Six Nations: Ireland's clash with Wales is vital to their title hopes, says Dan Tuohy
Last Updated: 03/02/14 6:46pm
Tuohy in action against Scotland
Ireland second row Dan Tuohy believes their Six Nations clash with defending champions Wales on Saturday could be decisive for their hopes in the tournament.
Ireland overcame Scotland 28-6 in Dublin on Sunday in their opening clash of this year's tournament but the Ulster lock there will be "bigger steps" ahead.
And the year-old underlined the importance of backing up that victory by beating Wales after falling away in last season's tournament following their opening win over the Welsh.
"That [beating Wales] would set us up nicely for the triple crown away to England!" Tuohy joked. "But Wales at home, England away, France away, we saw France-England and it was unbelievable.
"There are a few tough ones coming up but we feel these are teams we can mix with, so we're looking forward to it. Wales will be a different kettle of fish, they've had a bit of a 'feeler' game against Italy.
"We won the first game last year and we all know how that ended up, so it's important for us to back up the first week, become a consistent international team, that's what we've talked about.
"The six-day turnaround isn't ideal but we just have to get on with it and roll our sleeves up. Wales are going for the hat-trick, they've got Lions all over the park, so it will be notched up another level."
"The six-day turnaround isn't ideal but we just have to get on with it and roll our sleeves up. Wales are going for the hat-trick, they've got Lions all over the park, so it will be notched up another level.
"It's important for us to match that physicality and intensity, and then try to go beyond it."
Tuohy replaced captain Paul O'Connell at the last minute on Sunday but the Munster talisman set to be fit for Wales' visit to Dublin.
Tuohy has also helped Ulster register their first 100 per cent record in a Heineken Cup pool stage this season.
With Leinster and Munster's decorated European past to boot, Tuohy admitted Ireland have shared fans' frustration in the ability to transfer club success to the international arena.
"I still think there are bigger steps to come (than Scotland)," he said. "I think it's always been frustrating from a fan's point of view that the provincial sides are doing so well but then we've struggled to get consistency with Ireland.
"People were wondering why if it goes so well with the provinces why can't they do it for Ireland.
"That's something we're extremely mindful of, and to be a consistent team is tough, but the more time you spend together you get to know each other a little bit better."
Tuohy is wary of the threat posed by Warren Gatland's Wales team, adding: "As soon as they put that red jersey on they turn into a different beast. They really do lift the intensity when they're playing for Wales.
"They are lit up with Lions, coming off a great tour, they'll be high on confidence. But it's important for us to stick to what we know, and what we know works for us."