The Dragons expect to have the kitchen sink thrown at them in Dublin tomorrow and know emotions are running high in Ireland’s camp to settle a score with Warren Gatland for axing talisman O’Driscoll for the third Lions Test.
“We’re under no illusion how fired up Ireland will be,” said Wales’ 90-cap prop Adam Jones.
“They might talk down the whole O’Driscoll-Gatland issue, but Paul O’Connell will use have his team revved up to the eyeballs before the match.
“I doubt it will be O’Driscoll himself, but Paul will use whatever he can to stoke up his players.
“But the great thing about rugby is that you can spend 80 minutes knocking seven bells out of each other and then shake hands and go for a pint after the game.”
Wales and Ireland have develop a simmering rivalry in recent years, with both teams clinching historic Grand Slams against the other. There has also been controversy, when Mike Phillips scored a dodgy winning try with the wrong ball.
“We’ve probably been the best two teams from the home unions so we’re always trying to get one over on each other,” Jones said.
“We have got to know the Irish lads very well over recent years during Lions tours and in the Celtic league. It’s not like when we play England when the whole nation wants us to win, but it’s a strong sporting rivalry.”
Jones, 32, is already sporting eight stitches in head wound suffered in a collision with Alun Wyn Jones’ knee in training this week and may be forced to wear a scrum cap.
“That’s provided I can find one that will fit over my hair,” quipped Jones.
This weekend he packs down against Cian Healy, hailing the fellow Lion as the best loose-head in world rugby on current form.
And he knows he will have his hands full with the Leinster livewire.
“We shared a room in Hong Kong for a week and I’ve never known anyone drink so much coffee,” Jones added. “He would wake up at 7am and stay up until 3am. He may has well have had a caffeine line injected straight into him.
“It was terrible to see him injured during the Lions but he has come back even better.”