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Dan Lydiate returns after five years as Wales and Ireland opt for experience

  • Six Nations tie set to be confrontational after toxic buildup
  • Ireland have not won in Cardiff since 2013

Trash talking has become a feature of the buildup to matches between Wales and Ireland. It has occasionally come from within one of the camps, most notably in 2009 when Warren Gatland surprised England by saying his Welsh players hated the Irish more than any other nationality, but it is more often down to pundits who have been at their most vituperative this week before Sunday’s meeting between the sides, generating the heat that will be lacking at a fan-free stadium.

Welsh websites have bulged with indignation at comments describing Wayne Pivac’s side, which last year suffered its worst Six Nations campaign for 13 years, as rubbish and one step away from the abyss. The former Ireland flanker Stephen Ferris, anticipating Dan Lydiate’s return to Wales’s back row five years after his last appearance in the Six Nations, said he thought the 33-year-old’s best days were behind him and that “diving at people’s feet will only get you so far”.

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