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Ireland were hot favourites to avenge their World Cup quarter-final loss at the Aviva Stadium as Wales crossed the Irish Sea without two of their Lions front-rowers and their first-choice lock pairing.
They were also without flanker Dan Lydiate, one of the standout stars of the World Cup, and the recently retired Shane Williams while centre Roberts and fly-half Rhys Priestland only just passed late fitness tests.
But even with the spine of their team either out or suffering, Wales were still able to sneak a titanic contest thanks to Leigh Halfpenny’s last-gasp penalty.
And it is that new found strength in depth which Owen believes makes Wales the team to beat in the 2012 Championship.
“I think Wales have got to be the favourites now,” said Owen who won 41 caps for Wales.
“I would have backed Ireland at the start of the tournament but with three home games Wales will be hard to beat.
“I think it all comes down to the belief the coach shows in the side.
“In the past people have been a bit guilty of thinking ‘some guys are out so we are going to struggle.
“But now the second and third choices are just as good as the front line players.
“I am not sure what exactly is going on in the camp but they are playing really well. If they’re doing that, it’s all credit to the coaches.
“Wales keep hold of the ball and they’ve got players that are going to win them matches, such as George North.
“I would love to see the statistics on how many touches he had on Sunday. It may only have been six or seven but every one was devastating.
“Alex Cuthbert had an encouraging debut too, I don’t know why he was taken off at half-time. To have two such big wings must be pretty intimidating.”
Wales’ impressive back-row unit from the World Cup of Toby Faletau, Sam Warburton and Lydiate is set to be reunited against Scotland at the Millennium Stadium on Sunday with the latter due to return from injury.
And while Owen is relishing seeing the trio back in action, he is adamant a place has to be found for the versatile Ryan Jones following his impressive outing in Dublin.
He added: “Over the past couple of years Ryan has played as well as ever but some people expect too much.
“I have seen him play for the Ospreys this season and every time he has been excellent.
“He can play in the second row if Dan Lydiate comes back so Wales won’t miss out.
“Toby wasn’t amazing against Ireland but he is always someone who can make something happen.
“He was always the first at the breakdown and tackles really hard as well.
“After the World Cup and against Australia he was a bit disappointing but he’s got so much natural ability, it’s a case of just looking after him – he’s doesn’t take too much coaching.”