Dafydd Jenkins of Wales leads the team huddle at full time. Credit: WRU.

‘Patience and mettle’ are what Wales need to beat Ireland in Dublin Six Nations challenge

“People from the outside can see what we’re trying to do as a squad,” said Warren Gatland.

THE Welsh rugby team are “desperate to want to get a win”, said Warren Gatland ahead of this week’s clash against Ireland in Dublin.

Wales have lost both their opening 2024 Six Nations matches with an inexperienced squad.

After their narrow 16-14  defeat to England at Twickenham two Saturdays ago, Wales need to adopt a winning mentality to get their first win of the tournament.

“We’ve got to battle again and show the same character we did against England but be more clinical if we’re going to hurt teams,” said Welsh winger Josh Adams.

“It’s important you keep your mettle against a team like Ireland, they are a settled squad at the minute.”

In it to win it

Gatland stressed the importance of a winning mentality to get Wales off the mark.

“The challenge for us is just how important winning is. A number of players are coming from regional teams that haven’t had a lot of success,” he said.

This young squad has largely come up through regional Welsh sides which are currently struggling in the United Rugby Championship.

New flanker Alex Mann has now scored two tries for Wales in two appearances. Credit: WRU.

Three of the four Welsh teams – Cardiff, the Scarlets and the Dragons – are in the bottom half of the URC table. Having confidence and “being positive” is how Gatland sees this Six Nations side “putting one of these games to bed”.

“When they [the players] come into this environment, they come in with confidence, believing that they’re good enough to win. So we just got to keep building on that.”

Wales will hope that getting one win under their belt will help a young squad that’s under the microscope to find their rhythm and shake off the nerves

Feed the talent

Another key way Wales can improve their prospects is to nurture the talent that has shone in their first two games. Gatland has made no secret about how this Welsh side is not a ready-made championship favourite.

“I think message to the Wales public is, have a bit of patience. So hopefully people from the outside can see what we’re trying to do as a squad,” said Gatland.

Tommy Reffell breaking through a tackle at Twickenham against England. Credit: WRU.

Flanker Tommy Reffell was outvoted as Guinness’ ‘Player of the Round’ by just two votes by Ireland’s winger James Lowe.

Gatland praised Reffell’s “absolutely outstanding” performance against England, with The Observer hailing him as “a towering beacon of light in dark times for Wales”.

The running threat posed by the openside flanker is something the coaches are keen to nurture in upcoming games, along with the physicality of Reffell’s blindside partner Alex Mann.

Mann, who only received his first professional contract in January, has scored two tries in his first two games for Wales, and has given Wales fans a vision of Gatland’s long-term plan.

“Mann is as a perfect scenario of what we’re trying to do,” said Gatland.

“It’s about putting players out there and making them better and experiencing what physicality of an England v Wales game is all about. So he’ll have only improved from that experience he’s had today”

“He’s going to be real quality.”

Red bold and green

Wales face a significant challenge in Dublin this Saturday. Despite promising prospects in the pack, the loss of prop Archie Griffin to injury will still be a blow.

The last clash between Wales and Ireland was a 34-10 defeat for Wales on home turf. Although Wales historically have the edge over the Irish, winning 70 of their matches compared to Ireland’s 52, only three of these Welsh wins have been in the last 10 meetings between the sides.

The iconic red and green clash this weekend will be the last times the sides wear their traditional colours when facing each other. Credit: M+MD on Flickr https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-nd/2.0/ .

This weekend’s fixture marks the last iconic red-green clash, with colour vision deficiency (CVD) rules coming into force next year.

Red and green often provide difficulties for those with CVD. This means the away sides will have to sport an appropriate alternative jersey to make the game more accessible to spectators with CVD.