Brian O’Driscoll’s 100th cap at Croke Park should be a brilliant occasion, and it could be a cracking game with some proper rugby.
Whilst we may not have seen huge amounts of it this season, both of these sides ought to keep the ball in hand and look to run with the ball. There is quality on both sides in nearly every department, and on paper, they are very evenly matched.
Lee Byrne hit the nail on the head when we spoke to him earlier this week – ‘the start is where we’ve been going wrong’. It’s surely only a matter of time in this competition before Wales bring out their instinctive, attacking rugby for 80 minutes and cause their opposition real problems.
The pressure should be off now that any thoughts they had of winning the tournament have gone, and they’ll be underdogs going to Dublin to face last year’s Champions. I have a feeling they’ll throw everything at the game and that an upset could be on the cards.
However, I’m still leaning towards the Irish. I think they’ll have the edge up front, and I’m a massive fan of the back row – Stephen Ferris is one of the best players in the world, and David Wallace and Jamie Heaslip aren’t too bad either. They frustrated England a fortnight ago, and they’ll do the same to Wales on Saturday, whose back row has looked a little out of sorts.
Ireland will also find an extra 10% of effort for their heroic captain on his 100th cap to make sure he has a game to remember. My fingers are crossed for a pulsating game with a few tries apiece, as well as a home win.
My SportGuru prediction is Ireland by 9.