Ireland may be on a high after victory over France last weekend but flanker David Wallace has warned against complacency ahead of his side's visit to Rome on Sunday.
The momentum-building win over the French at Croke Park has installed Ireland as the favourites to unseat RBS 6 Nations Grand Slam holders Wales, but Wallace is taking nothing for granted against underdogs Italy.
“I suppose we don’t want to mess up now, having got a great win,” said Wallace.
“We know what a big challenge it’s going to be this weekend going down to Rome and how physical they play the game. Every year they take a couple of scalps. We don’t want to be the ones this year.
“Having said that they have quality players in their team, they’ve huge experience as well in their pack in all the forward positions. It’s going to be a tough challenge.
“There is a sense that things are going well and that maybe we can accomplish something this year that we haven’t done for a very long time in Ireland. But there are so many hurdles to go before that. I know it’s a cliche but we have to take each game as it comes.”
Wallace is enjoying his best season for both Munster and Ireland and is strongly favoured to claim the British and Irish Lions number seven Test shirt for the tour to South Africa this summer.
However, the athletic wing forward had a quiet game by his own high standards against the French, outshone by try-scoring team-mate Jamie Heaslip.
“I was quiet in terms of attack and not getting my hands on the ball. Looking back there wasn’t a huge amount of chances or opportunities to get my hands on the ball,” he said.
“The French defended very well, but Jamie (Heaslip) was given a bit of room and made some of his own. You’ll never get all of the three back-row forwards getting a lot of ball in hand, but we were quite happy to see Jamie do what he did so well.”