Wales v Ireland: Rory Best hoping to set up Six Nations title decider with England

Rory BestGETTY

Ireland captain Rory Best hoping to set up Six Nations decider with England with win over Wales

Now the hooker hopes to take this year's tournament to the final weekend and set up a potential championship decider with Eddie Jones' England.

To do that, Ireland must beat Wales in Cardiff this evening in a clash for which they are firm favourites.

Best's century of caps means he knows not to look too far ahead, but he is aware the meeting with Rob Howley's men is a must-win game.

He said: "We understand if we don't win the championship is dead for us. People want to see a competitive final weekend. We want to be involved in that because we want to win things, but we know that only happens if we perform against Wales.

"The pressure we feel is the pressure we put on ourselves. This is a very good Welsh team and if we start to look too far ahead we'll come unstuck.

"In the next 36 hours, we'll find out a lot about our team. It will be a big statement of intent to win here."

Both teams are unchanged for the game in the Welsh capital.

The home side are low on confidence after back-to-back defeats to England and Scotland. Ireland, meanwhile, have been on an upward curve since their shock opening-round defeat at Murrayfield.

"We need to concentrate on our game and we feel we have prepared well," said Best. "I suppose there is a lot of pressure on Wales too, but we are under no illusions about the size of the task ahead of us. To get a win here would be a massive achievement for us.

"The Principality Stadium is one of the best stadiums in the world and on Friday night it's going to be louder than anything we've experienced."

The back-row and half-back battles will go a long way to deciding who comes out on top, with Wales flanker Justin Tipuric, who wins his 50th cap, involved in the former.

Justin TipuricGETTY

Justin Tipuric will win his 50th Wales cap against Ireland

Tradition dictates he must celebrate his appearance milestone with a post-match song, but the 27-year-old will know his team must be on the money if his karaoke attempt is to follow a victory.

"I'm going to try and run off and not sing, that's what I'm planning," said Tipuric.

"I've got a dreadful voice. There's only one song I really know and that's My Girl from Temptations.

"If I make it unfortunately I'm going to have to sing that and go for gold."

Wales: Halfpenny; North, J Davies, S Williams, L Williams; Biggar, Webb; Evans, Owens, Francis, Ball, Jones (capt), Warburton, Tipuric, Moriarty

Replacements: Baldwin, Smith, Lee, Charteris, Faletau, G Davies, S Davies, Roberts

Ireland: Kearney; Earls, Ringrose, Henshaw, Zebo; Sexton, Murray; McGrath, Best (capt), Furlong, D Ryan, Toner, CJ Stander, O'Brien, Heaslip

Replacements: Scannell, Healy, J Ryan, Henderson, O'Mahony, Marmion, Jackson, Bowe

Referee: Wayne Barnes (England)

TV: BBC1 Kick-off: 8.05pm.

Original Article


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