"I've heard people tipping Wales to beat us. I was actually offended!" - Greg O'Shea
"It's Warren Gatland, though. Warren Gatland."
Former England coach Clive Woodward may have been leading the 'Wales could turn over Ireland' charge, at the weekend, but Greg O'Shea is not buying it.
Warren Gatland, back in charge of Wales after three years away, is not buying it either. Wales were poor under Wayne Pivac in 2022 and it cost Wayne Pivac his job. Heading into Saturday's clash with World No.1 side, Ireland, Gatland was leaning hard into the Welsh underdog angle. He told reporters:
"I think all the Welsh like to be underdogs,” Gatland said. “We know how good a team they are. You don’t become the No 1 team in the world without consistency. We realise what a challenge that will be... The underdog tag is something I’ve found in the past the Welsh boys tend to relish. They like people writing them off, as it tends to motivate them."
On the latest House of Rugby, [LISTEN from 28:20 below], Greg O'Shea, Lindsay Peat and Jason Hennessy previewed Ireland's Six Nations opener against Wales and debated if Woodward's prediction of a defeat for Andy Farrell's men would play out.
The Welsh 'banana skin'
When it came around to previewing Ireland's big squad selection calls for their opener in Cardiff, Jason Hennessy was finding himself distracted by the Warren Gatland curve-ball he can just tell is coming.
"Gatland is going to have something up his sleeve," he remarked. "It's Warren Gatland!
"I'm actually quite afraid that our first game against Wales. Before Gatland came in, I was like, 'Yeah, we're going to walk this game'.
Greg O'Shea was on top of the latest commentary on the game, especially since Gatland replaced fellow Kiwi Wayne Pivac. The former Munster and Ireland Sevens player said:
"I've heard people tipping Wales to win it. I was actually offended. I was like, 'What?'"
As Hennessy and Lindsay Peat backed up their worried words, a smiling O'Shea assured them, "Lads, Ireland are so good though!"
"It's Warren Gatland," argued Hennessy. "With Warren Gatland coming back in for his first game, in the Principality Stadium, do not expect a win. There's every chance they can win it. As Ireland are - and I'm hopeful of a Six Nations win or a grand slam - that could be a slippery first game."
"I think we're still underestimating this," said Lindsay Peat. "I think it's the hardest place to go.
"As [England winger] Anthony Watson was telling us in our interview with him, it is such a cauldron to play in. The seats are so close and when the roof is closed and the crowd is roaring at the Principality, it's a daunting venue."
Gatland named his Wales team to face Ireland on Tuesday morning. Alun Wyn Jones, Ken Owens and Justin Tipuric are all in his pack, Dan Biggar at 10 and a backline with old favourites George North and Leigh Halfpenny, along with Rio Dyer, who Peat has tipped a the championship's 'break-through star'.
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