Ireland v Wales: Six Nations 2024 – live | Six Nations 2024

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Key events

It’s a beautiful day in Dublin as the teams emerge from the tunnel, captains Jenkins and O’Mahony representing opposite bookends of the long shelf of experience.

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Officials

For those interested, these are the officials for the match, including the first ever Italian to referee a men’s Six Nations tie

Referee: Andrea Piardi (FIR)
Assistant Referee 1: Karl Dickson (RFU)
Assistant Referee 2: Gianluca Gnecchi (FIR)
TMO: Eric Gauzins (FFR)

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Pre match reading

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Are there any Wales fans out there who believe there’s a chance of victory? Put down your mind-altering substances and tell me about it via email or on the X

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Teams

Hugo Keenan, an ever-present during Ireland’s recent imperial phase, is injured and Andy Farrell has opted for Leinster’s Ciaran Frawley to replace him. All the other changes from the home side are the big guns returning after the dismantling of Italy – Bundee Aki, Jamison Gibson-Park, Tadhgs Beirne & Furlong, Josh Van Der Flier, and Peter O’Mahony who is also restored as captain.

Wales make one change to the starting line-up, with fly-half Sam Costelow replacing Ioan Lloyd at 10.

The bench has two swaps. Cardiff’s Mackenzie Martin is in to win his first cap, while the experience of Harlequins prop Dillon Lewis returns.

IRELAND Ciaran 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 16 Ronan Kelleher, 17 Cian Healy, 18 Oli Jager, 19 James Ryan, 20 Ryan Baird, 21 Jack Conan, 22 Conor Murray, 23 Stuart McCloskey.

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

Replacements 16 Ryan Elias, 17 Corey Domachowski, 18 Dillon Lewis, 19 Will Rowlands, 20 Mackenzie Martin, 21 Keiran Hardy, 22 Ioan Lloyd, 23 Mason Grady.

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Preamble

There is a spurious idea, mostly peddled by people not from said countries, that a celtic fraternity exists between the nations of these islands that are not England. Never has this notion been more wrong than when it comes to Wales and Ireland in rugby. Entire sections of what used to be called Twitter are dedicated to the wind-up during #IrelandWeek, as the scorn is chucked about with what mostly feels like something falling short of disdain, but it’s hard to be sure.

There is some history to this: Warren Gatland’s time in Ireland, Ronan O’Gara’s drop goal, Mike Phillips in the corner, and Ronan O’Gara’s drop goal: the return to pick a few. Add to this the regular contact of players and fans in the Pro12/14, now United Rugby Championship – a domestic league situation akin to asymmetric warfare in Ireland’s favour for a decade.

The international scene has been similar, with Wales winning only two of the previous eight encounters, the last coming in the 2021 Covid Six Nations and Ireland won handily in the two matches since.

It’s not an exaggeration to state that absolutely no one believes Wales will win today. Their team is denuded by retirements, injuries and the NFL and what is left low on experience even at club level. Facing then a green threshing machine with all its major parts restored, has approximately 1.27m caps, and has lost only one match since July 2022.

This could be about as asymmetric as a result gets.

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