Wednesday 26 November 2014

Wales to target Ireland’s rookies

Published 30/01/2013 | 05:00

Jonathan Sexton is tackled during the Ireland squad training session at Carton House yesterday ahead of Saturday's Six Nations opener against Wales

Grand Slam champions Wales have gone on the offensive by admitting they will target Ireland's Six Nations newcomers Craig Gilroy and Simon Zebo on Saturday.

Mind games are clearly featuring strongly in the Wales psyche this week, as they have already signalled their intention to attack the Irish scrum.

And now Alex Cuthbert has thrown down the gauntlet to the two rookies (pictured below) who will feature on the wings for Ireland in Cardiff.

According to the giant Welsh wing, the home side will set their sights on exposing the young wingers, who have only accumulated four international appearances between them.

"They are two class wingers," said Cuthbert. "They are playing really well for their clubs.

"They are young as well, so they've got a lot of enthusiasm and they are going to want to put a statement down in their first Six Nations.

"They are going to be in for a stern test and it's going to be hard work against them.

"They are going to be the danger men for Ireland, so we are doing our homework on them.

"They are obviously a bit smaller, but they are good tacklers and they have got good footwork."

In addition, Wales' attack coach Mark Jones has responded to Rob Kearney's claims that "if it was our changing room when we were four defeats in a row, you'd start to panic a bit."

"No, not at all," refuted Jones, when asked were his side feeling the pressure. "I think Rob Howley has done a great job in keeping some sort of level-headedness around the autumn and why some of those performances weren't as good as they could – and should – have been.

"Every player deals with losing and victory in different ways, but one thing I can say is that whenever I lost a game, the next time I went out, I was even more determined to make sure that the result was a good one.

"There's definitely that steely determination here that we are the Grand Slam champions and we want to make sure we give ourselves the best opportunity to retain that mantle.

"If we don't, whoever does will have had a pretty tough ride getting there and that's the type of mental strength we need. We know we can play better."

Jones was adamant Wales can get off to a flying start by beating Ireland for the fourth time in a row.

"We are confident of victory, we've got a very good, talented group of players."

Irish Independent

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