Members of the Irish Rugby Supporters Club give their views ahead of Ireland's RBS 6 Nations tussle with Wales on Sunday (Lansdowne Road, kick-off 3.00pm).
Paul Sampson - Coleraine:
"Every year in the 6 Nations Championship Ireland have a fixture which the critics and supporters call the "Pivotal Game", a fixture which will define Ireland's 6 Nations. 2006's pivotal game will kick-off this Sunday at 3.00pm.
"Ireland have had a 6 Nations rollercoaster so far, with a new expansive style of play tried in the Italy game, that didn't click on the day but promised a lot for the future, and a French game that gave new meaning to the old commentator's phrase of "It's a game of two halves." Though I firmly believe that there is reason to be cheery after these two games and performances! In the past Ireland have relied heavily on having a great tactical kicker in the number 10 shirt, and over the years they could have been accused of being predictable. This is why it was great to see a new fast flowing, "ball in hand" style of play being experimented against Italy. Okay, it didn't work in the first half of the French game, but the new, dare I say, dynamic Ireland came out in the second half and showed what our backline could do.
"Yes there may be mistakes on Sunday and in future games to come, but this is what happens when a new style of play is brought into a squad, and I believe that sacrificing some turn-overs and interceptions is something that is justified, if it gets our backline charging at the oppisition and getting not just tries, but exciting to watch and well-executed tries."
...Ireland to win? Spot On No Bother!...
Stephen Curran - Donnacarney, Co. Meath:
"If Ireland make as many errors as they did against France in the first half, we will be punished and could lose the game. But if we do what we did in the second half then we have a very good chance of winning. It is great to see Andrew Trimble get a run - he is an exciting young player but we also need our older more experienced players to lead from the front. Our backs need to make sure of their passing - they just need to be confident. We need to get stuck in early and make sure the first few points go to us to knock the Welsh confidence. So get the basics right, then try the fancy stuff when you can afford to. COME ON IRELAND!!!"
...Ireland, Ireland, together standing tall - on the South Terrace...
Brian McKeon - Maidstone, Kent:
"All in all, the Irish team will have everything in their favour, home fixture and the problems in the Welsh camp (though that can work both ways). They will have to go and prove to a home crowd and the coaching team that they are worthy of selection. The team are facing a Welsh side who currently thrive on running rugby.
"If we make the same errors as we did against France, the Welsh will delight in punishing us. Okay so mistakes were made, but let's look at the positives. Our forwards will match the Welsh man for man and this will be the key (as in every game of rugby) to winning. They will have to keep it tight to prevent the Welsh loose forwards from spoiling and turning ball over.
"Our loose forwards will have to put extreme pressure on (Stephen) Jones, I've noticed he likes room and doesn't cope well under pressure. Peter Stringer will have to be at the top of his game to contend with Dwayne Peel. I think Peel can exploit around the scrum/mauls as much as possible. In short if we let the Welsh half backs have room we could be in trouble. If we negate the Welsh in these areas and play the game at our pace, we can win it. Prediction: Ireland 28 Wales 18."
Photos - Billy Stickland/Inpho