Ireland full-back Hugo Keenan believes the fearless approach used by his side was crucial in their dominant 34-10 win over Wales in the opening round of the Six Nations.
Keenan’s side shot to a fantastic 27-3 lead by half-time thanks to tries from Caelan Doris, James Ryan, Josh van der Flier and James Lowe, effectively killing the optimism of Warren Gatland’s return as Wales coach.
It was an important victory for Ireland, who had not won a championship match at the Principality Stadium for a decade.
Keenan, who ended as man-of-the-match, believes it was all about being mentally prepared for the Cardiff atmosphere.
“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,” he said.
“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.”
Ultimately it was the perfect start for Andy Farrell’s Ireland in their Six Nations campaign. However, their biggest challenge awaits next weekend when defending champions France travel to Dublin.
Keenan admits the game is massive and that it is a big week for the whole Ireland squad.
“Yeah, definitely,” said the 26-year-old. “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.”
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