World Rugby

Ireland Looks To Keep Proud Home Record Alive As Wales Come To Dublin

Ireland Looks To Keep Proud Home Record Alive As Wales Come To Dublin

Andy Farrell's Ireland will host Warren Gatland's Wales in the 2024 Guinness Six Nations Championship at the Aviva Stadium in Dublin.

Feb 24, 2024 by Philip Bendon
Ireland Looks To Keep Proud Home Record Alive As Wales Come To Dublin

Ireland will put its unbeaten record on the line Saturday and host an improving Welsh side in Dublin.

Andy Farrell’s team has been impervious through the opening two rounds, securing bonus-point victories over France and Italy to sit with a perfect 10 log points.

Dismissing France in Marseille with relative ease, Ireland put to rest any notions of a Rugby World Cup hangover and backed this up a week later by holding Italy scoreless.

On the other side of the fence, Warren Gatland’s young Welsh side has lost its opening two fixtures by a combined three points in what has been a promising campaign to date. 

Of course, Gatland and his charges would have liked to close out their comeback against Scotland and held onto their lead at Twickenham, but given the age profile of the team, the two performances showed glimpses of what the group could become.

Team News

Ireland has reverted back to the tactic that saw them home in Round 1 by naming a 6-2 split on the bench.

Recalling several veterans he opted to rest against Italy, Farrell has made a clear point of utilizing his squad depth in this year’s championship.

Starting with the back row, captain Peter O’Mahony returns to the starting lineup in the No. 6 shirt, which sees the uber-impressive Ryan Baird drop to the bench.

Joining O’Mahony will be Round 2's captain, Caelen Doris, who returns to the No. 8 shirt, and Josh van der Flier, who gets the nod at openside.

In the tight five, this season’s early favorite for player of the championship, Joe McCarthy, renews his partnership with Tadhg Beirne, as James Ryan drops to the bench. 

Spearheading the scrum, Leinster trio Andrew Porter, Dan Sheehan and Tadhg Furlong add another cap to their experienced combination.

Looking to capitalize on the work of the forwards, Jamison Gibson-Park returns to the starting lineup alongside Jack Crowley.

Outside the duo, Robbie Henshaw and Bundee Aki continue in the centers, with Garry Ringrose still sidelined.

Roaming in the backfield, James Lowe and Calvin Nash are joined by Ciaran Frawley, who will make his first start for Ireland in the No. 15 shirt.

Opting for consistency, Gatland has made just one change to his starting XV for the trip to Dublin. He replaces Ioan Lloyd with his Scarlets teammate Sam Costelow at fly-half.

On the bench, there are two changes, with uncapped Cardiff No. 8 Mackenzie Mann preferred to Taine Basham, while Harlequins prop Dillon Lewis comes in for the injured Archie Griffin.

Word From The Camps

Andy Farrell was keen to praise his new fullback, Ciaran Frawley, ahead of his first start in the green shirt.

“Frawley has trained with us a lot and started the training camp in Portugal at fullback, so it is very natural for him to fill that position, and he deserves his chance," Farrell said. "It will be a test of his temperament. It is always going to be a scrap. It means a little bit more to them to play us; we are aware of that."

Gatland, on the other hand, continued to build up his team ahead of what surely will be its toughest test to date.

"We've had two defeats, but we could have had two close wins as well," Gatland said. "That's where we are as a team. We're aware we've got a huge amount of growth in us. Ireland are a settled team, they are world-class, and it's a big challenge for us. We're excited for it.

"They are comfortable when they have got the ball, and they have got the ability to keep it for multiple phases. That really stresses you. That is when they are incredibly dangerous. They have got some key individuals, and we have got to unsettle them."


As ever, the numbers simply don’t lie, and ahead of this weekend’s clash, they clearly show two teams at different points in their development.

Outside of their agonizing four-point World Cup loss, Ireland has been impervious, winning 19 of its last 20 fixtures.

At home, the Irish have proven to be nigh on unbeatable, with only France leaving Dublin with a victory behind closed doors during COVID-19.

In terms of experience, Ireland is far and away ahead of this Welsh side, even taking into account youngsters such as Jack Crowley, Calvin Nash, Joe McCarthy and Frawley. 

Heading into the weekend, the Irish team members have 608 test caps between them, while Wales has 499, of which George North accounts for 113.

Across the board, Ireland is better in every department, and though Wales always is a tough nut to crack under Gatland, the reality of the situation is that this should be a no-contest.

Of course, Wales will show up, but that will not be enough in Dublin at the moment. 

During his previous stint in charge, Gatland had a golden generation of world-beating talent who were a match for any side in World Rugby. This squad has shown promise, but it is too early to tell which players will go on to have sustained success.

Ireland, on the flipside, feels like a team at the midpoint of its journey under Farrell, resembling the All Blacks of 2008-2011. They are building and have learned from that fateful evening in Paris.

Prediction: Ireland by 20+

Team Lineups


Ciarán Frawley; Calvin Nash, Robbie Henshaw, Bundee Aki, James Lowe; Jack Crowley, Jamison Gibson-Park; Andrew Porter, Dan Sheehan, Tadhg Furlong; Joe McCarthy, Tadhg Beirne; Peter O'Mahony (capt), Josh van der Flier, Caelan Doris

Replacements: Rónan Kelleher, Cian Healy, Oli Jager, James Ryan, Ryan Baird, Jack Conan, Conor Murray, Stuart McCloskey


Cameron Winnett; Josh Adams, George North, Nick Tompkins, Rio Dyer; Sam Costelow, Tomos Williams; Gareth Thomas, Elliot Dee, Keiron Assiratti; Dafydd Jenkins, Adam Beard; Alex Mann, Tommy Reffell, Aaron Wainwright.

Replacements: Ryan Elias, Corey Domachowski, Dillon Lewis, Will Rowlands, Mackenzie Martin, Kieran Hardy, Ioan Llyod, Mason Grady.

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