Published: Thu, February 22, 2018
Entertaiment | By Lawrence Myers

Wales must attack Sexton and Murray - Gatland

Wales must attack Sexton and Murray - Gatland

The amount of insider information and crossover in coaching methods involving any Ireland-Wales game has only intensified recently given the make-up on and of the pitch in the last two Lions tours.

If Wales are to win in Dublin, they will have to limit the influence of British and Irish Lions Test half-back pairing of Conor Murray and Jonny Sexton.

"We've got to attack them". I thought the way Wales played at home against them previous year was outstanding.

"We've got to attack them", he said of Murray and Sexton. If we can do that, we have got a chance.

Biggar has not played since limping out of the Ospreys' Champions Cup defeat to Clermont Auvergne last month.

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Halfpenny pulled out of Wales' defeat at Twickenham because of a foot infection and was replaced by the versatile Gareth Anscombe of Cardiff Blues. "They are a quality side that are hard to break down".

Both Patchell and Adams drop out of the matchday 23, while Northampton wing George North is retained on the bench with Gatland opting for a back-three of Halfpenny, Williams and Steff Evans.

He adds: "We've got to make sure we don't give Ireland an opportunity to kick to the sidelines by giving away penalties and execute their driving line-out, which is pretty effective, and allow Johnny Sexton to keep their scoreboard ticking over with three points". We were not great in the air and it was probably the difference between the teams.

'We have been pleased with the depth we have developed in the back-three and pleased with how those players have gone but having the experience of Dan, Liam and Leigh coming back in is hugely important'.

The Ireland team is expected to be named on Thursday afternoon. "We talked about combinations and bringing experience back into the side".

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"We're pretty happy with our record against them over the last four or five games".

"I think Brian O'Driscoll's wife had given birth that morning, so we caught him on a quiet day!" They tend to be close encounters.

"There will be a few tough calls on some individuals and we look forward to having that discussion later".

This will be Gatland's 100th game in charge of Wales, but he played this down.

"He knows how to get the best out of players. You live and learn".

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Full-back Leigh Halfpenny returns, Liam Williams starts on the wing and Dan Biggar has made a quick recovery from a shoulder injury to begin at fly-half.

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