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Ireland vs Wales in the Six Nations on February 5, 2022 - Odds & Prediction

Ireland vs Wales in the Six Nations on February 5, 2022 - Odds & Prediction

Ireland and Wales get the 2022 Six Nations underway when they clash in Dublin on Saturday afternoon, with the visitors looking to avoid a fifth straight loss at the Aviva Stadium.

Ireland come into this year’s Six Nations in excellent order, on the back of a strong Autumn series and are pushing France for favouritism at the head of the ante-post betting market.

Wales are the reigning Six Nations champions, but it looks a big ask to see them retain their crown this year with a lengthy injury list for coach Wayne Pivac to deal with.

Ireland will look to kick off their Six Nations campaign with a strong performance, and it could be a long afternoon for Welsh fans on Saturday.

  • Kindly note that all information in this preview, including whether or not the event will take place, is subject to change due to Covid-19.
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Ireland (-14 points)

Rugby in Ireland is thriving currently, with all four provinces reaching the Heineken Cup knockout stages for the first time, with some scintillating displays from Leinster and Munster in recent weeks, including huge wins over Bath and Wasps.

And Ireland coach Andy Farrell will be looking to transfer that domestic form to the international side as he looks to guide the Irish to their first Six Nations title since 2018.

Ireland lost to Wales in Cardiff last season, but these are two sides going in different directions currently, and the Welsh will arrive in Dublin with an injury-ravaged squad.

No team can afford to lose the class and experience of Alun Wyn Jones, Ken Owens, Justin Tipuric, and George North and Wales are as big as 6/1 to beat Ireland with bet365.

With stretched Welsh resources, a dominant Irish display looks to be on the cards, especially with an explosive backline set to feature Robert Baloucoune and Michael Lowry - take Ireland with Betfred to cover the handicap on Saturday.

Ireland Form, squad news, opinion

Ireland look like a well-balanced team with genuine world-class players in several positions.

Victory over the All Blacks in the Autumn series showcased that Ireland can take on the best in the world, and they’ll be aiming to keep that momentum going into the Six Nations.

Ireland look to overwhelm their opponents with their power and physicality, such as against the All Blacks, and they head into Saturday without the injury headaches afflicting some of their rivals.

Their pack looks rock-solid and will be strengthened by the return of Caelan Doris, who was injured last year, while Jonny Sexton and the centre pairing of Robbie Henshaw and Garry Ringrose bring rigidity to the backline.

Chuck into the mix the attacking threat of the electric Hugo Keenan, Robert Baloucoune, and Michael Lowry and Ireland are a match for anyone.

Wales Form, squad news, opinion

All the signs point to this being a problematic Six Nations for Wales, but the same was said last year also.

While you can never underestimate the men in red, it does appear that they are undergoing a process of transformation this year, and it would be a massive shock if they were to defend their Six Nations title.

Saturday’s clash with Ireland will be a good indicator of where Wales are at currently with injury concerns and an ageing back row, especially with the Irish looking extremely strong at the breakdown.

Dan Bigger is captain in the absence of Wyn Jones, and any team with a back three of Liam Williams, Josh Adams and Louis Rees-Zammit can score tries.

To score, though, you need the ball, and it’s up front that Wales are likely to struggle this season, starting against Ireland this weekend.

History

These sides first met in 1882 and since then have faced each other 132 times, with Wales notching up the most victories so far with 70. Ireland have been victorious on 55 occasions, with seven matches ending in a draw.

Ireland has been on top in recent years, winning four clashes in a row in 2019 and 2020 before the Welsh stopped the rot with a 21-16 victory in Cardiff in last year’s Six Nations.

Conclusion

With trips to Twickenham and Paris to come, Ireland know that they must win all their home matches if they’re to be in the mix for the Six Nations title this season.

Only three times in the history of the Six Nations has a team lost their first match and gone on to lift the trophy, and Ireland are expected to start strongly.

The Irish have lost just twice at the Aviva in the last five years, covering 28 matches, and they look set to continue that exemplary record with a comfortable victory over Wales on Saturday.

About the Venue

The Aviva Stadium was built on the former Lansdowne Road Stadium site and is the official home of the Irish Rugby Union and the Republic of Ireland football team.

With a capacity of 51,700, it was officially opened in 2010, and Ireland currently boasts a 74% win rate at home - winning 46 of the 62 international rugby matches they’ve played there.

With the lifting of COVID restrictions in Ireland, Wales fans can travel to Dublin for the match as long as they have proof of vaccination.

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