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Wales star Thomas feeling the heat ahead of Ireland clash

Jonathan Thomas admits Wales have endured an “incredibly frustrating” RBS Six Nations campaign ahead of tomorrow's salvage operation against Ireland in Dublin.

If Wales wreck Irish Triple Crown ambitions at Croke Park, they will have a fighting chance of finishing second in this season's tournament.

Lose to the reigning Six Nations champions though and Wales will find themselves in the wooden spoon mix next weekend when annual strugglers Italy visit Cardiff.

And those possible scenarios with two games left accurately reflect Wales' rollercoaster Six Nations.

After trailing England 20-3 and title favourites France 20-0, Wales threatened spectacular fightbacks in both Tests before ultimately falling short, although they did stage a blockbusting late show to beat Scotland.

“International rugby is about winning,” said Ospreys flanker Thomas, who wins his 54th cap in a Wales back-row shorn of injured skipper Ryan Jones.

“We know we are under-achieving. We are better than the table shows, and we should have beaten France and England.

“It is up to us to sort it out. It is easier to take when you lose to a side that is better than you.

“It has been incredibly frustrating because we could have won the first three games. We know we can turn it on and play good rugby against any side in the world. If we play a bit smarter, we will be in charge of our own destiny.

“We are not far away from being a top team.

“France had a great defensive record and they are an incredibly physical side who smashed Ireland at home, but we ran them ragged in the second-half and they were physically gone.”

Thomas is among seven survivors in the Wales starting line-up from Croke Park two years ago, when a 16-12 away victory secured Triple Crown glory.

“Ireland, in the last 10 years, have been a very consistent side. They are strong up-front and have world-class backs like (Brian) |O'Driscoll, (Gordon) D'Arcy and (Tommy) Bowe.

“They had a kick up the backside against France (Ireland lost 33-10) after winning the Grand Slam last year, and they responded in style by beating England,” he said.

“We know their players inside out and what to expect, but we are confident in ourselves and in our ability. It will be a great Test match.”

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