WARREN Gatland says Wales need to find a way to counter the brutal blueprint to beat them after being outmuscled by Ireland in similar fashion to England, writes Chris Kirwan.

The title hopes were dashed in Dublin after the Grand Slam chasing Irish ran in five tries to Wales' three in a Six Nations thriller.

The hosts' power told with their one-out carrying inside the 22 – after uncharacteristic Welsh indiscipline – leading to four scores, the other being an intercept to secure the win from the last play.

Wales are attempting to play a more expansive, high-tempo game but Gatland knows rivals want to get them in an arm-wrestle.

"There has been a template for teams to play against us in the last two weeks and it has been very direct in coming off nine and playing through lots of possession," said the head coach.

"We had 48 minutes ball-in-play time in England and in Ireland we were 32 minutes.

"It was a very stop-start game. We looked at the stats over the years when we have played Ireland and anything over 44 minutes we have won the games and anything 37 or below they have won the games.

"They have managed that and controlled the game well in terms of momentum. We saw the last 10 minutes, it was stop-start every time the whistle went, someone went down and it slowed down the tempo of the game.

"We have got to be able to adjust to that. We scored 27 points and quite conceivably we could have scored with the last play of the game.

"If Jacob Stockdale doesn't get the intercept, or we pass out the back, we potentially score there.

"The players afterwards felt comfortable with the ball and if we are accurate and we play through phases they felt they were capable of scoring against Ireland.

"We just didn't have enough territory or possession to exploit that and we need to keep improving on that area."

Gatland will now tinker with his side for the clash with Italy a week on Sunday with Dragons hooker Elliot Dee hoping for a first Test start after making five appearances off the bench.

Number eight Taulupe Faletau, wing/centre George North and fly-half Gareth Anscombe are also likely to be in the mix.

Gatland said: "We need to make some changes against Italy because we want to see where some of the squad is at this level. Can they handle international rugby?

"The focus changes a little bit, it is important we try and finish in that top three, but also start thinking long-term in terms of the development for World Cup."