Eire confirmed its Six Nations title credentials by blowing away defending champion Wales 29-7 at a full Lansdowne Street on Saturday.
These credentials are anticipated to obtain their sternest check of the championship subsequent Saturday in Paris, the place the Irish meet France, the final staff to beat them a yr in the past.
“It may be a hell of a check,” Eire captain Jonathan Sexton stated.
The Irish slayers of the All Blacks within the autumn hit the bottom operating with a Bundee Aki attempt within the third minute, and had the bonus-point fourth attempt after an hour.
Regardless of gentle rain, Eire’s pace and effectivity at rucks overwhelmed Wales and the passing and catching was elegant. Equally spectacular was the self-discipline; Eire did not concede a penalty till the second half.
There’s big optimism round Eire for its first title since 2018. Momentum and confidence borne from eight check wins in a row and all 4 Irish provinces reaching the European membership playoffs overpowered an undermanned Wales.
Eight senior Wales gamers are out injured, together with captain Alun Wyn Jones, and the second string could not breach a water-proof Eire protection. It took an Irish error within the seventy fifth minute for Wales to get on the board. Tadhg Beirne handed off the ground mistakenly to flanker Taine Basham to scoot to the close by posts for a transformed attempt.
“Strangled us, bodily dominated us,” Wales captain Dan Biggar stated of Eire. “It turned too tough for us to get on the entrance foot. We have to discover a bit extra of an edge.”
A dream Begin
Eire made a dream begin. Mack Hansen, arrived from Australia in the summertime and making his Eire debut, obtained a tipped cross and hared 50 meters down the left touchline. Eire forwards used lineout ball to pound the Welsh and shorten the protection, which Sexton observed. He and Hansen gave Aki an enormous overlap to attain untouched within the left nook.
Sexton transformed however then missed consecutive penalties right into a swirling breeze as Eire got here at Wales in waves.
Because the stress mounted, Wales wing Louis Rees-Zammit needed to scramble again twice to defuse Irish kicks to the in-goal.
Sexton lastly slotted a penalty for 10-0 after a one-sided first quarter.
When Wales ultimately touched the ball, it obtained transferring. Twice, Wales reached the Irish 22 solely to be repulsed: Hooker Ryan Elias was held up in a deal with by Beirne, and prop Wyn Jones was lined up in a ruck by Jack Conan.
However at halftime, Eire would have felt wanting factors and Wales glad to be in contact on the scoreboard.
The Irish stored to their processes, nonetheless, and 4 minutes later winger Andrew Conway was in. Taking a Sexton cross, Conway got here in and dropped to a knee. Wales backs Johnny McNicholl, Josh Adams and Liam Williams all hesitated, and Conway used that to rise up and in some way beat them to the suitable nook flag.
Sexton, studying the breeze, curved within the sideline conversion for 17-0.
Any pretense Wales had of a comeback to a primary aggressive win in Dublin in a decade ended within the 51st minute when Adams was sin-binned for main his shoulder into Sexton’s chest off the ball.
Eire was medical with the person benefit in scoring two extra tries. Sexton and the busy Hansen freed Conway for the primary and, galling for Adams, his reverse Garry Ringrose obtained the second. Prop Andrew Porter earned a turnover, and Hansen and Aki countered to launch Ringrose, who blew previous Liam Williams to attain.
Sexton did not convert however his job was satisfyingly executed with 1 / 4 to go.