Wales' press haven't been going easy on them pre-Ireland

Both sides do battle in the Six Nations on Friday night

Wales, Rob Howley, rugby, Six Nations

Head Coach Rob Howley ©INPHO/James Crombie

If Ireland come out on top against Wales in Cardiff, you can imagine the vociferous criticism that will come the Welsh side's way. 

As ex-Ireland captain Keith Wood said on Off The Ball on Thursday, "We're totally besotted with sport in Ireland and we think that the press are harder here than they are on everybody else. It is nothing compared to rugby in Wales. I mean The Western Mail will go ballistic at every available opportunity."

Rob Howley's side (given that Warren Gatland is on Lions duty) are looking to avoid three defeats in a row since seeing off Italy on the opening weekend.

Speaking of The Western Mail, rugby correspondent Simon Thomas has run the rule over the team to face Ireland which appears in WalesOnline. It's prefaced with an admission that Wales' selection has "produced a furious reaction from fans" as it's the same side that lost to Scotland last time out.

In the scrum, Thomas warns that prop Rob Evans is facing a "tough" task directly against Ireland's Tadhg Furlong and in the back row he cites Sam Warburton as one who could make a positive impact given his view of "Ireland not having a specialist over-the-ball openside".

Meanwhile on the question of an unchanged selection, Mark Orders has claimed that "Wales have been hopelessly shy of creativity" on the pitch. He also makes an inventive Christopher Columbus analogy to underline how "all at sea" George North was against Scotland, both in defence and attack, echoing Thomas' point.

The selection of Dan Biggar at 10 ahead of Sam Davies has also been generally met with question marks.

Meanwhile, ex-Wales wing Shane Williams has been sharing his thoughts in a column for the South Wales Evening Post.

He's calling for Wales' leaders to step up and while predictions aren't offered up, he feels the Welsh can win if they "play like they did against England". But play as they did against Scotland...