Josh van der Flier felt Ireland were in control during their vital 24-14 Six Nations victory over Wales on Saturday.
Ireland’s performance in a narrow win over Scotland last week prompted questions over their championship credentials, but they ran in four tries in an impressive home triumph in Dublin.
They have now won 17 of their last 18 Tests at the Aviva Stadium after ending Wales’ hopes of winning back-to-back Grand Slams.
Van der Flier and Andrew Conway scored tries in the second half as Ireland built on a 12-7 half-time lead given to them by Jordan Larmour and Tadhg Furlong, with Andy Farrell’s men claiming a bonus point.
“We did a lot of things we said we wanted to do and I thought we controlled the game,” flanker Van der Flier told RTE.
“In defence we slipped off a lot of tackles last week and were probably a bit soft in the contact area. It gave Scotland easy yards and we knew we couldn’t do that against Wales.
“I thought our attack looked pretty fluid and our backs were exceptional. It was great to get the win over last year’s Grand Slam champions, they are an incredible team and we saw last week how good they are.”
Ireland were inspired by number eight CJ Stander, the man of the match for a second consecutive week, and they now have a break before travelling to Twickenham for a clash with England on February 23.
Van der Flier added: “The break will do us good, but we are building up a nice momentum. In the dressing room we focused afterwards on the good things we did.
“We know we have much to work on for the England game, but we will look at those learnings when we get back into camp.”
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Wing Jacob Stockdale, meanwhile, believes Ireland will only get better as they continue to adapt to new head coach Farrell.
“It’s going to take a few weeks to get into the new coaching structure and new ideas but I thought we did it really well,” he said.
“Our physicality was brought to the next level but in all fairness to Wales they came and pushed us hard. They fired a few shots early on.
“It’s great to get the win. We are always looking for the kicks in behind and we know the 15s like to get quite high early. It worked out really well.
“We know how good we can be when we are on it with our carrying and at the breakdown. Once we started to do that, the tries started to come.”
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