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Rory Best: Ireland must improve to slay wounded Welsh dragon

RBS Six nations

By Jonathan Bradley

Bullish skipper Rory Best has demanded Ireland step up once again as they prepare to take on Wales in Cardiff next week.

Joe Schmidt's men claimed a crucial Six Nations win over France in the Aviva Stadium on Saturday night, with man-of-the-match Conor Murray claiming the only try in the 19-9 triumph.

With two championship wins under their belt, coming through against Wales next Friday would likely set up a titanic title showdown with England in Dublin eight days later.

And while Wales have stuttered through their own campaign, Best believes Ireland will need to be even better than they were when beating Les Bleus if they are to carry their hopes of a third title in four years into the last day.

"I think we approach it the way we do every game," said the 34-year-old. "We'll sit down and look at what we did well against France, and what we didn't do well.

"I'm sure Joe will pull some stuff out that we thought was alright and he thought we should do better.

"We'll look at Wales and see what we have to improve. You have to get better every week in this championship because the other teams will.

"We have to improve again. It'll be very tough but we've two weeks to prepare and we know that the preparation is key for us so we'll turn the page quickly and get at it."

More: Sexton proves again he is the perfect '10' in Ireland's victory over France

Inside centre Robbie Henshaw echoed his captain's sentiments, believing Wales will be hugely motivated after already losing to England and, on Saturday, Scotland in the Championship.

"I think they will be raring to go," said the Leinsterman.

"I don't think anyone wants to lose at home so they will obviously be coming out firing and we'll need to go over there, attack them and play smartly.

"We know they will be hungry and we know they always turn it around at home. We'll have to have our homework done and have to come out attacking them.

"It will be the first Friday night game as well so I'm really looking forward to it."

And while Henshaw's partnership with Garry Ringrose again looked well able for the Test arena against Les Blues on Saturday, he thinks they could be under even more intense scrutiny against Wales and their own midfield pairing of Scott Williams and Jonathan Davies.

"I think Scott Williams is playing good ball and obviously Jonathan Davies is a massive threat in defence and attack," Henshaw added. "He's a physical man and has a good range of passing and offloading skills.

"We'll have to be on our games because it will potentially be the trickiest test for myself and Garry, if we're playing, against them. The two play for Scarlets and they know each other well, so we'll have to be on our toes."

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