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The back row Andy Powell wants Wales to pick to face Ireland

By Josh Raisey
(Photo by Simon King/CameraSport via Getty Images)

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Andy Powell has shared what he thinks the Wales back row should look like for the opening game of the Guinness Six Nations against Ireland at the Principality Stadium on Sunday. The former Wales No8 has suggested on Twitter that Wayne Pivac opts for a trio of Dan Lydiate, Josh Navidi and Taulupe Faletau to combat Ireland’s back row. 

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Andy Farrell’s side traditionally likes to keep hold of the ball and wear down the opposition through their ball-carriers in the pack, but have struggled against teams that have bested them upfront. So picking such a resolute No6 and No7 combination would certainly help to nullify Ireland’s strengths. 

Lydiate’s reputation has been built upon his defence ever since he made his Wales debut in 2009. Meanwhile, Navidi produced some Herculean defensive efforts in the final seasons of Warren Gatland’s Welsh tenure. 

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Former Wales forward Andy Powell stars in Life After Rugby

Though Lydiate has not played for Wales since November 2018, and Navidi has only played once for Pivac’s side due to injury, Powell said the team should be picked on form when it is announced on Friday. He also feels Justin Tipuric’s dynamism is suited to a second-half cameo when the match is more open. 

Powell, who featured last year in a much-acclaimed RugbyPass documentary, wrote: “Let’s hope Pivac picks players on form not on what they have done in the past!! Back row I’d go for Faletau, Lydiate and Navidi. And pick Sheedy at 10 we got nothing to lose.

“Tipuric is a class player but lacks that physicality which you need against the Irish back row. Bring him on in the second half when it opens up. Navidi is a big team player, I understand he has been out for a while but what he brings is that explosive power and so good over the ball. Bring Tips on in the second half.”

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Elsewhere, Powell said 20-year-old winger Louis Rees-Zammit should be “first on the team sheet” after winning his first four caps in the autumn.

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The back row Andy Powell wants Wales to pick to face Ireland

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