Six Nations 2017: Why 50-cap Justin Tipuric is not a song and dance man

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Six Nations 2017: Justin Tipuric on winning 50 Wales caps
Six Nations: Wales v Ireland
Venue: Principality Stadium, Cardiff Date: Friday, 10 March Kick-off: 20:05 GMT
Coverage: Live on BBC One Wales & S4C, BBC Radio Wales, BBC Radio Cymru & BBC Sport website and BBC Sport app, plus live text commentary.

Wales flanker Justin Tipuric admits he is apprehensive before Friday's Six Nations match with Ireland in Cardiff.

Not because he fears Joe Schmidt's side or the public fury Wales might face if they lose a third consecutive game - but because he has to sing a song afterwards.

Tipuric becomes the 42nd Wales player to make 50 appearances on Friday - a feat that requires not only that you play a game of rugby but also belt-out a favourite tune in front of your team-mates afterwards.

"I'm going to try and run off and not sing, that's my plan," said the 27-year-old Osprey.

"I've got a dreadful voice and there's only one song I really know and that's My Girl from the Temptations.

"And I only know that from when I was with Trebanos Youth - that was the song I had to sing when we were on tour so unfortunately I'm going to have to sing that."

Justin Tipuric and Sam Warburton
Justin Tipuric (left) and Sam Warburton have started every game for Wale sin the 2017 Six Nations

Me and Sam Warburton

It's a testimony to Wales' back-row talents and the modern trend for second-half replacements that this Wales team has two open-side flankers of a similar age each with more than a half century of appearances to their name.

When he takes the field under the closed roof in Cardiff on Friday it will be Tipuric's 24th start - the other 26 appearances coming as understudy to long-time skipper Sam Warburton.

His career is likely to be as defined by the fateful overlap with the 2013 British and Irish Lions captain as it is for the superb running and ball-handling skills Tipuric brings to the party and earned him one Test appearance on that tour.

Tipuric has finally made the open-side spot his own in this tournament with now former captain impressing in the number six shirt.

And there is not a hint of bitterness as he describes the experience of spending so much time on the bench.

"Never give up is the one thing you take from it," he says.

"It's always tough bring on the bench, it's a hard thing to do to come off the bench and try and add something to the game is tough.

"The back-row competition is great and fair-do to Sam and Ross [Moriarty] everyone is going well about their business."

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We'll be battered and bruised

Tipuric expects Ireland to be a serious challenge to Welsh hopes of redeeming a difficult campaign.

"They are a great team," he says.

"There's not many teams that have beaten the All Blacks and they have done that.

"They are big, they're hairy and they're strong and especially their back row and it's going to be a tough test.

"So we know what to expect and we'll be battered and bruised after playing against Ireland."

Pressure on Wales

There could be easier matches to earn your 50th cap, but Tipuric is relishing the Irish challenge after the disappointing losses to England and Scotland.

"Nobody likes losing in life and in general and if you're playing for your country it is tough," he said.

"As passionate as we are and the fans are, you just want to get back out there straight away and get stuck-in really.

"And maybe we can have that bit of composure and that bit of detail that will go a long way to help us win the game."

Robert Jones in action for Wales against England in 1995
Robert Jones - currently the most-capped Wales player from Trebanos

Personal ambition

So apart from beating Ireland and avoiding singing a song, what are Tipuric's ambitions?

Well, becoming the most-capped player from his home village in the Swansea Valley is one.

Tipuric will be the second player from Trebanos to pass the 50 cap mark, following Lions scrum-half Robert Jones who made 54 Wales appearances.

The village also produced 1988 Triple Crown captain Bleddyn Bowen and former England fast bowler Greg Thomas but it's Jones that Tipuric has in his sights.

"How many has he got? I've got to try and overtake him now and try and get one on him," he chuckled

"He's a good guy so it would be nice."

And it would be something to sing about in Trebanos rugby club after the game.

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