Wales v Ireland as it happened: Bonus-point Irish victory to begin Six Nations campaign

Victory at the Principality Stadium as Andy Farrell’s men make strong start


Hugo Keenan interviewed after the game: “We hadn’t won here in about 10 years, we’re just taking it one game at a time. There’s plenty in that second half to work on. Big game next week again.”

That’s all from me. Match report from Gerry Thornley and player ratings and talking point from John O’Sullivan to come shortly.


FULL-TIME: Ireland 34 Wales 10

Hansen just misses out on a try at the end but a bonus-point try in Cardiff. Brilliant in the first half, not quite so in the second, but dug deep and finished it out comfortably in the end. Keenan man of the match and a few big performances from the likes of Doris and Lowe.

Scoreline a bit harsh on Wales, wasn’t a 24-point game but Ireland’s defence was excellent.


75 mins: Hugo Keenan has been named player of the match. Lowe almost intercepts. Ireland win penalty in midfield as Williams comes back on.

Ireland 34 Wales 10


72 mins: TRY FOR IRELAND! Hansen offloads to Sheehan on the wing brilliantly after some good Irish play. Casey lays off to Henderson five metres away. Almost on the line. Some 13 phases. Casey to Josh Van der Flier under the posts! Fourth try, bonus point. Sexton converts.

Ireland 34 Wales 10


68 mins: Not been a good half for Ireland so far, lacking the intensity of the first half. Scrum is overwhelmed and Casey is hounded out and Wales turn over, win the penalty and kick for touch again. More good defending though from Ireland as they hold on. Sexton looks dazed and has been replaced by Ross Byrne.

Ireland 27 Wales 10


66 mins: Yellow card for Wales. TMO review check for a tackle by Williams on Sexton. Slightly high tackle, upright, looked a little harsh as there wasn’t excessive force but the new rules are strict. Sloppy pass by Lowe was almost intercepted by Dyer but he couldn’t hold it and it’s knocked on.

Ireland 27 Wales 10


65 mins: Dyer makes a lot of ground on the wing as Wales push again. Bundee Aki makes a great early contribution with good hussle to turn the ball over for a penalty. Soaking up a lot of pressure. Or not. A penalty given to Wales instead for an off-the-ball tackle for Aki. Very soft refereeing. Tadhg Beirne steals the lineout though importantly.

Ireland 27 Wales 10


62 mins: Sexton kicks for touch. Wales turn over straight after the lineout though, as Porter is penalised. Aki on for McCloskey.

Ireland 27 Wales 10


59 mins: Quite the improvement this half by Wales but only the one try to show for it. Several phases for Ireland without making much ground. They win penalty advantage on their 12th phase. Sheehan then gets the ball and accelerates like a winger with a grubber kick and it goes out of play.

Ireland 27 Wales 10


56 mins: Henderson comes on and immediately fouls Williams stupidly with a late tackle. Get away without the card. Sexton takes on a risky kick and Dyer intercepts on the other side. Frantic stuff as Ireland turn it over again.

Ireland 27 Wales 10


54 mins: Liam Williams with a brilliant run as he goes back four or five players, offloads to Tipuric but he overhits the pass to Dyer. Big let-off for Ireland.

Ireland 27 Wales 10


52 mins: Ireland turn it over, Caelan Doris again with powerful defending on Tipuric. Gatland is aggrieved. They win the scrum. Great scrum by Ireland and they kick to midfield.

Ireland 27 Wales 10


50 mins: Owens throws a crooked one, bad timing in a Welsh early onslaught to this half. Wales then concede a penalty in the scrum. Ireland lose the ball sloppily in midfield. Then Ireland concede another penalty after Keenan had taken the ball well. Another attacking lineout near the corner. Cardiff is hopping.

Ireland 27 Wales 10


46 mins: Try for Wales. Brighter start to this half by Wales. Several phases of pressure, North making some gains. Kick to the corner to apply more pressure. Owens pushes for the line, a few passes, comes to Williams. It’s held up and then a bit of a scrap after that try, referee talking to the players. Converted by Biggar. Then Porter gives away another penalty straight away resulting from that scrap.

