The Autumn Internationals are at an end and focus now turns to the Six Nations where Ireland will attempt to defend their Six Nations crown. It is exciting times for the tournament with three of the top four in the world set to compete, including a resurgent Wales.
Wales won all four of their November fixtures and finish 2018 on the back of nine wins in a row. Warren Gatland's side are now ranked third in the world and it means for many fans, the rivalry between Ireland and Wales is the standout one from the Six Nations.
In the last five games between the teams, there has been one draw and two wins each. In 2009, former Ireland coach Gatland claimed that his players dislike the Irish more than any other team in the Six Nations.
On this week's episode of World in Union, Balls.ie's new rugby show getting the global view on the sport, Ben James of Wales Online spoke about why Ireland, not England, is the more significant fixture.
Definitely, for me, Ireland is the bigger game. There is a couple of factors. You have got Gatland, who has been throwing more verbal bombs at the Irish than anyone in the last ten years. I don't think he is on anyone's Christmas card list across the Irish sea! People knock the Pro14 but at the end of the day, you have got Welsh teams playing Irish provinces week in, week out.
There is a lot of Welsh rugby fans who would like to be playing the English clubs but that is not the case and we don't get as much of a rivalry with them anymore so it is on to the Irish. When you spend that much time against them and then Gatland saying what Gatland says, it is only natural it is going to head that way.
We're joined by @benjames1796 of @WalesRugby. Wales are back! https://t.co/Jik8uSHKRJ
— Balls.ie (@ballsdotie) November 26, 2018
Wales play Ireland on the 10 March 2019 in the Millenium Stadium, Cardiff. The tie could have even more riding on it than usual, as it is the last game of the Six Nations campaign and a potential Grand Slam decider.
You can watch the full show here, or listen to it here and on all good podcast services.