Joe Schmidt insists Ireland must produce the perfect 80 minutes if they are going to stop Wales winning the Grand Slam on Super Saturday.
All eyes will be on Cardiff, where victory for Wales will sew up their first title since 2013 while an Ireland win brings both them and England into play.
Ireland have steadily rebuilt their campaign following an opening round defeat to England, with Sunday’s win against France their most commanding of the Championship so far.
But Schmidt insists they need to crank it up again if they are going to secure their first Championship win in Cardiff in six years.
“I can be satisfied with that first 40 minutes, probably 50 minutes, but I don’t think 50 minutes will win in Cardiff, full stop,” said Schmidt.
“The home ground get right behind the Welsh team there. You’ve got to put 80 minutes together in Cardiff and I think that’s a really good point.
“We have to extend that high performance period right through the game. It’s in the players’ hands, it’s their domain.
“My job is just trying to ensure that they feel they’re well prepared, that they feel they understand how Wales are going to turn up, that’s a tricky thing in itself in a slightly condensed week.”
Ireland faced an England side also chasing a Grand Slam in Round Five two years ago, so this is not an unfamiliar scenario for Schmidt and his men.
The New Zealander, who is set to take charge of his final Guinness Six Nations match at the helm of Ireland, has some interesting selection decisions, including at full-back – where Jordan Larmour will challenge Rob Kearney for the starting jersey after impressing against France.
Lock Tadhg Beirne is also fit and, after spending two seasons with Welsh region the Scarlets, could offer inside knowledge.
“I’ve spoken to the Welsh players about him, to be honest. I know he was a really important for the Scarlets when they won the Pro14,’ said Schmidt.
“Look, Tadhg was in the mix this week. He was pretty sore Thursday. But, our expectation is that he will be training fully on Tuesday and, if he is, he is another guy who will be back in the mix for this weekend.”