Warren Gatland wants his Wales side to “attack” Jonathan Sexton and Conor Murray when they attempt to derail Ireland’s Six Nations title challenge in Dublin on Saturday.
Gatland knows all about the threat posed by the half-back pairing, who were in his starting line-up for two of the three British and Irish Lions Tests in New Zealand last year.
Wales need a victory at the Aviva Stadium after losing to England at Twickenham before the break and Gatland knows they can ill afford to let Sexton and Murray pull the strings.
“We’ve got to attack them. We’ve had some pretty good success not allowing Johnny too much time and space on the ball.” said the Wales head coach.
“Our line-speed defensively has got to be good. We have got to put Conor and his kicking game under pressure – we have to be prepared to be pretty physical against them.
“I thought the way Wales played at home against them last year was outstanding, the kind of model and benchmark to take to Ireland.
“We have got to be physical against them up front and stop the running power of someone like CJ Stander, who’s a big go-forward player for them and stop allowing Murray and Sexton to dominate the game.
“If we can do that we have got a chance.”
Gatland has recalled Dan Biggar, Liam Williams and Leigh Halfpenny to his starting line-up.
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