SCARLETS hooker Ken Owens says Wales will be seeking revenge against Ireland in Saturday’s Six Nations clash in Dublin, writes Andrew Penman.
Both sides won their opening matches in the tournament last weekend with Wales edging past Italy 23-15 in Cardiff and Ireland enjoying a comfortable 28-6 home win over Scotland.
And Saturday’s winners will be dreaming of a Triple Crown and potential Grand Slam but defending champions Wales want to make up for last year’s opening day defeat to the Irish at the Millennium Stadium.
Owens replaced Richard Hibbard for the final 13 minutes against Italy and is again named among the replacements for the trip to Dublin.
But he is looking forward to playing a part in what will be a revenge mission for Warren Gatland’s men.
“It's going to be a massive game; Wales-Ireland always is,” said the 27-year-old from Carmarthen.
“They beat us in Cardiff last year, so we want to make up for that by getting a big result.
“But we know how big the task is. Ireland are riding the crest of a wave, having come close to beating New Zealand in the autumn and having defeated Scotland last weekend.
“I'm looking forward to it,” he added. “The intensity is going to step up a level and we are going to need to be at the top of our game to get a result.”
But Owens says the forwards will be ready for the challenge on Saturday.
“It isn't a question of being daunted,” he said. “Their pack is going very well and were outstanding against Scotland, with an excellent driving line-out and a strong scrum.
“But we're a good pack ourselves and we need to be confident we can match them. I have no doubt we are capable of doing that.
“The old saying is it's the forwards who decides who wins the game, the backs who decide by how much. That's the way it's going to be this weekend, so as a pack we need to be at our best.”
Owens was glad to make his return from injury against Italy and is hoping to get more game time in Dublin.
“I tried my best to get stuck in after I came on,” he said. “I hadn't played for a month, so it was a bit of a test for my ankle.
“Overall, I was quite happy from a personal point of view. There were a couple of tackles, a couple of carries, a turnover and the one line-out went OK as well.
“It was a bit disappointing as a front row that we gave away a penalty towards the end, but I think that was a slip. Overall, I was just glad to be back on the pitch.”