Ireland 27 Wales 10


43 mins: Biggar smashed by Garry Ringrose, hard tackle. Referee says it’s good though. Keenan intercepts but Wales had penalty advantage on the middle of the pitch.

Ireland 27 Wales 3


HALF-TIME: Ireland 27 Wales 3

Dominant performance from Ireland, scintillating rugby at times. The pace and skill overwhelmed the home team. Farrell will be pleased, lots of great performances on the pitch. Wales certainly had chances to get at least one try, but some great defending by the likes of Keenan and Porter.

James Lowe was one of the stars of the half, here’s his try again after an interception.

Hard to see a way back for Wales from this, despite an improvement at the end of the half. Ireland will look for a fourth try and kill the game off completely.


40 mins: One last chance for Wales but the lineout is stolen by Ireland. Ireland win it back, Biggar does a chip and go and catches it but unable to get the try. Ireland kick it out and it’s half-time.

Ireland 27 Wales 3


37 mins: Better from Wales as they turn the ball over in the middle of the pitch, Keenan not releasing. Biggar kicks to touch for an attacking line-up, caught by Tipuric. Wales’ Jac Morgan denied the try by Porter, who brilliantly holds it up. Video referee checks, no try.

Ireland 27 Wales 3


33 mins: Great carry by Sheehan and Ireland were close to another try but Doris knocks the ball on. Slight break in play and breathe.

Ireland 27 Wales 3


30 mins: McCloskey with a nice step and makes ground, kick towards the corner is gathered by Wales and they win a penalty. Relief. They’re being battered.

Ireland 27 Wales 3


28 mins: Sexton scores penalty. The pace of Ireland’s play has blown Wales away, in fine fettle. Wales giving away some sloppy penalties, this time for Owens not moving away. Sexton opts for the posts this time and sticks it down the middle. Game over already within 30 minutes?

Ireland 27 Wales 3


25 mins: Another big moment for Ireland, more great play by James Lowe as Wales charge for the line but turn it over and win a penalty for not releasing when Wales were two on two on the outside.

Ireland 24 Wales 3


22 mins: TRY FOR IRELAND! James Lowe intercepts Biggar’s pass after a few phases in Ireland’s half. Lowe reads perfectly, there’s nobody in his way and he has the pace. Nobody can catch him and he puts it down! Sexton scores the conversion.

Ireland 24 Wales 3


19 mins: Good take by Keenan as he wins a penalty. Sexton kicks into touch. Ireland push on. Doris picks and goes, Wales nearly steal but knock on. Ireland have a scrum and win a penalty. Opt to take the points this time. Sexton scores from under the posts.

Ireland 17 Wales 3


14 mins: Keenan saves the day with an interception! Misplaced pass by Sexton, all of a sudden Dyer kicks forward and five-yard scrum to Wales. Ireland push back but it’s a penalty advantage for Wales. Scored by Dan Biggar in front of the posts.

Ireland 14 Wales 3


10 mins: TRY FOR IRELAND! Beirne gets treatment for injury but back up again. Ireland tap and go. Sheehan goes for the line, stopped but comes to James Ryan and he get low and puts it down. Sexton converts.

Ireland 14 Wales 0


8 mins: Ireland win penalty after Wales strayed offside. Good start by Lowe. Sexton kicks to touch, another attacking lineout won by Beirne. Ireland with an electric start to the game, overwhelming Wales. Keenan on the outside, Ireland up to five metres. A penalty to Ireland.

Ireland 7 Wales 0


2 mins: TRY FOR IRELAND! Early attacking lineout for Ireland. Porter charges through. Sexton reverse pass to Ryan, then Doris gets over. What a start!

