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Last Updated: Wednesday, 5 March 2008, 10:11 GMT
O'Driscoll praises Gatland role
Welsh coach Warren Gatland and Ireland's Eddie O'Sullivan
Warren Gatland comes up against Eddie O'Sullivan at Croke Park

Date: Saturday, 8 March
Kick-off: 1315 GMT
Venue: Croke Park, Dublin
BBC Coverage: Live on BBC One, BBC Sport website (UK users only), Radio Wales and Radio Cymru.

Ireland captain Brian O'Driscoll says he is not surprised at how Warren Gatland has revived Welsh fortunes.

"I owe a lot to Warren as he brought me into the international fray as a 20-year-old," said O'Driscoll ahead of Saturday's crucial clash in Dublin.

"I am sure he has developed a lot as a coach since being in charge of Ireland.

"He is giving Wales the scope to play the way they know they can. They are a skilful team with tremendous passing ability. They can be devastating."

The form Wales have shown is similar to 2005, the year they won the Grand Slam

Brian O'Driscoll

Wales have responded magnificently under Kiwi Gatland and his assistant Shaun Edwards and are the only unbeaten side in the RBS Six Nations.

But the fact that Gatland was sacked by Ireland in 2001, and replaced by current coach Eddie O'Sulivan, has added spice to the big-match build-up.

O'Sullivan is entering his seventh year as Ireland boss and has enjoyed a higher success rate - 66% compared to 46% - but O'Driscoll admits Ireland's talent pool has grown since Gatland's time.

"Warren knew how to get the best of a side. I do not think we had the same player capabilities back then as we do now.

"But we still managed to bring in some big performances, especially when we were against the ropes a bit."

Wales have beaten England, Scotland and Italy so far in the Six Nations, so O'Driscoll knows they will be formidable opponents at Croke Park.

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"The form Wales have shown is similar to 2005, the year they won the Grand Slam," O'Driscoll added.

"They have developed and their momentum has really swept them along.

"They have certainly grown in confidence and that is very much the Welsh way. The more they are allowed to play the better they get."

SEE ALSO
O'Connell & Best back for Ireland
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