Six Nations
Wales can end Irish Grand Slam dreams - McGeechan
ESPN Staff
March 8, 2015
Rhys Webb has impressed for Wales at scrum-half in recent weeks © Getty Images

Wales have the crowd and firepower to wreck Ireland's Grand Slam dream - as long as they focus on the rugby, says Sir Ian McGeechan.

Writing in the Sunday Telegraph, McGeechan has warned Wales they need to put aside the pre-match bluster about creating an intimidating atmosphere with music and fireworks, and instead concentrate on putting Ireland under pressure from the start to ignite the Millennium Stadium crowd in Cardiff - something Warren Gatland's side failed to do in 2013.

If Wales upset the odds and beat an imperious-looking Ireland team next Saturday, McGeechan believes the competition will be there for the taking.

"If Wales can start well, unlike two years ago against Ireland when they were 23-3 down at half time, then they will have the crowd on their side," McGeechan wrote. "Should Wales pull off a surprise, then the championship is wide open, with Ireland, Wales and England all in contention."

After impressive performances from the likes of Alun Wyn Jones, Dan Biggar and midfield partnership Jamie Roberts and Jonathan Davies in their win over France in Paris, Wales' senior players have started to show the form and confidence required to compete with the best.

However, McGeechan believes adept individual performances will not be enough to overpower Ireland, pointing to England's recent struggles in Dublin.

"I still think Wales need to find a bit more," he continued. "As long as they win the physical battle, as they did in Paris, they are fine. But it is when they do not win that battle that they struggle, as they did against England.

"Their forwards were tight and accurate in Paris. So they will need to be like that again next weekend and not like they were against England in Cardiff where they conceded penalties and could not get out of their own half.

"The Welsh set piece simply has to stand up, but the accuracy at the breakdown also has to be exemplary. Ireland, as they showed against England, are very clever in that area. They recognise situations so well. They know that if a player is caught just behind the gain line, then they can fire in with numbers to challenge for a turnover or, at worst, create very slow ball."

© ESPN Sports Media Ltd

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