RugbyWelsh media reaction

‘Just like watching the All Blacks in their pomp’: Welsh media reacts to Ireland win

Welsh rugby ‘light years’ behind Irish rugby as there is special praise for ‘sensational’ Caelan Doris

Wales Online reports Wales were crushed by Ireland after a disastrous first half amid “errors, indiscipline and frail defence”.

“If Warren Gatland thought he’d have a honeymoon period he was mistaken as his side were taken to the cleaners by a rampant Ireland outfit,” writes Steffan Thomas on an afternoon whem Wales suffered their heaviest defeat to Ireland in Cardiff since 2001. Thomas blames Wales’ passive defence in the first half.

“Their line-speed was absolutely insufficient to be competitive against another tier one nation . . . which made it nigh on impossible to shut out Ireland’s attacking threats out wide.”

Mark Orders on Wales Online wrote Wales looked what they are – a side in transition. But he said there were promising signs from their young players. “Joe Hawkins, Dafydd Jenkins, Rio Dyer and Tommy Reffell . . . there were splashes of encouragement from the quartet.”


But he was critical of Wales in the collisions.

“According to the official statistics, every visiting player made it into double figures when it came to carrying metres. Frequently, Welsh players were forced back as green-shirted opponents drove hard and powerfully. The number of post-contact metres the Irish made must have been eye-popping.”

Reserving special praise for Caelan Doris, he wrote “those searching on the internet for the definition of the word ‘sensational’ on Saturday evening, might well have been confronted by an image of Doris”.

On BBC Wales, Gareth Griffiths took to an alarmist intro: “Make no mistake. Welsh rugby is in turmoil.

“Irish men’s rugby is currently light years ahead of its Welsh equivalent – on so many levels.

“Now Townsend’s Scotland await in Edinburgh. For Gatland’s team, any sort of victory is required to help lift Welsh rugby’s gloom.”

Alex Bywater in the Daily Mail wrote “Welsh Rugby Union probably thought it couldn’t get any worse. Until this”. He said the game was “an unmitigated disaster, certainly before half time”.

“The green shirts were totally dominant in contact. Stepping in for Gibson-Park, Conor Murray was given an armchair ride at scrumhalf. His service was slick as he found runners at will.”

The Telegraph said Gatland was handed a rude awakening as Ireland swatted Wales aside. Tom Cary wrote Ireland showed why they were favourites for the Six Nations.

“There was no mistaking Ireland’s superiority in all facets of the game.” He added it was difficult to tell to what extent Ireland were brilliant and Wales were poor; “like a football team who go 4-0 up before half-time, Ireland took their foot off the gas”.

In the Times of London, Steve James was effusive in his praise for Ireland. “It was just like watching the All Blacks in their pomp at times, such was the pace, precision and intensity of their play. Wales, with a lot of players in the winters of their careers, could not cope.”

In France, L’Équipe wrote that Ireland are ready for France and Andy Farrell would be reassured by a mentality he wanted that was worthy of the status of world number one. In their player ratings, Aurélien Bouisset wrote Johnny Sexton was serene in the outhalf role compared to his haggard opposite number Dan Biggar, as Sexton dictated the game perfectly in Cardiff.

David Gorman

David Gorman

David Gorman is a sports journalist with The Irish Times