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  • Date: Saturday February 24, 14:15 GMT
  • Location: Aviva Stadium, Dublin
  • Teams: Ireland vs Wales

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Ireland host Wales in Dublin

Ireland take on Wales at the Aviva Stadium as Andy Farrell’s side look to strengthen their grip on the Six Nations title. They are bidding to become to the first team in the Six Nations era to win back-to-back Grand Slams. Wales may have lost twice, however, both times it was by two points or less. Their title chances are not mathematically over, though coach Warren Gatland has conceded that it is extremly unlikely. Nevertheless there have been positives for the Welsh as they look to upset the odds on Saturday.


Like many of their rivals, this represents something of a transitional period for Ireland. However, after a superb start to the championship against France, and Ireland side which has undergone a few changes since last year’s victorious campaign appear to have bounced back from a disappointing World Cup. A fantastic win against France in the first match was followed up by a convincing victory over Italy. Farrell’s men are on a national record run of 17 successive wins in home Test matches. They are bidding to become only the second nation, after England, to win 11 consecutive games in the history of this championship, under the three formats of Home, Five and Six Nations.

The Irish make seven changes, after taking advantage of their remarkable strength in depth by shuffling the pack against Italy in order to rest several key men.

After two previous appearances off the bench, Ciaran Frawley makes a first Test start, coming in for injured full-back Hugo Keenan.

Captain Peter O’Mahony, prop Tadhg Furlong and centre Bundee Aki come back in after injuries, while lock Tadhg Beirne, scrum-half Jamison Gibson-Park and flanker Josh van der Flier also return.

Uncapped prop Oli Jager is among the replacements. Garry Ringrose is still unavialable.

Ireland: 15-Frawley, 14-Nash, 13-Henshaw, 12-Aki, 11-Lowe, 10- Crowley, 9-Gibson-Park; 1-Porter, 2-Sheehan, 3-Furlong, 4-McCarthy, 5-Beirne, 6-O’Mahony (capt), 7-Van der Flier, 8-Doris.

Replacements: 16-Kelleher, 17-Healy, 18-Jager, 19-Ryan, 20-Baird, 21-Conan, 22-Murray, 23-McCloskey


Wales too are in something of a transitional phase, embarking on a new era under Gatland, with a youthful squad and an untested captain in Dafydd Jenkins. Despite bidding farewell to some seasoned campaigners, Wales are optimistic about their new era, however, they have some work to do before they can be confident of consistently challenging the likes of France and Ireland. 

The first match of the campaign saw a poor first half against Scotland, a rousing comeback in the second period and, ultimately, defeat. They then faced England, where despite many positives for the Welsh, they again came away with a narrow loss. They now travel to face Ireland who, so far, appear to be a class above the other sides in the tournament. Therefore, despite all of the positives generated by a young and exciting squad under the guidance of an experienced and successful coach, Wales could be looking at three defeats on the spin to start the tournament.

Wales have only made one change to the starting XV who lost to England. Fly-half Sam Costelow comes in, replacing his Scarelets team-mate Ioan Lloyd. There are two changes on the bench with uncapped number eight Mackenzie Mann and prop Dylan Lewis coming in for Taine Basham and Archie Griffin. It is an inexperienced Welsh squad, with seven starters and five of the repacements involved in their first Six Nations match in Dublin.

Wales: 15-Winnett, 14-Adams, 13-North, 12-Tompkins, 11-Dyer, 10-Costelow, 9-T. Williams; 1-G. Thomas, 2-Dee, 3-Assiratti, 4-Jenkins (capt), 5-Beard, 6-Mann, 7-Reffell, 8-Wainwright

Replacements: 16-Elias, 17-Domachowski, 18-Lewis, 19-Rowlands, 20-Martin, 21-Hardy, 22-Lloyd, 23-Grady


Both teams go into the championship without some experienced campaigners and both are in something of a transitional phase. However, Ireland have a huge amount of quality and appear to have found another winning formula. Wales look hugely promising, however, they are work in progress. Ireland look very much a team for today. Ireland to win.

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Chris is a former athlete and a qualified PE teacher. He is a keen football fan, watching many matches at different levels throughout the season, and enjoys following many different sports. With betting and sports sites, he has a keen eye for detail and can to highlight positives and negatives for users. His experience in sport as a performer, teacher, writer and fan allows him to see things from many different perspectives. Editorial Promise