SIX NATIONS: Ireland aiming to target Welsh scrum in opener

The Ireland team for the Wales game
The Ireland team for the Wales game

Ireland will heap the pressure on Wales’ rookie loosehead Rob Evans, to see if his scrummaging discipline “turns the other way” on Sunday, according to Greg Feek.

Scrum coach Feek insisted Ireland are unfazed by Wales boss Warren Gatland freely admitting he selected three-cap Scarlets prop Evans ahead of 119-Test veteran Gethin Jenkins because of Jerome Garces’ set-piece interpretations.

Gatland hailed Garces as one of the World Cup’s best referees, well aware Ireland were frustrated with some of the Frenchman’s scrum calls against both Italy and Argentina in the autumn’s global showpiece.

Ireland boss Joe Schmidt has already warned Garces not to carry any “preconceived ideas” into Dublin’s RBS 6 Nations opener this weekend, but now Feek has ramped up the scrutiny on Wales’ inexperienced prop Evans.

“I think if Warren comes out and says that, that’s fine,” said Feek, of Gatland admitting selecting Evans was to counteract referee Garces.

“I’ve had a look at Rob Evans, and there have been some games where he has been reasonably disciplined.

“But I watched the Northampton-Scarlets game, and there are some games where it turns the other way.

“On the day is exactly what Joe said, you’ve just got to take it on the day.

“And as long as the referee polices that, clear and obvious, then that’s fine.

“If our guys are good and they are good then they don’t have to sanction it.

“All we are wanting is the assistant referees and the referee to work together so that we can have a good contest.

“Statistically we’re pretty happy with where we’ve been on our own ball.

“Teams are always going to try to pressure you, but World Rugby are trying to push that if you’re going to contest the scrum it’s got to be done legally.

“We’re just wanting to do what World Rugby and the referees want, and that’s what we’ve been trying to do for the last two, three years.

“Sometimes there are slightly different interpretations, but if that’s what they’re wanting, we’re certainly trying to achieve that.”