Ireland women’s coach Philip Doyle knows his team face a massive step-up in class when they take on Wales in Ashbourne tonight (7.30pm).

The Six Nations champions got their title defence off to the perfect start last week, running in 11 tries in a 59-0 win over Scotland.

Last season, Ireland edged a close encounter, 12-10, in Wales and Doyle is aware that the visitors pose a bigger threat than the Scots.

With all due respect to Scotland, Wales are a completely different prospect,” Doyle told RTÉ Sport.

“They really do pack a big punch up front and their breakdown [play] is exceptional and extremely physical.

“The Scots didn’t challenge us at all [at the breakdown] and when Wales come in that is where they are strongest, their counter-ruck and their defensive ruck is exceptional.”

Wales were actually beaten at home last week by Italy, 12-11, and France overcame England 18-6 in Stade des Alpes.

Those results have served as a reminder that no team in the competition can be taken lightly.

“It’s been an outstanding first week, very exciting and it’s blown it wide open already and I do not want to be a casualty on week two, so it’s important for us to get a good start against Wales,” added Doyle. 

Live video streaming of the Women’s Six Nations meeting of Ireland and Wales on Friday 7 February on RTÉ.ie and Live radio coverage on Game On from 19:00 on RTÉ 2fm and RTÉ.ie (Worldwide).