Hugo Keenan believes a fearless strategy paved the way in which for Ireland to emphatically launch their Guinness Six Nations title cost with a devastating win which wrecked Warren Gatland’s return as Wales boss.
Full-back Keenan performed a starring function on Saturday because the world’s top-ranked crew subdued the Cardiff crowd by brushing apart the surprised hosts throughout a blistering begin.
Tries from Caelan Doris, James Ryan and James Lowe helped construct a commanding 27-3 half-time lead earlier than Josh Van Der Flier crossed late on to crush Welsh resistance and safe a bonus level.
Ireland had beforehand not received a championship match on the Principality Stadium for a decade however stylishly snapped the dropping streak as opposition optimism for the beginning of the second Gatland period was swiftly snuffed out.
“We’re delighted to get the win and the four tries and the bonus point, we came over here for that one reason and we got it,” mentioned Keenan, who was named the official man of the match.
“We talked about not being afraid. The atmosphere is going to be loud, it’s going to be a fired up Gatland side that are going to try and prove a point so we wanted to start the game fast so that was a bit of my mentality as well.
“Everybody bought into that so I think the whole team performance in that first half was brilliant and the forwards were immense, weren’t they? We came out of the blocks quite well.”
Ireland head coach Andy Farrell agreed for the stadium roof to be closed with a view to present his gamers with the check of a extra intimidating environment.
They wasted little time in rising to the problem as Doris and Ryan crossed inside eight minutes earlier than Lowe’s breakaway try to 12 factors from the boot of captain Johnny Sexton gave Wales a mountain to climb.
Gatland’s hosts responded early within the second interval and threatened to make a recreation of it via Liam Williams.
But world participant of the yr Van Der Flier rubber stamped a formidable outing to put down a marker forward of the Irish internet hosting reigning Grand Slam champions France subsequent weekend.
Keenan feels Les Bleus – the one main nation Ireland have but to beat throughout Farrell’s tenure – characterize the last word check and says his aspect have to up their recreation.
“Yeah, definitely,” he replied, when requested if that fixture is as huge because it will get. “All focus is going to be on that. We’re going to be looking at what we can improve on.
“I think that second half there was a bit of a lull so we’re going to have to be better than that if we’re going to beat France at home.
“They’ve got the better of us the last two or so times so we know what kind of challenge it is going to be. We’re looking forward to it so we’re going to regroup, a big week for us now.”