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Rugby

'You’re not going to reinvent the wheel' | Jonathan Davies on style changes

The last time Ireland met Wales in the Six Nations, Wales kept Ireland off the scoreboard for 83 ...



Rugby

'You’re not going to reinvent the wheel' | Jonathan Davies on style changes

The last time Ireland met Wales in the Six Nations, Wales kept Ireland off the scoreboard for 83 minutes on the road to winning the Grand Slam.

This time around though, this tie is much more difficult to predict with both countries now employing new head coaches.

Speaking on Wednesday’s OTB AM, Jonathan Davies thinks that Ireland will be slight favourites coming into the tie.

“I think it’s home advantage, it’s very difficult to call,” said Davies.

“Ireland haven’t played particularly well over the last 12 months and I’d agree with Andy Farrell that’s the best Scotland have played for a long long time.

“And Wales had an easy run of it against Italy so it’ll be an intriguing game.”

Davies also explained weak points of the Welsh game that Ireland will look to exploit after disappointing against Scotland last week.

“The Welsh scrum wasn’t particularly strong, to be honest with you, they had a few penalties against them in Italy so that’s going to be an interesting battle and whoever wins that will put pressure on the opposition.

“It’ll be intriguing to see if Wales go with George North or Tomkins in the centre. If they play North there I’m sure they [Ireland] will try to expose him,” he said.

Under previous head coach, Warren Gatland, although it was a hugely successful period for Welsh rugby, they rarely opened up and played an expansive brand of rugby.

Davies highlighted that although it’s been hard to see many changes after just two games, things are trending in a positive direction under new head coach Wayne Pivac.

“It’s difficult to say after just two games. But for me, you’ve seen a tinkering of Stephen Jones’ approach, he’s played a little bit wider with Tipuric and Ken Owens out there as well.

“So I’m sure that they’ll attack more from the set pieces with Stephen Jones. Definitely they’re looking at counter-attacking a bit more with Johnny McNicholl and Josh Adams back there,” Jonathan Davies said.

He continued, “you’re not going to reinvent the wheel, they’re going to keep the same kind of systems as they did under Warren Gatland but hopefully add a little more of the Pivac style of play which is trying to play a little bit more rugby.

“Fingers crossed they’ll attack Ireland if they get a set piece.”

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Andy Farrell Ireland Jonathan Davies Rugby Six Nations Wales Wayne Pivac