AFTER putting his body on the line in a “heavyweight slog” to help Wales move to within a win of a Grand Slam, Ross Moriarty has pledged that he won’t take a backward step against the Irish.

The Dragons number eight was to the fore of the effort that put Warren Gatland’s men 80 minutes away from a first Six Nations clean sweep since 2012.

Moriarty made more carries than anyone else on the pitch, racking up 71 metres from 14 efforts, and made 15 tackles.

Next up is Ireland in Cardiff on Saturday with Wales knowing only victory is good enough to win the title.

South Wales Argus: RELIEF: Ross Moriarty and Wales withstood late Scottish pressureRELIEF: Ross Moriarty and Wales withstood late Scottish pressure

“This is my first opportunity at a Grand Slam and it’s what we set out to do at the beginning,” said the 24-year-old, who headed for Rodney Parade from Gloucester last summer.

“Apart from winning a World Cup, it is the biggest thing for anyone in the northern hemisphere, so I’d be really happy to achieve one.

“We’ve been building nicely over 13 games and against Ireland we won’t take a backward step to try and continue the streak. They are a good team and we know what they are capable of.”

Head coach Gatland hailed the togetherness of his team after their defensive effort frustrated Scotland to avoid a repeat of their 2017 loss, when a 13-9 lead at half-time turned into a 29-13 defeat.

This time they clung on after bossing the first half 15-6, to the relief of Moriarty.

“It was a very tough day at the office. We came up short two years ago at Murrayfield but this time we showed a lot of character to pull through,” he said.

“You could see the momentum change in the second half but we showed character with the driving lineouts, big defensive sets and big turnovers.

“We lacked a bit of discipline at times, which gave them the chance to go to the corners, but we will definitely shape up big-time this week now.”

Moriarty produced dynamic, eye-catching charges when he burst onto the scene in 2015 but has relished doing the donkey work when joining forces with Josh Navidi and Justin Tipuric this tournament.

With Taulupe Faletau likely to be back ahead of Japan 2019, the Dragons man knows that being a team player is vital to stay in the Test team.

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“There’s been a lot of hard graft, a lot of carries, a lot of tackles but it’s been nice to get the games in and build up some momentum,” said Moriarty.

“For every game at international level, you know that you can’t slip up. I say to myself every time that we go into a game that I am fighting for my spot. One mistake could mean I am out, and nobody wants that.

“Sometimes people don’t see the hard graft but against Scotland it showed across the board with all the forwards and all the backs, it was a big heavyweight slog.

“We’ve had some difficult games in the Six Nations but we are ready to go again.”