Guinness Six Nations Player of the Match CJ Stander hailed Ireland’s second successive win as an outstanding team effort, after the 2018 Grand Slam Champions impressively swept past Wales 24-14 in Dublin.
Andy Farrell’s men battled past Scotland 19-12 in their opening round fixture but were much more at the races against the defending Grand Slam champions, Jordan Larmour and Tadhg Furlong tries either side of Tomos Williams’ score handing the hosts a 12-7 half-time advantage.
Josh van der Flier and Andrew Conway went over to earn the bonus point before Justin Tipuric’s consolation, as Wayne Pivac tasted defeat for the first time at the Wales helm.
Just as last week, Stander was at the centre of the action for the full 80 minutes, winning a match-high three turnovers while also contributing 12 tackles and nine carries.
But despite his impressive solo display, the 29-year-old insisted he was buoyed by the performance of the whole team as they took a big step towards their ultimate target of reclaiming the Guinness Six Nations crown.
“It’s great that a few things have started working for us,” he said. “We put some really good phases together and the boys really stood up for one another.
“We were all playing for each other, our families, our coaches and the crowd. We wanted to play a little bit more and get the ball a bit wider and score a few tries. We did that today which is really pleasing.
“We gave ourselves a chance by getting over the line last week and credit to the rest of the team because we were a lot closer to what we expect this time out.”
Ireland return to Championship action away at Rugby World Cup runners-up England in two weeks’ time, aiming to build on their title aspirations with a performance reminiscent of that against Wales.
And while Stander expects a tough battle at Twickenham, the Munster stalwart is confident he and his teammates can take their strong home form on their travels.
He said: “We’ve loved playing at the Aviva Stadium over the last two weeks but now we’re going away, so we have to make sure we pack up the good things and take them into our next game.
“There are still things to work on. We’re a bit disappointed to concede the try at the end today but we’ll work hard to fix that ahead of our next game against England.
“We all know the Guinness Six Nations is incredibly tough. You have to try to win all of your games and just take it week by week, which is what we’re doing.”