Ireland 7 Wales 0


Check out for the new rugby rules in today’s game, including shot clocks. A faster game, more ball in play time and a better spectacle is the goal of the new regulations. Teams must be ready to form a scrum within 30 seconds of the mark being made by the referee, who may then punish any undue delay by awarding a freekick.


One of the main talking points before the game is how Wales will do with Warren Gatland back in charge. Matt Williams thinks it makes them a dangerous proposition again.

“Like a hermit prophet from the Old Testament, Warren Gatland has been summoned from the rugby wilderness to lead his adopted people out of the desert of defeat and back into the Promised Land that all Welsh people passionately believe is their birthright. Winning matches in the Six Nations.”


Ireland look well positioned to put a bit of order on recent Cardiff chaos, writes rugby correspondent Gerry Thornley in his preview to today’s game. A quick start will be vital for visitors as Warren Gatland’s Wales look to put troubled build-up behind them.


ICYMI, last night, Ireland’s final quarter purple patch saw Richie Murphy’s under 20s side get off to a winning start in Wales. Ireland owed their victory to the dominance of the pack and some brilliant individual performances.

The report is here:

Highlights here:


Team news:

Tadhg Furlong has been ruled out of Ireland’s opening game Wales of the 2023 Guinness Six Nations against Wales, meaning Finlay Bealham will start in his place with Tom O’Toole promoted to the bench. It will be Bealham’s first start in the Six Nations. As expected, Stuart McCloskey has retained his place at inside centre in the continuing absence of Robbie Henshaw. In a late change to the line-up, as mentioned, scrumhalf Conor Murray will play after Jamison Gibson-Park was ruled out with a hamstring injury. Cian Healy also pulled out through injury

Ireland: Hugo Keenan (Leinster); Mack Hansen (Connacht), Garry Ringrose (Leinster), Stuart McCloskey (Ulster), James Lowe (Leinster); Johnny Sexton (Leinster, capt), Conor Murray (Munster); Andrew Porter (Leinster), Dan Sheehan (Leinster), Finlay Bealham (Connacht); Tadhg Beirne (Munster), James Ryan (Leinster); Peter O’Mahony (Munster), Josh van der Flier (Leinster), Caelan Doris (Leinster).

Replacements: Rob Herring (Ulster), Dave Kilcoyne (Munster), Tom O’Toole (Ulster), Iain Henderson (Ulster), Jack Conan (Leinster), Craig Casey (Munster), Ross Byrne (Leinster), Bundee Aki (Connacht).

George North and Joe Hawkins form an intriguing midfield duo with Dan Biggar partnered by Tomos Williams at halfback.

Up front, Gatland has opted for experience with Ken Owens, Adam Beard, Alun Wyn Jones, Justin Tipuric and Toby Faletau all starting. Breakdown fetcher Jac Morgan also lines out at blindside flanker.

Wales: L Williams (Cardiff); J Adams (Cardiff), G North (Ospreys), J Hawkins (Ospreys), R Dyer (Dragons); D Biggar (Toulon), T Williams (Cardiff); G Thomas (Ospreys), K Owens (Scarlets, capt), T Francis (Ospreys); A Beard (Ospreys), A W Jones (Ospreys); J Morgan (Ospreys), J Tipuric (Ospreys), T Faletau (Cardiff).

Replacements: S Baldwin (Ospreys), R Carre (Cardiff), D Lewis (Cardiff), D Jenkins (Exeter), T Reffell (Leicester), R Webb (Ospreys), O Williams (Ospreys), A Cuthbert (Ospreys).


Hello and welcome to live coverage of the first game of the Six Nations, Ireland against Wales. The big news in the build-up today is the scrumhalf Jamison Gibson-Park has been ruled out through a hamstring injury. Conor Murray replaces him. The old Murray-Sexton partnership back once more. Gibson-Park’s pace at moving the ball will be missed. Ireland still remain favourites but worth remembering the last time they beat Wales away from home in the Six Nations was all the way back in 2013. Kick-off at the Principality Stadium is at 2.15pm.