Scott Quinnell highlights Irish strengths

The former Welsh international was speaking to Newstalk Breakfast

Former Welsh international Scott Quinnell joined Alan Quinlan on Newstalk Breakfast this morning as they looked ahead to tonight’s game between Ireland and Wales.

The game is potentially the most important so far in this year's Championship, for different reasons. Wales have already lost two out of three games and in front of a packed crowd in Cardiff they will be desperate to get a result. Ireland have put together back-to-back wins since losing to Scotland on the opening day and with the prospect of facing England in the Aviva for a championship decider, a win is essential.

The manner in which Wales performed in the second half against Scotland means there is enormous pressure on their shoulders. They will not want to lose three games in a row, which could easily turn into four as they face France at home next week.

Speaking about the pressure the Welsh side will be feeling Quinnell said, “there is huge pressure on the lads. When you have a group of players that are highly experienced and have been together for a long time, they will be bitterly disappointed that they’re in this position. They haven’t lost two back to back games in the Six Nations for a number of years.”

Quinnell was then asked if he thought the whole mood surrounding the Welsh camp would be feeling a lot differently if they had managed to get a win against England, in a game where a lot of people thought the Welsh deserved to win. Wales had a very positive first half against Scotland but completely fell apart in the second.

“In fairness you have to hand it to Scotland, they came out in the second half and played a different kind of game,” he said. “They kept the ball and really frustrated Wales. The Welsh had opportunities to score tries and they just didn't take them. They don’t score enough tries. Unfortunately they just can’t get over that line and I don’t know why. All coaches will say you need to score at least three/four tries to win a test match."

Moving onto the opposition, the former Welsh international spoke very highly about Ireland as he focused on their key strengths, “I look at Tadhg Furlong, just an unbelievable player. [He’s] a good scrummager but also a guy who can play rugby as well and who’s comfortable with the ball in his hands,” he added. “An underrated player for me is Devin Toner. I think he is a wonderful ball player. He is your lighthouse of a man. He is your Luke Charteris [who is on the bench for us}. He gets over the top and stops those rolling mauls.”

“Then you have your block of players, CJ Stander, Sean O’Brien, Jamie Heaslip, Conor Murray, [Johnny] Sexton, Henshaw and Garry Ringrose coming into that form now. They are all playing some wonderful rugby. CJ Stander has been out of this world coming into international rugby. Some players get better in that international jersey and he is one of those guys. Jamie Heaslip with huge experience.100 test matches, he’s the glue to that back row.”

It's all set up to be one of the great test matches. With so much on the line let's hope it doesn't disappoint. Ireland have the confidence and the ability but The Welsh have home advantage and a point to prove.

Kickoff is at 8.05pm tonight.