Watch:'I'm not worried about big Wales pack'- Ireland prop Tadhg Furlong
Tadhg Furlong has said that the Ireland forwards are not overly concerned by the level of experience and indeed, size, they’ll be conceding to their Welsh counterparts at the Aviva Stadium on Sunday.
The options available to Joe Schmidt in the pack for the upcoming Six Nations have been seriously truncated with the retirement of Paul O’Connell and injuries to Peter O’Mahony, Iain Henderson, Dan Tuohy, Marty Moore, Cian Healy and Mike Ross. Though the latter pair are expected to be fit for the trip Twickenham to face England in week three.
However, when stalwarts fall, it presents opportunities to those down the pecking order. For tight head Tadhg Furlong, with Leinster colleagues Moore and Ross unavailable, he finds himself in a prime position to add to his three international caps.
Furlong is likely to feature on the bench against Wales on Sunday, with the more experienced Nathan White of Connacht getting the starting spot.
“It’s unfortunate for Mike and Marty to be injured,” he said on Irish Rugby TV. “I suppose it’s a bad time of the year with the Six Nations. But injuries open doors and I'm looking to put my foot down, hopefully fight for my selection and try to impress.”
Warren Gatland has selected a formidable pack, and side for that matter, for the coming clash, with many believing that whatever team Schmidt opts for could be found wanting in the trenches. While acknowledging Wales’ threat, Furlong doesn’t buy into that particular line of thought.
“They’re a big and physical pack with a lot of experience in there, and they have a lot of continuity in the selection of their back-line as well. They’ll offer a big threat at scrum, maul and then out wide as well.
“The front row (Ireland) has a lot of experience, with the skipper (Rory Best) in there as well. Jack McGrath, Nathan White, myself, James Cronin; we’re all capped. Even if you look at Finlay Bealham who’s after coming in this week, he’s done really, really well and played every game for Connacht this season.
“I wouldn’t worry too much about it, training has gone well and we’re just building into, especially the front row,” he said.