Jack Conan dead set on exciting Ireland back-row combination to face Wales 2 months ago

Jack Conan dead set on exciting Ireland back-row combination to face Wales

With just a six-day turnaround, Joe Schmidt has some thinking to do before Ireland travel to Cardiff next weekend.

Ireland can still win the Six Nations if they manage to beat Wales and Scotland beat England on Saturday but the odds are not in Schmidt's favour.

Ireland secured a bonus point win over France on Sunday afternoon although some late complacency at the Aviva Stadium resulted in two late tries for the visitors.

There were plenty of positives for Schmidt to take away from the performance against France, however, and Jack Conan's usual impact from the bench was one of them.

Conan replaced Josh van der Flier after just 24 minutes of play and got on the scoresheet with Ireland's third try of the match.

With van der Flier a doubt for Saturday's clash in Wales, Conan is looking forward to rejoining the back row that won last summer's series Down Under with a 20-16 victory in the final Test.

"I didn't expect to be coming on that early," Conan said. "I missed the Italy game and I was kind of undercooked minutes-wise in the last few weeks.

"It was probably a bit tougher on the lungs than it normally would have been, especially if I played against Italy.

"Great for me to get on early and to show what I'm about and show that I can fill that role on the bench and come on and that it can work seamlessly and we can fit myself, Pete and CJ all on the pitch at the one time as we did in Australia in that last Test."

Ireland have come in for criticism in recent weeks, particularly for their showing against England in their tournament opener.

But with the World Cup looming, Conan believes that he and his teammates have proven that the defeat to Ireland's fiercest rivals was no more than "a slip".

"We got the five points. We did what we wanted to do. Again not a full 80-minute performance but we came on leaps and bounds to where we were a few weeks ago, even against Italy and against Scotland," Conan said.

"We had a massive wrong to right about the last time we played here and lost to England in the fashion that we did. We didn't do ourselves any justice so it was great to come out today and show that was a slip and we are really back and we're going forward."