it comes to the last 10-15 minutes. We know we have plenty in the tank to keep pushing.”

The Principality Stadium clash is Gatland’s final Six Nations game as Wales boss, with his swansong arriving at the World Cup in Japan later this year.

His reign is highlighted by Grand Slams in 2008 and 2012 and a World Cup semi-final appearance, and European rugby’s glittering prize is once again within reach.

Ireland, though, lost just one game last year, and despite being taken apart by England in this season’s Six Nations opener, they can still win the title by toppling Wales and Scotland beating England.

Ireland are the reigning champions (Gareth Fuller/PA)

Davies added: “Everyone wants to be involved in these big games. It is everything you represent – your nation, your family – and as a group we are extremely tight.

“It is making sure that when you go out on the field you represent them and do everything you can to get the result you want.

“Having experienced it (Grand Slam) before, I would love to do it again, but standing in front of us is an excellent team.

“They are (ranked) second in the world. They have been excellent and have grown and grown.

“They have great tacticians at nine (Conor Murray) and 10 (Johnny Sexton), and for us it is making sure we do not give them time to take a stranglehold on the game, because once they do get that foothold there is no-one really better than those two.

“We have to cut their time down and make sure we make them make tackles and become tired, so when it comes to those key decisions they are not as fresh as they would be at the start of the game.

“Having played with them (for the British and Irish Lions), they are two great players, and we have to be at the top of our game to make sure we do not give them the opportunities to put Ireland into the areas they want to play in.”

- Press Association

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