Ireland will face into their 2022 Six Nations campaign this weekend, with hopes high that they can put in a strong showing over the course of the tournament.
While last year's edition of the event saw Andy Farrell's team start slowly, they did finish with an impressive victory over England. This was followed up by some big performances in the autumn internationals, including in the win over New Zealand.
They will face Wales in Dublin on Saturday afternoon, and while the Welsh come in as defending champions, Ireland will be seen as strong favourites on the day. The Welsh do not quite seem to possess the same talent as they have in previous years. In saying that, they can still be a very dangerous opponent.
Speaking on BT Sport yesterday, Brian O'Driscoll identified a couple of areas of the game that will be key for Ireland if they are to emerge victorious this weekend.
"They need to implement their game plan and not be concerned about what Wales are going to come with"@BrianODriscoll on what Ireland need to do to overcome the reigning champions in Round 1 of the Six Nations 💪#RugbyTonight pic.twitter.com/CLWBYv3TyC
— Rugby on BT Sport (@btsportrugby) January 30, 2022
There were some really big performances in the Gallagher Premiership this weekend from Dan Biggar, that wonder try from Louis Rees-Zammit. I guess the big area is can Ireland stop Wales from providing that quality possession to their firepower.
If you look at the back three, and I'm not sure about Liam Williams' fitness situation at the moment, but you look at [Josh] Adams, Rees-Zammit, and Williams as a back three. If you kick badly to them or give them quality possession, they will rip you apart.
I think Ireland have to be miserly up front and really put on a forward dominant performance first of all to then put on a platform, put it on a platter for the halfbacks and some of our own quality finishers as well.
Ireland have been about a 15-man performance, jerseys on numbers have gone out the window after the first phase. I think that's the real strength of it, they're a playmaking team where everyone is comfortable on it and are all good passers.
They just need to implement their game plan and not concern themselves with what Wales will come with them.
That Welsh back three would certainly be a dangerous one, capable of giving any side problems on their day.
Ireland will no doubt have a plan to limit their influence on the game, while hopefully playing some expansive rugby of their own.
It will be interesting to see how things play out on the day.