Shane Horgan is standing by his doubts over Joe Schmidt's selection of Tommy Bowe for tonight's Six Nations clash with Wales.

The 33-year-old Ulster winger has been called onto the replacements bench in place of his injured provincial colleague Andrew Trimble and Horgan said that choosing Bowe had been a "nostalgia call" based on his display against Scotland.

Schmidt forcefully dismissed that view, calling it an "external opinion that is purely opinion-based" but while Horgan accepts that the Ireland head coach may have been influenced by what he sees in training, the 65-cap international says the proof will be in the pudding if Bowe makes it onto the field in Cardiff.

"Tommy hasn't been playing that well. My comments were based around the Scotland game and they were not too far off the mark," Horgan told RTÉ Sport.

"Joe has been seeing him up close and personal every day over the last couple of weeks and he's right, my view is an external one.

"He's decided to pick him for this game and we'll see if he uses him how he goes."


Horgan is confident of an Irish victory that would set up a Six Nations title decider with England next week but cautions against optimistic predictions of securing a try bonus-point against a Wales team with a lot to prove.

"Ireland are playing well and have a lot to play for," he said. "They could be in a winner-takes-all situation against England in a week's time if this game goes well.

"But there are pressures that go along with that and the Welsh team are looking to achieve something themselves.

"They've already lost to England and Scotland, in a surprise result. To lose to Ireland at home, with the roof on and the amazing atmosphere that's going to be there, would cap a disastrous season for them so they will be playing with the passion you would expect.

"I'm more confident after the French game and the performance of Wales against Scotland. They were very disappointing in that second half.

""I think Ireland are too strong. Ireland's pack looks very strong and maybe has the edge on this Welsh team.

"The backlines look pretty even, Ireland maybe just having the edge, but that forward dominance might just win it out. I don't think there'll be bonus point in it though."

Live Six Nations coverage of Wales v Ireland on RTÉ Two and RTÉ Player from 7pm on Friday (KO 8.05pm), live radio commentary on RTÉ Radio 1 from 7.45pm and live blog on RTÉ.ie and the RTÉ News Now app.

Live coverage of Wales v Ireland (KO 11.30am) in the Women’s Six Nations on RTÉ Two and RTÉ Player from 11.15am on Saturday.

Live Six Nations coverage of Italy v France (KO 1.30pm) and England v Scotland (KO 4pm) on RTÉ Two and RTÉ Player from 1.20pm on Saturday.

Live coverage of Wales v Ireland in the Under-20 Six Nations on RTÉ Two from 6.15pm (KO 6.30pm) on Saturday.