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setting the benchmark – Spirits high for crunch clash

AHEAD of today's eagerly-awaited clash with Wales, there was no sign of tension among the Ireland players as they lined up for the team photo during the Captain's Run at the Aviva Stadium.

Jamie Heaslip – in the front row for the picture, in the back row against Wales this afternoon – was able to share a joke with Devin Toner and his team-mates behind him.

The weekend began well for their female counterparts, who recorded a 14-6 victory over Wales to maintain their hopes of back-to-back Grand Slams.

However, the Ireland U-20s suffered defeat in Athlone, enduring a 16-0 reversal to the Welsh.

Irish Independent