JAMIE HEASLIP KNOWS the threat Wales present and he’s braced for a fierce, physical battle at Lansdowne Road tomorrow.
The vice captain was speaking after this afternoon’s captain’s run at the Aviva Stadium.
The run-through brought no new injury concerns, though, having learned from the disrupted preparation to last week’s win over Scotland, the number eight did joke that they may not know until tomorrow morning.
Heaslip smiles as he says he’s not going to ‘give away the gameplan’, but enacting a strategy first requires winning the basic collisions.
“We’re under no illusions what we’re up against,” says Heaslip, “they’ve won the Championships two years on the hop now.
“You’re going up against a quality side. I’ve played against them both at club and international level. I’ve played with probably all of them in the summer.
“They’re good players and good blokes and we expect a tough battle on our hands in that regards.
“We’re not going to give away any of the secrets of what we’re going to try to do, but it’s definitely going to be physical game, the way they play the game, you have to be physical to negate that.
Heaslip adds: “I’ve played with, well, probably all of them in the summer.” And it shows as the Leinster back row points out the individual threats by their first names.
“The breakdown, the whole combat tackle zone, is going to be a battle for the full 80 minutes especially with Toby [Faletau] and Sam [Warburton] being really good on the ground.
“Dan [Lydiate] is a serious tackler as well and feeds into that system. Tips [Justin Tipuric] to come off the bench.
“Gethin [Jenkins] and Alun Wyn [Jones] are really get at getting in there at the breakdown, really good at slowing the ball down. Really good at producing quick ball for themselves.
“In that regard it’s a big challenge for us, but that’s why you play ball, you always want to go up against good teams, good players.”
And in Europe, there has been no better team than Wales for almost three years.