Liam Toland: Wales are greatest threat to Ireland's Grand Slam ambitions

Andrew Porter faces baptism of fire against Dragons as scrums could prove crucial

Ireland’s Andrew Porter training at Carton House. Wales will be planning an all-out attack on the talented young tighthead. Photograph: Dan Sheridan/Inpho

Ireland’s Andrew Porter training at Carton House. Wales will be planning an all-out attack on the talented young tighthead. Photograph: Dan Sheridan/Inpho

The moment Tadgh Furlong’s hamstring pulled up against Italy the Welsh scrum doctor, Robin McBryde, started planning an all-out attack on the Wexford man’s replacement. Although Andrew Porter’s selection is deserved, Welsh plans are now full steam ahead. Stephen Archer or John Ryan may have had more tighthead knowledge for this battle as Wales tighthead Samson Lee will likely abandon Cian Healy so loosehead Rob Evans and hooker Ken Owens can target Porter.

This will place the symbiotic relationship between Porter and his secondrow, (Devin Toner or James Ryan) under immense pressure. The discomfort Wales place on Porter will force a reaction, an outcome which will force him into an unusual counteraction position. What does Toner do should Porter be sucked down a Welsh rabbit hole? Does he keep the pressure on both Porter and Rory Best or ease off? Does he communicate through an intermediary, “what’s going on Andrew?”

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