Wales will not change winning formula, says Stephen Jones
Veteran Stephen Jones is confident Wales will not fall into the trap of changing the way they play in the Rugby World Cup knockout stages.
Wales have been one of the most entertaining teams of the tournament so far, running in 23 tries in the pool phases to sit third behind New Zealand (36) and Australia (25) in the try-scoring standings.
Jamie Roberts, George North and Shane Williams have shown plenty of sizzle in attack, with teenager North in particular earning rave reviews for his performances to date.
"I think with the younger players they are more fearless and they go out there and play and back themselves," Jones said.
"They've got high rugby ability and they've just gone out there and enjoyed throwing the ball around and having the honour of representing their country." They've been top draw."
History has shown that the sudden-death nature of the latter stages of the World Cup can cause teams to move away from what has got them there in the first place, but Jones was confident Wales would avoid that.
"There is good belief in the squad," the experienced fly half said.
"There is good confidence in our game plan and the style the coaches want us to play."
"What's important is that we go out and do that - be brave and play with a lot of excitement."
He added: "The mixture is key. What we can't become is predictable in our attack. We have to have variety. I'm confident that the game plan we have gives us that. What's important is that we implement that and try and manipulate defences so that we can play a great style of rugby."
But knowing it is do-or-die means players such as Jones, Rhys Priestland and James Hook will be working on their drop goal kicking as the week wears on.
"It's something in our minds," Wales kicking coach Neil Jenkins said.
"The drop goal is a very important part of scoring points."
"It might come to the fore on Saturday and I'm sure Ireland will look to do the same."
Priestland missed a drop goal in the one-point loss to South Africa in Wales' first game of the tournament, but Jenkins had confidence all three players would step up if needed.
"They are all pretty good," said the former Wales fly-half, who played in his country's one-point loss to Ireland at the 1995 World Cup.
"I know Rhys missed one early on against South Africa but we've got huge faith in Rhys."
"He's been working extremely hard as well as the rest of the guys. If it comes down to it, hopefully we'll be fine."
Wales and Ireland have met twice at the World Cup, with Wales winning the first encounter 13-6 in 1987 before going down 24-23 eight years later.|
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