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Tuesday 31 January 2023 Dublin: 8°C
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# expert view
FAQ: Who'll win in Wellington on Saturday?
The talking heads have all come out of the woodwork in advance of Saturday’s showdown. But who are they tipping to prevail?

MAKE NO MISTAKE, Saturday’s World Cup quarter-final between Ireland and Wales is going to be tighter than [insert your own questionable analogy here].

Under normal circumstances, we’d at least attempt to make some sort of reasoned prediction about the game’s likely outcome, but we’re steering well clear of that this time around. It’s much too dangerous.

Instead, we give you the thoughts and opinions of some of the game’s respected talking heads. With our apologies for the cop-outs (we’re looking at you, Simon Easterby), here’s what they had to say.

If Wales carry on playing the way they are, I’m going to back them against the Irish. I like the way they combine, while Ireland are still a bit disjointed.

Josh Kronfield, former All-Black.

It is just too tight to call and will come down to the day. They are all going to want it the same amount, but it is going to be about who is accurate and smart.

Simon Easterby, former Irish international.

Wales look a complete team but I think that Ireland will prevail.

Bob Dwyer, World Cup winning coach with Australia in 1991.

I think Brian O’Driscoll put it accurately when he said that whoever turns up on the day and plays their best game is going to win. It really is that sort of cup final effect. This is it for both sides.

Mike Ruddock, former Wales coach and current Ireland U20 coach.

Ireland have got a team that can knock over anyone on that side of the draw. No team can be confident playing against Ireland at the moment and say: ‘We’ve got a genuine chance of beating them.’

Nick Mallett, Italy coach.

I’ve never experienced anything like the confidence and belief in the Irish team and I see them shading it over the Welsh.

– Trevor Brennan, former Irish international.

Ireland have really stepped up and brilliant is the only word to describe them. Wales have also made a mark; they nearly beat us in the opening group game and any side that puts 66 points on Fiji commands respect. If I had to make a choice for the final, it would be Ireland.

Jannie du Plessis, South African prop.

Of course I feel patriotic and I think we can do it this year.

Sara Manchipp, Miss Wales 2011.

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