There is no love lost between Ireland and Wales if the most recent matches between the two are anything to go by.
The games are often one of the most physical and abrasive of the championship, you only need to look back at Wales’ 22-9 victory over Ireland at the Principality Stadium last year to get an idea of the vastly attritional nature of this particular fixture.
Saturday’s latest instalment will undoubtedly be another tight encounter. Although Wales fell to a defeat last time out, they showed some very good glimpses against the second best team in the world at Twickenham.
Despite conceding two early tries, Warren Gatland’s side produced a decent attacking effort which yielded 23 beaten defenders and seven clear line breaks. Unfortunately for the Welsh, on more than one occasion the final pass evaded them but they certainly looked threatening going forward.
This is something which Peter O’Mahony is wary of as he references a new ‘Scarlets’ dimension when speaking about Wales’ biggest threat.
“Look, obviously, they’ve expanded their game a little bit. You can see with the way their pack is licenced to throw the ball about. I suppose there’s a little bit of a Scarlets look about them with the way they’re throwing the ball around which is very impressive, which kind of means they’re very dangerous across the board,” O’Mahony said.
“That hasn’t really changed for Wales, they’ve always been incredibly well-drilled and incredibly dangerous team but they’ve probably just added a little bow to the whole thing of them playing the ball a little bit more. So it puts an emphasis on us being very good defensively at the weekend.”
Not only are Wales looking more innovative in attack but they also have a mean defence and their discipline is excellent – Gatland’s side only conceded two penalties in the whole match against England – something which O’Mahony is well and truly aware of.
“Look, that’s an impressive stat and it’s something which we always pride ourselves on as well. It gives you such an advantage when you’re conceding as little penalties as that and that is something we’ve got to be conscious of.
“You’ll have two very disciplined teams probably as a result of that, you’re forced to play yourself into position and you’ll have two good rugby playing sides playing at the weekend and that’s the way it will have to be.”