One moment sticks in Geordan Murphy’s mind when he recalls Ireland’s most recent visit to the Millennium Stadium – Gethin Jenkins’ blockdown try which catapulted Walsh to a 32-20 win and a glorious Grand Slam.
Roll on almost two years, and Murphy and his Irish team-mates are preparing to return to the Cardiff venue for the first time since that deflating loss.
Murphy’s 31st cap was one he would rather forget, even though he made use of a hanging kick from David Humphreys to score a late try.
It was all immaterial as Mike Ruddock’s Dragons had proved too strong over the first hour, building up a 29-6 lead. Defeat, two weeks previously, to France at Lansdowne Road had derailed Ireland’s title challenge.
The 2007 Six Nations offers another chance, beginning for Eddie O’Sullivan’s men will a trip back to Cardiff this Sunday, and Murphy realises that, despite Ireland being cast as favourites, the Welsh still have the ability to beat anyone on their day.
He said: “They got that try that Gethin Jenkins scored after he blocked Rog (Ronan O’Gara) down. That sticks in my mind, but we have to look forward. Wales were the better team that day and none of our guys would argue with that. You hold your hand up and say you came off second best on the day.
“When they won their Grand Slam, a couple of years back, they did it by playing an all-out adventurous style. You have to commend them for it. They took everybody by surprise that year, from the moment they came from behind to win in Paris.
“They have that ability. Someone was saying that they have shored it up a little bit and I suppose they are playing a bit more structured. They still have that ability to click into a more expansive game and they are a dangerous side when they do.”
Murphy, who should hit the 50-cap mark this year, got a close-up view of how good the Welsh half-backs, Stephen Jones and Dwayne Peel, are during the 2005 Lions tour to New Zealand.
Offering his views on the Welsh team, he added: “The core of their team is strong and they have fantastic finishers out wide. Their half-backs are tremendous. Their back row is very strong, the second rows get through a lot of work for them. They’re strong across the board and we’ll have to be on top of our game to beat them.”