It may have been dogging the Ireland camp during the build-up to the win over Scotland but Andy Farrell doesn't believe his team are too nice for their own good.

Former captain Brian O'Driscoll told RTÉ Sport ahead of the opening Guinness Six Nations game that he felt the team lacked a certain "nasty" streak.

When asked about those 'dog’ comments last week, captain Johnny Sexton said that he knew where his former Leinster team-mate was coming from but Farrell demurred.

"I don't [think they are too nice], actually," he told reporters ahead of Saturday’s game (2:15pm) against Wales, who recorded a bonus-point win over Italy.

"There was plenty said about CJ Stander as well last week and he gave a man-of-the-match performance.

"There's plenty of dog in him. He was part of that team that [they said] there was no dog in.

"I saw some good reactions from people. Sometimes they were rightly upset with losing a few collisions, then we saw a reaction.

"Devin Toner smashed a few when he came on, which was great.

"We had a tighthead prop in the 96th minute or whatever smashing people back off our line. That was ferocious.

"We got some nice carries that got us over the gain-line but Scotland put in two-man hits, hitting us back and fair play to them for doing that.

"But, sometimes, within the game we reverted back to type a little bit where we tried to solve problems on our own.

"That probably had a bit of a knock-on effect with our continuity and our flow, we got a little bit clunky at times because of that.

"There's a few things that we need to fix up there to make sure our game flows better."

Ireland endured a miserable 2019 that included deflating defeats to England (2), Wales, Japan and New Zealand.

Under the new coaching ticket, which also includes John Fogarty and Mike Catt, the modus operandi and atmosphere around camp has changed, according to the players, but that’s not to say the damage inflicted by the five losses has been fully repaired.

There were passages of play against Scotland when familiar failings seemed to surface and the team were lucky that Stuart Hogg somehow lost his concentration before fumbling the ball over the line.

Farrell, however, insists that lack of confidence is not an issue. 

"[Confidence] is actually great, believe it or not," he said. "It is actually great because what a position to be in. We've won our first game at home, some good and some fix-ups.

"I don't think people are giving Scotland the credit they deserve. I've not seen Scotland play like that for some time.

"They were ferocious in all sorts of contact within the game, I thought their set-piece was absolutely excellent.

"I don't think [Irish players’] egos are bruised. They can't wait to get back onto the field.

"Training [Tuesday] was quick, it was intense, it was ferocious. We had a few things to fix as well and we'll make sure we do that on Thursday.

"We're in a good place, we're brimming, ready for what we know is going to be a really, really tough game.

"We know that Wales are Grand Slam champions and semi-finalists at the World Cup. Rightly so, they're being talked up a great team. We know what's coming this week, we get excited by that as well."

The sides last met in a competitive game last March when Wales secured a Grand Slam with a one-sided 25-7 win.

Asked if he had noted a big difference with new coach Wayne Pivac in charge, Farrell said: "Well, you see two of the forwards sprint off to the width straight away, which says a lot of where they're trying to go.

"It's funny because you would think that you'd need to get your spacing right defensively to manage that width but therefore, they start playing through you.

"We've got to make sure that we win the contact area first, it's the same in any other game.

"I'm sure Wales are talking about the same scenarios. I thought the passing was really good as well.

"The quality of the passing was really good. I thought Nick Tompkins came on for his first game and he was whizzing the ball everywhere. Hopefully, they don't get that time and space against us at the weekend." 

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Follow Ireland v Wales (kick-off 2.15pm) on Saturday via our live blog on and the News Now app or listen live on RTÉ Radio 1's Saturday Sport. Highlights on Against the Head, Monday at 8pm on RTÉ2 and RTÉ Player.