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Six Nations: Gatland concerned over Ireland foul play

Six Nations: WALES v IRELAND
Venue: Millennium Stadium, Cardiff Date: Sat, 12 March Kick-off: 1700 GMT
Coverage: Watch live on BBC One Wales, BBC One HD and online from 1635-1900; Listen on BBC Radio Wales, BBC Radio Cymru & BBC Radio 5 Live; Text commentary on BBC Sport website and mobiles


Warren Gatland
Warren Gatland will manage a record 36th Wales game against Ireland

Warren Gatland admits he will highlight Ireland's serial offending to referee Jonathan Kaplan ahead of Wales' Six Nations clash in Cardiff on Saturday.

Scotland coach Andy Robinson bemoaned Irish foul play after their defeat last month as he claimed Ireland conceded penalties to "slow down your rhythm."

Ireland have conceded 34 penalties in this Six Nations but Wales are the most indisciplined conceding 36 penalties.

"It is something we will talk to the referee about," said coach Gatland.

The Wales boss acknowledges his side have been guilty of ill-discipline admitting "we have given away a few ourselves."

But Gatland will talk to South African official Kaplan before Saturday's Millennium Stadium showdown as the Kiwi is keen to employ a high-tempo game in a bid to end Ireland's Cardiff hoodoo.

The Irish have lost just once in the Welsh capital since 1983 - Wales' Grand Slam winning-clincher in 2005 - but Gatland's team are bidding for their third successive victory in this season's Six Nations.

But Gatland wants his Welsh side to have "quick ball" as they attempt to enhance their own Championship push at the expense of a rival.

We need to be accurate at the breakdown ourselves on attack but if we do get our chance to get quick ball, it gives us a chance to keep the ball in hand and to play some attacking rugby

Wales coach Warren Gatland

So Wales will seek a pre-match audience with referee Kaplan, the most experienced Test referee of all time, to point out his concerns about the Irish offending.

"I know Andy Robinson made a big deal about it after their game," Gatland said.

"And it is something we'll talk to the referee about at the breakdown.

"With someone like Jonathan Kaplan, he is a world-class referee so we just hope he allows us the opportunity to get quick ball.

"We need to be accurate at the breakdown ourselves on attack but if we do get our chance to get quick ball, it gives us a chance to keep the ball in hand and to play some attacking rugby.

"That will be a key focus for us and we will be talking to the referee about hopefully getting his cooperation in that area."

Wales had suffered a eight-match winless streak before back-to-back Six Nations victories in Scotland and Italy.

And if Wales do extend their winning run to three games against Ireland, it would be their best streak since their 2008 Grand Slam winning campaign.

Eddie Butler's Wales v Ireland official guide

Ireland won their second Grand Slam in 2009 at the Millennium Stadium - their first clean-sweep since 1948 - and return to Cardiff with Gatland wanting to put in a stirring competitive Welsh send-off ahead of their Rugby World Cup campaign this autumn.

Wales travel to France for the final Six Nations fixture before hosting the Barbarians, England and Argentina this summer in pre-World Cup friendly warm-ups.

"It is important we make a statement," said Gatland, preparing to face the nation he coached between 1998 and 2001.

"Our fans deserve a good performance from us."



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see also
Jones proud of Wales cap landmark
10 Mar 11 |  Welsh
Gatland hints at Jones comeback
09 Mar 11 |  Welsh
O'Callaghan focuses on discipline
08 Mar 11 |  Irish
Halfpenny reveals hunger for win
09 Mar 11 |  Welsh
Reddan's mixed Cardiff feelings
09 Mar 11 |  Irish
Hook handed Wales fly-half shirt
08 Mar 11 |  Welsh
Ireland unchanged for Wales clash
08 Mar 11 |  Irish
Edwards wary of Irish try threat
08 Mar 11 |  Welsh
Robinson angry at referee display
27 Feb 11 |  Scottish
Penalties still a worry for Irish
27 Feb 11 |  Irish


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