Ireland v Wales
Heaslip wary of Gatland surprises
ESPN Staff
February 7, 2014
Heaslip is convinced Gatland has special plans for Ireland © Getty Images

Jamie Heaslip has warned his fellow British & Irish Lions in the Ireland squad that Wales boss Warren Gatland will have some new tricks up his sleeve this Saturday.

The likes of Heaslip, Brian O'Driscoll, and captain Paul O'Connell were among a group of Irish Lions who worked closely with Gatland in Australia and would have seen his coaching methods first-hand. Much of the build up to the Six Nations encounter in Dublin this weekend has focused around Gatland's omission of O'Driscoll for the decisive final test, but Heaslip believes it is what Gatland did not do in Australia which should concern his team-mates.

"I'm sure 'Gats' hasn't shown his full hand, across the summer and even into the tournament now," Heaslip said.

"Their lads have played enough against [Ireland coach] Joe [Schmidt] through club rugby when he was Leinster boss I suppose, to get a taste of what he could be like.

"But they are not playing against Joe as such, they are playing against our lads. You've got to take it with a pinch of salt I suppose.

"It will have a bearing, and perhaps they could gain an advantage from it. But we've just got to be mindful of them producing something different.

"And it's over to us, ultimately. We're under no illusions what we're up against."

Heaslip, and the rest of the Irish Lions contingent, has experience of playing alongside many of Wales' star players from his time with the Lions, but he insists nobody is taking the challenge of the defending champions lightly.

"They've won the championship two years on the hop now," Heaslip added.

"We're going up against a quality side, we've played against them often and with them from the summer. They are good players and good blokes, and we expect a tough battle on our hands in that regard. It's definitely going to be a physical game."

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