Wales' 2008 Grand Slam has been recorded for posterity in a new 'behind the scenes' photo album launched by the Welsh Rugby Union today - much to the elation of last-minute Christmas shoppers throughout Wales.
International stars Tom Shanklin, Gethin Jenkins and Jamie Roberts joined fans at WRU headquarters, the Millennium Stadium, where the onsite store played host to queues of fans in festive mood seeking that gift for the 'man/woman who has everything'.
The trio signed copies of 'Grand Slam, the exclusive story in pictures and words' and other Christmas WRU merchandise, which includes seasonal Santa hats, cuddly toys, jerseys and a full range of Under Armour leisure wear.
The book has been specially created by a team of photographers invited into the inner sanctum of life with the Wales rugby team and the pictorial results rest impressively alongside match commentary from Sunday Times writer Stephen Jones and contributions from the likes of Martyn Williams, Shane Williams and Lee Byrne, as well as a foreword written by Warren Gatland himself.
"As national team coach I am often in the eye of the storm, there is a whirlwind of activity around me and around the rest of the coaches and the team, but we are focussed and single-minded and we only soak up all the emotion on those few occasions we allow ourselves to do so," Gatland says in the comments he wrote personally to introduce the book.
"Grand Slam day 2008 was one of those occasions and it will live long in the memory, as I am sure it will with every Welsh man and woman around the world who became a part of that day and that tournament, in whatever way they could."
Amazing images captured in the Wales dressing room before and after matches and at private training sessions and meetings which show your heroes as you've never seen them before will allow you to relive those moments Gatland talks about, alongside him and his men - tense, nervous, focussed and elated, you name the emotion it's there on all their faces for everyone to see.
'Grand Slam, the exclusive story in picture and words' is available for the RRP of £14.99 and features never before seen pictures of the Wales 2008 RBS 6 Nations Grand Slam winning squad at work and play.
The book is available at all major Waterstones, Tesco, Asda and Sainsbury's stores in Wales, at the WRU store on Westgate St and online at www.wru.co.uk, where it is joined by a host of other festive gift ideas brought to you by the WRU.
"For now the memories are fresh and my favourite recollections are of arriving at the Millennium Stadium for the three home games on the team bus," adds Gatland in the book foreword.
"I can't get over the looks of both joy and expectation on the faces of the many droves of Welsh men, women and children who made their pilgrimages to Cardiff."
But the Wales head coach now has a visual record to add to the memories he holds so dear and he suggests elsewhere in his summary that a copy of 'Grand Slam...' will find its way into a special draw at home alongside a small number of other keepsakes which he and his wife Trudi have saved during his illustrious career.
"The book represents a comprehensive guide to Wales' magnificent journey towards Grand Slam glory in 2008, in both pictures and words, and it is a must-have gift for anyone who was there or watching from afar - not least for Warren Gatland and his players," said WRU Head of Marketing Gwyn Dolphin.
"Some of the finest moments in an historic year for Welsh rugby have been captured on film for posterity, moments which Warren rightly observes will last a lifetime in the memory.
"A DVD featuring all the match footage and unique video images has been on the market for some time and is selling well, but this new amazing pictorial account of what goes on behind the scenes in Welsh international rugby is something which everyone at the Union and throughout Wales can be immensely proud of.
"The magnitude of what Warren and his men achieved in 2008 can only be truly appreciated by those who were took that journey, but if you weren't there or the memories are fading, then this book is a superb insight to a winning squad."
Some of the WRU's best selling items on sale in the WRU store at Gate 3, Millennium Stadium and at www.wru.co.uk/shop now include: WRU Black Millennium Hoody £39.99; Signed Shane Williams autobiography (Shane) £15.99; WRU Ball Cufflinks £18.00; WRU 2009 Diary £19.99; New Yellow & Black Webb Ellis Balls Range £6.00 - £18.00; Grand Slam DVD £15.00; Christmas Trio (3 soft toys) £4.00; WRU performance polo's £30.00; WRU Teddy Family £5.00 - £10.00; WRU Chocolates £2.00.
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