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RWC Match Preview - Wales v Ireland

By Rhys Thomas
October 7 2011

A confident Wales face the Irish in the quarter-finals. Will Wales progress to the semi-finals or return home disappointed?

The pressure of a World Cup knockout game. Can these young men take the heat?

They face an Ireland team jam-packed with Heineken Cup winners and Lions tour veterans. Although we have our share of Lions, many of the new boys don’t have a lot of experience compared to the Irish. I think Wales have the better chance of winning tomorrow. The boys have been playing flowing, running Rugby (even in the wet against Fiji). If we stick to the same game plan, I don’t think Ireland can cope with us. Lydiate and Warburton will be too good for O’Brien, and our captain is actually an out and out seven. Our backline is much sharper than theirs, and the back-row will be key to deciding this game.

Roberts and North have a huge role to play. The Irish will not be able to use their much talked about tactic of holding the player up by the neck if they have Roberts and North running at their defensive line. Priestland is very capable of bringing these players into the game, and a few runs at the defensively weak Ronan O’Gara would be a wise choice. 

The pack is playing very well, and the set piece has gone a lot better than in recent years. Charteris rules at the lineout, and Gethin Jenkins and Adam Jones dominate at the scrum. Wales have struggled here in recent years, and it is good to see the team winning these facets of the game.

Wales are playing with more confidence, and with more belief. If we can play as we did against South Africa but more clinically, we will undoubtedly win. We can’t let Ireland into the game, if Wales give away needless penalties, the Irish will take every point they can get, and ROG is an accurate goal kicker, who will punish any mistakes.

Come on Wales!

PREDICTION: Wales to win by 6

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