WALES'S coaches and players have queued up to rubbish Lions legend Jim Telfer's pre-Six Nations barb that "the Welsh are lazy".
Speaking just days before the start of the championship, one of rugby's most respected figures made his incendiary claim questioning the work ethic of leading Welsh players.
The response was not long in coming, with Alex Cuthbert replying witheringly that he had worked his a*** off since turning professional and attack coach Mark Jones pointing to the three Grand Slams Wales had won since 2005.
Jones said: "There's absolutely nothing lazy about the work ethic of the coaches or certainly the playing staff. Three Grand Slams in the last few years suggests being lazy isn't something that goes on here."
Jones could have added there was a case for viewing Wales as the hardest-working squad in world rugby, given that they played 21 internationals in barely a year up to last July. Their fitness levels at the World Cup were the envy of opposition sides and they scored tries in the final ten minutes of three of their five Six Nations games last term, with the opposition failing to cross their line at all during the same period. Cuthbert said: "It's his opinion, but I know how hard the boys here work, especially last week and when we have gone to Poland. I don't think that shows we are lazy.
"We have come out on top as the fittest team in a lot of games, especially in last year's Six Nations, and hopefully we can show it again.
"Everything we do is at a really high intensity to make sure we get as close as possible to game standard.
"I've worked my a*** off since coming into professional rugby. From where I started and being in this environment my game has really progressed. I'm still developing and have a lot more to learn, but each game I will get more experienced.
"It's in our blood that we work our a**** off for each other. We're really good mates as well so laziness never comes into it."
Telfer, who helped mastermind the Lions' victory in South Africa in 1997, also criticised England, dubbing them arrogant. Of his fellow Celts, he said: "Wales is not as easy country to coach because, basically, the Welsh are lazy.
"Coaching them, playing against and with them, I realised they had reached the top because they were the cream and had not necessarily worked all that hard to get there. Wales do produce very good rugby players."
His remarks even registered on the radar screen of Wales Under-20s coach Danny Wilson, who said of his players: "I've witnessed first hand the amount these players put into the game, and if they were allowed they'd train every minute of every day. Their attitude is superb."
Wales open their Grand Slam defence against Ireland in Cardiff on Saturday.