Guinness Six Nations 2023 Rugby Coverage

Dominant Ireland Thump Wales In 2023 Guinness Six Nations Opener

Dominant Ireland Thump Wales In 2023 Guinness Six Nations Opener

Ireland opened their 2023 Guinness Six Nations campaign with a dominant 34 - 10 win over Wales in Cardiff.

Feb 4, 2023
Dominant Ireland Thump Wales In 2023 Guinness Six Nations Opener

World number one ranked Ireland lived up to their billing as Championship favourites by thumping Wales 34 – 10 in Cardiff to open the 2023 Guinness Six Nations. 

Warren Gatland’s much-heralded return to Welsh Rugby fell flat in a stark reminder that this team are more than a quick fix away from being a Championship winning side. 

Ireland on the other hand were full of zip and zest in the first half as they raced into a 27 – 3 halftime lead. 

Tries to Caelen Doris, James Ryan and James Lowe saw Andy Farrell’s side just one try short of a bonus point heading into the second half. 

Coming out of the break, Wales upped the tempo following their team talk from Gatland which will no doubt make for interesting viewing in next year’s Netflix documentary.

Their efforts were rewarded when Liam Williams went over for a try that had the fans at the Principality Stadium out of their seats. 

From here it would be all Wales for the next 25 minutes as they hogged possession and camped in the Irish half. 

Despite possessing little to none of the ball, Ireland wouldn’t break as they repelled waves of Welsh pressure. 

In fact, Ireland would have the final say in the contest as they scored their bonus point try courtesy of World Player Of The Year Josh van der Flier. 

Having worked the ball downfield from their own half right to the Welsh line, Ireland struck with one of their few opportunities in the half. 

This score highlighted the major difference between the two sides at the moment.

Wales despite having double-digit chances at scoring just couldn’t break through. Whilst Ireland deserves praise for their tenacity, Wales simply scuppered themselves time and again. 

Conceding silly penalties, and lacking patience in attack leading to costly knock-ons ensured that a victory was well beyond them. 

Ireland on the other hand took just about every opportunity available to them whilst also showing a level of grit that is key to closing out tough Championship clashes. 

Although they were sublime with the ball in hand, Farrell and his coaching staff will be frustrated that they didn’t kick on entirely in the second half and score more points. 

Picking out the positives for the Welsh, their two young stars in centre Joe Hawkins and backrow Jac Morgan were two of their best players. 

Both players carried exceptionally well in the face of a hard-rushing Irish defence and looked the most likely duo to get over the try line on a number of occasions. 

As far as veteran players go, fullback Liam Williams was the only player to come out with his reputation enhanced as he played a part in just about every Welsh attack. 

For Ireland, the fixture was a reaffirmation that they now possess World Class talent in every position.

Given a number of front-line players, most notably Tadhg Furlong and Jamison Gibson-Park were absent through injury. The depth in this Irish squad it what truly separates them from previous Irish teams. 

Experienced scrumhalf Conor Murray had arguably his best performance since losing the starting role to Gibson-Park post the 2019 Rugby World Cup. 

Whilst Finlay Bealham was sublime in Furlong’s absence in what was a rare start for the Connacht Tighthead. 

Ireland now heads into next week’s fixture with France in Dublin buoyed by yet another victory where they were tested only to come out on top. 

Gatland if he didn’t know it already now faces the daunting task of heading to take on a red-hot Scottish side who are currently in the midst of an all-time classic battle with England.

Written by Philip Bendon