IRELAND AND LEINSTER FRONT ROW SUPERSTAR Tadhg Furlong has claimed 'he is itching to go' ahead of Ireland's opening game against Wales in the Six Nations this weekend.
Ireland takes on a Wales side in the famous Principality Stadium in Cardiff on Saturday 4th February, in a game where Ireland are backed to win.
Wales have fallen by the wayside in recent years with a poor 2022 Six Nations campaign, defeats to Georgia and Italy, and the sacking of former coach Wayne Pivac.
Ireland on the other hand have become the number one ranked side in the world, beat New Zealand home and away for the first time, and beat South Africa and Australia in the November internationals.
Warren Gatland, who managed the Welsh team many years ago returns to an international setup to rectify Wales poor showing on the world rugby stage.
Under Gatland, Wales won Grand Slams in 2008, 2012, and 2019 and many will expect Gatland to turn Wales into a powerhouse once more.
Ireland's Furlong, who was part of the 2017 British & Irish Lions squad that Gatland was head coach of gave glowing praise to the New Zealander ahead of the game on Saturday and knows the threat a new Wales side under Gatland could pose for Ireland.
Ireland's Tadhg Furlong anticipates an upturn in the fortunes of Wales under a coach he rates highly. https://t.co/8HZWzbIA9n
— RTÉ Rugby (@RTErugby) January 30, 2023
'I loved him because he always picked me!' Furlong explained to members of the media.
'He’s incredibly clued in. I suppose he was a hooker, so he takes a good interest in the scrums, but a lot of it is just on tactics, getting the motion of it right, framing the week – he does it very, very well.
'I know the Welsh lads have a huge amount of respect for him and he really gets the most out of those Welsh players. They really buy in.'
Furlong, who has had his fair share on injury problems this year has not featured as often as he would like for Leinster in the United Rugby Championship, but the Wexford native could not hide his excitement ahead of the opener.
This will be Furlong's 8th Six Nations Championship.
'You come through Christmas, January and then the Six Nations is looming,' he added.
“I’m itching, I can’t wait. I think it’s a class tournament. It’s a big deal.”
Wales and Ireland kick off at 14.15 this upcoming Saturday.
The game can be viewed on the BBC and Virgin Media One.