Triple boost for Wales before Ireland game

Triple boost for Wales before Ireland game

Triple boost for Wales before Ireland game

Warren Gatland indicated yesterday that his plan for Wales to overcome Ireland in this Saturday's crunch NatWest Six Nations encounter will revolve around a physical attack on Johnny Sexton and Conor Murray.

But Wales boss Gatland, who this week becomes only the second coach after New Zealand World Cup victor Graham Henry to clock up 100 Tests for one country, knows that keeping them quiet will be key to victory hopes in Dublin.

"We have got to put Conor and his kicking game under pressure", Gatland said after naming his team (Joe Schmidt will wait until Thursday to unveil his line-up). We have had some pretty good success not allowing Johnny (Sexton) too much time and space on the ball.

"People underestimate how good Wales are defensively, how good they are in attack, you saw how well they played in the second half against England and, on a dry day, they can carve teams up".

"You don't stay in a job like this and do as well as he has without changing things up, changing your style of play, and I think you've seen that with Wales in the last few years", Owens added.

"With players we have got I think we are more than capable of doing that".

What has been an injury-plagued side is boosted by the return of Leigh Halfpenny, Liam Williams and Dan Biggar.

Taulupe Faletau is available for selection after missing the first two weeks of the Six Nations
Taulupe Faletau is available for selection after missing the first two weeks of the Six Nations

The Ireland team is expected to be named on Thursday afternoon.

Ireland will go into the game leading the way after wins over France in Paris and Italy at the Aviva Stadium.

"We thought our kicking game against Scotland was very good but disappointing at Twickenham". Our discipline has been excellent in the first two games - we only gave away two penalties against England.

Both Patchell and Adams drop out of the matchday 23, while Northampton wing George North is retained on the bench with Gatland opting for a back-three of Halfpenny, Williams and Steff Evans. "This weekend is about the performance and the result in a must-win game for us".

Wales (v Ireland) - L Halfpenny (Scarlets); L Williams (Saracens), S Williams, H Parkes, S Evans (all Scarlets); D Biggar (Ospreys), G Davies; R Evans, K Owens, S Lee (all Scarlets); C Hill (Dragons), AW Jones (Ospreys); A Shingler (Scarlets), J Navidi (Cardiff), R Moriarty (Gloucester).

Replacements: Dee, W. Jones, Francis, B. Davies, Tipuric, A. Davies, Anscombe, North.

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