Sunday’s game against Italy will be David Wallace’s 30th appearance for Ireland in their last 35 Test matches. He has become a vital member of the forward pack since earning a recall for the 2006 RBS 6 Nations match against Italy.
One of Ireland’s biggest challenges this weekend will be maintaining possession up front as Italy’s pack is full of experienced campaigners who always make it tough for opponents on the deck.
David Wallace, whose openside skills will certainly be tested, said: “For myself, the way they play it…they try to get at your ball and it can be quite difficult at times creating quick ruck ball.
“There’s a big onus on us in the back row and the team too in securing that quick ruck ball.
“It’s always a challenge playing Italy. Their back row are world class and they have so much experience in the pack – you look at the amount of caps in the front row, second row and back row and it speaks for itself.
“It’s always one of the most physical games of the Championship and we’ve got to prepare ourselves for that.”
Wallace has been pleased with the performances put in by the Irish back row in recent Tests and Declan Kidney has shown his confidence in the current unit by starting Wallace, Stephen Ferris and Jamie Heaslip together for the last two outings against Argentina and France.
“(In the back row) we’re happy with the way things went last week against France. It seems to be flowing quite well. Denis (Leamy) came on and did quite well too,” Wallace said.
“It’s good to have that competition for places, it drives the team on.
“Guys don’t get complacent, guys have to work that bit harder to secure their places and hopefully that leads to winning rugby.”
The manner in which Ireland defeated France in their RBS 6 Nations opener, with Heaslip, Brian O’Driscoll and Jamie Heaslip helping themselves to three stylish tries, has marked out Ireland as possible contenders for the title.
Wallace, who turns 33 in July, feels that the team are more than capable of winning the Championship but that they cannot afford to look beyond their next game.
“You’ve just got to take every game as it comes and not get too carried away with yourselves.
“If we were to lose this weekend I suppose everything would be lost in terms of what we want to achieve.
“But when you go into a tournament like this you have to have it in your mind that you can win it. You have to set your goals high.
“It’s realistic to say that we can win it and win all our games but you’ve got to take every hurdle as it comes and Italy is what we’re focusing on.”
To listen to the full interview with David Wallace, please click here.