With their 2019 season seemingly back on track, Ireland travel to Wales looking to spoil the Grand Slam party this Saturday.
On this week's World in Union, the Balls.ie rugby podcast getting the outside perspective on the sport, we spoke to Blood and Mud podcast co-host Josh Gardiner about the ongoing controversy in Wales with a potential merger between Ospreys and Scarlets.
As Gardiner reveals, the saga has only made head coach Warren Gatland's role harder.
I was amazed that we managed to win, particularly when things really got to 'backs to the wall' against Scotland. I thought 'this is where everything that happened in the last fortnight is telling at last.' It just looked like we were a little bit rudderless.
Look at what Gatland said about players having to leave training to go to meetings with their regions or to go meet the WRU. They are constantly on their phones texting their agents or their wives because they are worried about getting the mortgage paid at the end of the month. It has been a 'typically only happens in Wales' level of stupid distraction over the past fortnight.
It is an absolute testament to Gatland and (Shaun) Edwards that they managed to shut out the noise.
Gardiner also spoke about the idea behind the move and why he took issue with a 'let them eat cake' mentally from some Irish fans. "I took exception to some people saying 'if you get your game sorted out, it will all be fine.'"
To listen to the full podcast, which includes a breakdown of Ireland's genius line-out work, Ian Madigan's form in Bristol and a preview of the weekend's action, listen here or download the podcast via 'Balls.ie' on all good podcast platforms.