Stephen Ferris is not concerned by the return of Dan Lydiate to the Welsh fold and believes that Ireland travel to Cardiff as the heavy favourites in the Six Nations opener. 

Wales will welcome Ireland to the Principality Stadium on Sunday for a very different Six Nations clash, with no supporters present due to Covid-19 restrictions. 

Ireland will face a Wales side desperately short on form with only two wins, coming against Italy and Georgia, in their last eight games. 

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Head coach Wayne Pivac has recalled Dan Lydiate to the fold, hoping that his experience can help the struggling side. 

Lydiate (33) last played for Wales against Australia in 2018, and former Ireland international Ferris does not believe that he can offer anything that will trouble Andy Farrell's side on Sunday. 

Speaking on RTÉ's Game On, the former Ulster star said: "I'm not sure about Dan Lydiate to be honest, I think his best years are behind him and I wouldn’t have any bother saying that to his face. 

"He’s been an exceptional player for Wales and for the Lions over the years. Yes he does offer something different, but running around, diving at people’s feet will only get you so far. 

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"He’s not a particularly good ball carrier, he isn’t particularly good in the lineout, I haven’t seen enough of a work rate out of him when he’s been playing club rugby and he hasn’t worn an international jersey for a while.

"Maybe he’s going to offer something different that Wayne Pivac and his coaching team are looking at, I’m not so sure but I’ll be very interested to see if he starts. 

"If he does start, if I was CJ Stander or Will Connors or whoever’s going to start in the back row, I’d be licking my lips to be honest with you." 

Ireland beat Wales convincingly at the Aviva Stadium in November, running out 32-9 winners and with the benefits of home advantage now mostly gone, Ferris expects a similar result in Cardiff, not least because of the absence of Josh Adams. 

Adams is suspended for Wales' first two Six Nations games due to a breach of Covid-19 restrictions. He has also been released from head coach Pivac's training camp and Ferris believes that his loss will be keenly felt. 

"Ireland do go over to the Principality Stadium as favourites," he said. "I think that’s all because of Josh Adams who has breached the Covid-19 regulations and has therefore been left out for the next couple of weeks of the tournament. 

"We all know how good he was in the 2019 World Cup in Japan, scoring tries for fun, getting Wales to a semi-final so that’s a huge loss for them, he’s certainly the first name on the team-sheet. 

"Everything is starting to go in Ireland’s favour; Johnny Sexton after that little hamstring injury, the positivity around Paul O'Connell coming into the system. 

"It just seems like Ireland are in a better place than Wales and with no crowd and no atmosphere to feed off, I do fancy Ireland to get the result." 

Follow Wales v Ireland (kick-off 3pm) on Sunday via our live blog on RTE.ie and the News app or listen live on RTÉ Radio 1's Sunday Sport. Highlights on Against the Head, Monday at 8.10pm on RTÉ2 and RTÉ Player.

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