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Last Updated: Sunday, 24 February 2008, 16:24 GMT
O'Sullivan predicts Croke classic
Eddie O'Sullivan
Eddie O'Sullivan will pit his wits against Welsh coach Warren Gatland
Ireland coach Eddie O'Sullivan has predicted his side's RBS Six Nations clash with Wales in Dublin on 8 March could be "the match of the tournament".

"Because of the direction we're going and because of our own growing confidence, we could have a cracking game on our hands," said O'Sullivan.

"Wales are a difficult team to play against when they're confident and they fire well when on top of their game.

"Both teams like to run and if it's a dry day it will be a great spectacle."

O'Sullivan's side beat Scotland 34-13 in Dublin on Saturday but Wales saw off Italy 47-8 a few hours earlier and the Irish coach accepts the Welsh will be formidable opponents.

"We saw in 2005 that Wales built up momentum throughout the tournament and went on to win a Grand Slam.

"They've had some great results in recent years against the top teams in the world, especially in Cardiff.

New coaches have come to Wales and introduced fresh ideas, keeping the players on top of their toes

Eddie O'Sullivan

"They play well as a confidence team and they're in that frame of mind right now. They are a force to be reckoned with."

The build-up to the Croke Park clash may be overshadowed by the rivalry between O'Sullivan and former Ireland coach Warren Gatland, to whom he was assistant, but the Irish coach has greeted the Kiwi's achievements for Wales with unreserved praise.

"New coaches have come to Wales and introduced fresh ideas, keeping the players on top of their toes.

"They got off to a good start in the Six Nations, getting two important wins.

"The way Warren is rotating the squad points to a much better spread of talent than Wales had in 2005, when they won the Grand Slam.

"That's evident in the way they've moved selection around yet are still getting results.

"The Welsh team have much more depth than in 2005, but it's a similar style of play they're using."

Ireland 34-13 Scotland
23 Feb 08 |  Rugby Union
Ireland v Scot match stats
31 Jan 08 |  Rugby Union


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