Sunday, March 3, 2024

Ireland is ‘monumental task’ for Wales – Adams

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Wing Josh Adams has played 56 internationals for Wales and one Test for the British and Irish Lions

Wing Josh Adams has highlighted the “monumental task” Wales face when they travel to play defending Six Nations champions Ireland on 24 February.

Andy Farrell’s side are on course to complete a second successive Grand Slam after opening victories against France and Italy.

In contrast, winless Wales have suffered narrow defeats against Scotland and England.

“Ireland is probably one of the hardest places to go now,” said Adams.

“The way they’ve come together as a team and performed for the last two to three years means it’s a monumental task for us but it’s something we’ve got to look forward to.

“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.”

Ireland are ranked second in the world and have won 19 out of their last 20 internationals, including 10 successive Six Nations wins.

They are bidding to become the first team to win back-to-back Grand Slams in the Six Nations era.

Ireland started this year with a record away 38-17 victory in France and followed with a comfortable 36-0 win against Italy, even with some key players rested.

The win against Italy was a 17th consecutive home success for Ireland, while Wales have not won a Six Nations game in Dublin since 2012. They have also suffered nine defeats in the last 10 games in the tournament.

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

“They haven’t had many disruptions from the World Cup. They are probably one of the most ruthless teams in world rugby at the minute.

“Every opportunity they get, they take. They apply pressure extremely well. It’s going to be key we get our stuff right.

“It’s nice we’ve got two weeks leading into it, that’s going to be beneficial. It’s going to be a tough task but one we’ll take head on.”

‘You have to be ruthless’

After giving Scotland a 27-point lead and just falling short with a 27-26 defeat, Wales led England 14-5 at half-time at Twickenham but could not hold on for victory.

“It was a better first-half performance from last week,” said Adams.

“You don’t often come to Twickenham and go in with a score like that at half-time. We were pleased but couldn’t keep the pressure on.

“Things that went well for us in the first half didn’t seem to stick in the second. We had some chances to build on the scoreboard but didn’t take them.

“Just because we’re a young side and new together, we can’t be happy with losing, especially after taking the lead like that.

“It’s international rugby and you have to be ruthless when you get chances. That’s what the best teams are.

“We have to strive to be a team when you have your foot on the throat, you keep it there and take opportunities to keep scoreboard pressure.

“We’re disappointed because we should have won that game.”

Head coach Warren Gatland has asked the Welsh public to be patient with a young and inexperienced Wales squad.

This follows a previous period of success that has included Grand Slams, Six Nations titles and World Cup semi-final appearances.

“As a Welsh side we’ve had success for quite a number of years going back,” said Adams.

“It’s a young team. But I think they [Welsh public] understand the situation.

“This team is striving to get better every day. They’re working extremely hard. Sometimes things don’t go your way.

“We’re disappointed not to win but I know the Welsh public and fans will always be behind us no matter what. That’s why we battle so hard for them.”

Adams, 28, has praised the influence of his Cardiff team-mates Cameron Winnett and Alex Mann who have impressed in their first two games for Wales.

Full-back Winnett, 21, has been assured as Gatland looks to fill the void left by Leigh Halfpenny and Liam Williams, while flanker Mann, 22, has scored two tries in two games.

“It’s positive finding people who wouldn’t necessarily have got this opportunity this soon but are deserving because of the way they’ve performed for their club Cardiff this season,” said Adams.

“They’ve both taken it in their stride. Manny’s doing well and working terrifically hard.

“The surprising thing with Cam is nothing ever seems to rattle him. That’s a trait that sometimes takes time but he seems to have got it straightaway. That’s a good sign and he’s got a positive future.”

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