IRELAND CAPTAIN JAMIE Heaslip has praised the Welsh team for their work ethic ahead of the Six Nations opener.
The reigning champions host Declan Kidney’s side at the Millennium Stadium on Saturday but have come under criticism from former Lions coach Jim Telfer – who branded them “lazy” in recent days.
Wales have won the past three meetings between the pair, including a late 23-21 victory thanks to Leigh Halfpenny’s late penalty in last year’s competition. And on this weekend’s opponents, Heaslip said:
“I think they’ve got an amazing work ethic,” he told reporters. “If you watch how they play, it’s quite a wide expansive game and the forwards have to go through a lot of work.
They work hard. They’re a tough team to play against because they play with so much width and they’re able to up the tempo really quickly.
“They were the better team in the World Cup (quarter-final in 2011). We made two defensive errors and they punished us by scoring two tries. They got ahead and controlled the game very well.
“A similar thing happened in the Six Nations last year. I think we were leading by 12 points – two mistakes, two tries and another mistake for a penalty to win the game.
“We know full well of their ability to punish you and also to stay in a game. We know what they’re capable of. We’ve looked at their threats but we’re quite focused on what we’re going to bring to it.”