Ken Owens relishing Dublin showdown with 'great' Rory Best

Wales hooker Ken Owens, left, knows Irish counterpart Rory Best well after touring New Zealand with the Lions. David Rogers/Getty Images

Hooker Ken Owens is looking forward to clashing with fellow British & Irish Lion Rory Best when Wales travel to face Ireland in Dublin on Saturday.

The experienced front-rowers will face off at the Aviva Stadium as the visitors bid to end their hosts' hopes of a Grand Slam -- but Owens has nothing but respect for his opposite number.

Owens, who accompanied Best on the 2017 Lions tour of New Zealand, said: "I've played against Rory a lot over the years, and he is a quality player.

"He has won a lot of Test caps, he's played more than 200 times for Ulster and he's been a mainstay of the Irish pack as a quality operator.

"It's always a tough game playing against him because he is that good. He deserves praise for his durability, and he has adapted to stay at the top of the game for so long.

"It is a huge credit to him, and we've always got on well and had that mutual respect even before the Lions tour.

"On the tour, seeing how he conducted himself and led that midweek team in the last couple of weeks showed what a player he is. He's a great player."

On the familiarity between the two sides, Owens added: "There is a mutual respect.

"You do have a bit of fun and banter, but the intensity of Test match rugby does not allow you to always get your words out as you would like. You concentrate on your own job and responsibilities without winding each other up."