Six Nations 2021: Ireland not underestimating Wales says head coach Andy Farrell

James Lowe
Leinster duo James Lowe and Josh van der Flier have been named to start in Cardiff on Sunday
Venue: Principality Stadium, Cardiff Date: Sunday, 7 February Kick-off: 15:00 GMT
Coverage: Live on BBC One, BBC Radio Wales, BBC Radio Cymru, BBC iPlayer & Radio 5 Live Sports Extra, BBC Radio Ulster, BBC Sport website and app, S4C. Highlights, Scrum V, BBC Two Wales from 19:00 GMT on Sunday

Ireland head coach Andy Farrell has dismissed suggestions that Wales are not a major threat to his side, two days before their Six Nations opener.

After a poor 2020, the idea that the current Wales squad is past its best has been floated across the Irish media in the build up to the game.

“I don’t believe that for one second,” Farrell said.

“Our boys are very familiar with everyone that is in the Welsh squad. They play against them all the time.”

“We know what top performers they can be when they’re under pressure.”

In their first year under new head coach Wayne Pivac Wales won only three of their 10 matches and finished fifth in the Six Nations.

Ireland, too, struggled to find consistency as Farrell took over from Joe Schmidt – and they travel to Cardiff looking for their first away win of the Englishman’s tenure.

“We know what top performers [Wales] can be when they’re under pressure,” said Farrell.

“This is the start of a new competition and they’ll be wanting to right some wrongs. They’re an experienced side that have been in good positions before and difficult positions before.

“The slate is going to be wiped clean at the start of the competition and I suppose this is going to be a huge game for both teams.”

‘We know the truth’

This week a number of former Irish players have expressed their belief that Ireland go into the game as considerable favourites, having defeat Wales twice last year.

Former British and Irish Lion Stephen Ferris told RTEexternal-link that the absence of suspended wing Josh Adams will play into the visitors’ favour, adding that starting flanker Dan Lydiate no longer the force he once was.

“I suppose that’s the way of the world, we’re realists and we understand what happens but as far as within the two camps, we know the truth,” said Farrell.

“We know that it’s going to be a war of attrition at the weekend, we know we haven’t won there since 2013.

“We’ve played Wales at their best before and come unstuck so we’re preparing accordingly.”

BBC News