Irish coach Eddie O’Sulivan is keenly aware of public expectation as his side head into their fourth championship game unbeaten but his focus and the side’s is firmly fixed on the Welsh game
Irish coach Eddie O’Sulivan is keenly aware of public expectation as his side head into their fourth championship game unbeaten but his focus and the side’s is firmly fixed on the Welsh game.
“I think Wales will see this as an opportunity to get a win in the Six Nations before they go to Paris. For that reason they’ll certainly be at least as fired up as they were against England if not more so.
“As regards the last game Wales played – against Scotland – I think the final scoreline flattered the Scots. When the game loosened up Wales were very very strong in the counter-attack so I think their strength comes if the game’s an open ended game with the ball being thrown around a lot. They’ll thrive in those conditions particularly in their own stadium in front of their own crowd.
“Then if you if you look back to when Wales played here against England it was probably their best performance of the season. They were a bit unlucky maybe not to create a big upset that day. If they’d scored a try, and they should have, before half time anything could have happened. So they will believe that a win against us would turn this championship around for them.
“We need to be very clear on what we want to do to keep control of the game. Control the pace of the game. Our defence will be important. We don’t want to give them a platform because they have great confidence on the ball as individuals, and they run great lines. That makes them very difficult to play against.
“Of course there is talk out there, in the media particularly about Sunday week and the game against England, that human nature so it’s hard to ignore. But the truth is that if we don’t win in Cardiff, that’s the end of grand slam talk So really there’s been no talk of anything to do with that topic in the squad. The ‘E’ word has been banned. It’s all about Saturday and we know that if we come up short Saturday we’ll be very disappointed and maybe have taken away a great opportunity for ourselves on Sunday week.
” But that opportunity isn’t there unless we close the deal on Saturday and to be honest I don’t think anyone is thinking beyond that.