Ireland vs Wales Prediction: Tough day ahead for young Welsh side

 | February 24 | 

3 mins read

Alex Cox Rugby Union

After a weekend off, the 6 Nations return with a bang on Saturday afternoon (14:15) with Wales travelling to Dublin to face an ever-impressive Ireland time in sparkling form. Ireland have genuine Grand Slam ambitions whilst Wales are potentially looking at a wooden spoon playoff vs Italy in the final week of the Championships.

Ireland are in an extremely strong position after the first two rounds of the 6 Nations, sitting top of the table with 2 wins from their 2 games so far. In their last game, vs Italy a fortnight ago, they cruised to a 36-0 win, denying Italy any points at all with a superb defensive performance. Andy Farrell will be asking his time for another ruthless performance today, to take that momentum onto Twickenham when they face England next week.

Wales are currently win-less after 2 rounds, however only lost those games by a combined total of 3 points, meaning they have bagged a few losing points so far. Today they face a step up in competition and this inexperienced Welsh side will need to reach new heights to keep this game close.

Ireland vs Wales Tips

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Ireland made a number of changes vs Italy – evidence of the remarkable depth in Irish rugby currently – but have recalled some key players for this Test match vs Wales. Furlong returns to the front row this week and he will combine with Sheehan and Porter. McCarthy – one of the standouts of the Championships so far – will partner with Beirne in the second row, with Captain O’Mahony, Van der Flier and Doris completing the Irish pack.

In the back line, Gibson-Park reclaims the 9 jersey and the imposing Crowley will be at 10, as he continues to guide Ireland out of the Sexton era. Aki and Henshaw will be in the midfield this week with Lowe and Nash the continued first-choice wingers. However, Farrell has been forced into a reshuffle at full-back with an injury to Hugo Keenan keeping him out of this game. Frawley starts instead and whilst he is regarded as a fly-half, he has had some game time at 15 for Munster.

Wales have only needed to make one change to the XV that narrowly lost to England a fortnight ago, but sticks with the same pack. Thomas, Dee and Assiratti will be in the front-row and looking to provide a platform at scrum time, with Captain Jenkins partnering with Beard at Lock. The back row will be Cardiff youngster Mann, the expert jackler Reffell and Wainwright at no.8.

Tomos Williams fights off Hardy to keep the 9 jersey and he will partner up with Costelow– who returns this week after missing the England clash due to an injury. Tompkins and North continue in the midfield, with Dyer and Adams out on the wings. Youngster Winnett will be earning this 3rd Test cap from full-back.

Ireland -23.5 @ 10/11

Much has been talked about the Irish attacking patterns of play and whilst their short-passing game continues to impress, it is the defensive prowess Farrell’s side have displayed which leads me to believe Ireland will cover this minus handicap in Dublin.

Although Wales have kept games close vs Scotland and England, this is a bridge too far and I don’t believe they will be able to score enough points to stay competitive in this match. In my opinion the 18th consecutive home win is a formality, the question is just by how many points.

Ireland -23.5 vs Wales at 10-11

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