Wales coach Warren Gatland has upped the ante ahead of the RBS 6 Nations showdown between Wales and Ireland on Saturday by suggesting that his players hate Ireland more than any other country.

The Kiwi - a former coach of Ireland - also believes the massive expectation on Declan Kidney's side will only add to the pressure on their shoulders.

"Probably, out of all the teams in the Six Nations, the Welsh players dislike the Irish the most," Gatland claimed on Tuesday.

"Players’ experiences against Ireland haven’t always been the greatest, so they are very motivated to play against them.

"It’s about winning the game first, win the Triple Crown, deny them the Grand Slam and then see what position we are in."

As for the expectation, Gatland is anxious to see how Kidney handles it and his players throughout the week.

"After the Scottish game, the Irish players were an hour-and-a-half in the changing room celebrating and singing, so they were clearly happy where they were at," he went on.

"It’s how they handle that pressure. There has been expectation on them over a number of years, and in a couple of World Cups as well.

"It will be interesting to see how Declan handles that, and how the players handle that this week. They’ve performed well in this Six Nations, but we’re at home with a massive crowd behind us.

"If you go back to the autumn, they [Ireland] were talking themselves up a lot before the All Blacks game - and they really performed poorly in that game.

"We’ve got to really concentrate on ourselves and put them under as much pressure as we can."

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