Wayne Pivac’s side blew Italy away 42-0 at Principality to start their campaign with a bang as Josh Adams grabbed a hat-trick. There were also tries for Nick Tompkins and George North.
To keep the Azzurri scoreless was a fine achievement for captain Alun Wyn Jones and his men and made it back-to-back wins for new head coach Pivac after the November success over the Barbarians. Next up is a meeting with Ireland at the Aviva Stadium on Saturday afternoon with one bonus-point win already in the bag. A second victory over the Irish Sea is target number two.
VIDEO: Watch episode 2 of ‘Gwlad Gwlad‘, the documentary that takes you inside the Wales camp.
“We are fully aware going to Ireland is going to be a completely different challenge,” said Wales fly-half Dan Biggar after he produced a fine display against Italy. “We know how aggressive their defence is going to be in terms of their line speed and competing at pretty much every ruck.
“We want to play as much rugby as possible, but this week is probably when you have to roll your sleeves up away from home. You have to put the hard yards in first before looking to do anything too fancy, especially when your two away games are in Dublin and at Twickenham.”
Biggar, who set up Adams’ second try with an outrageous through-the-legs pass, added: “The Aviva is a very difficult place to play. Ireland’s record there speaks for itself.
“They are very tough to beat. We know how difficult winning there is. We have done it before, but have come up short in the last few years. It is about making sure we go there and keep our error count down as much as possible. We know we have to play a bit better and front up.
“What is important for us is we have started the campaign really well result-wise and it is about building on that momentum. If we can pick up a win this week it really is all on.”
Hooker Elliot Dee, scrum-half Gareth Davies and centre Owen Watkin are all poised to be available for Ireland after missing the Italy clash due to injury.
Full-back Liam Williams is touch and go for Dublin as he continues his bid to get fully fit following the ankle injury which ended his Rugby World Cup campaign in Japan early.
“Gareth will be fine. He took part in the warm up (for Italy) and it was a precaution. If it was a World Cup final he would have been involved. From that point of view he’ll be available,” said Pivac.
“A lot of hard work needs to be done this week because the performance against Italy certainly wasn’t perfect even though we had a good-looking scoreline.”
Pivac won what was then the Guinness PRO12 with the Scarlets in 2017 and that success came at the Aviva as his team blew away Munster to lift silverware.
“I’ve been lucky enough to be there on a few occasions and I’ve got special memories,” Pivac aid. “This will be another level. We’ve got a lot of respect for the Irish – they are a very tough team to beat at home.”
Wales faced Ireland twice in warm-up fixtures for the 2019 World Cup and lost both encounters, but their last competitive meeting was one to remember.
In March last year the men in green were blown away 25-7 in Cardiff as Wales sealed Six Nations Grand Slam and Triple Crown glory.
“All players will remember the last time they played against a certain opposition. If you don’t have your best day at the office you always want to improve on it next time round,” Pivac said.
“I’m sure they’ll be no different. It’s a new competition with new coaches on both teams. We’re in the same boat.”