Ireland 31 Wales 7 (Full-time) - as it happened

Catch up on all the action as a late Tadhg Beirne try gives Ireland a bonus point win at the Aviva Stadium


Ireland 31 Wales 7


We leave you with Gerry Thornley’s match report from the Aviva. Stay tuned to for analysis and reaction following today’s win.


Jump onto Twitter for a post match chat with Gordon D’Arcy about today’s Ireland win.



Full-time: Ireland 31 Wales 7

A far from vintage Ireland performance, but the Grand Slam bid is still on and a bonus point was secured.

At times, Ireland probably played too much in the wrong areas while some of the offloading game was stilted - albeit it did lead to enough breaks to make up for errors. The start of the second half was sluggish, Wales’ maul causing issues while their running game during Tadhg Beirne’s sin-binning was a threat.

Farrell made a host of changes around the hour mark and they all had an impact. James Ryan in defence, albeit he too saw yellow, but in attack, Ryan Baird and Jack Conan excelled. Have Ireland got a bomb squad of their own? The Jager Bomb squad, you might say...



In the 82nd minute, Ireland secure the bonus point. With a trip to Twickenham to come, who knows how important that can be. The detail in the attack is incredible, Conan bringing Baird with him for a delicate inside ball. Further half breaks follow and eventually, when deep inside the 22, Wales fail to mark Beirne who takes the pass from Murray and dives over.

Crowley converts well from out wide. That, ladies and gentlemen, is that.


79 mins: McCloskey puts in a huge hit on Grady and then his counter-ruck leads to a penalty when Wales play it on the deck. Crowley kicks into the 22 as Ireland go hunting for a bonus point score.

Bundee Aki is named player of the match.


77 mins: Held up! Wainwright forces his way over but a combination of Healy and Beirne do enough to prevent the grounding.


Yellow card James Ryan!

The replacement wasn’t back 10 off a penalty when he made a tackle and Piardi sends him to the bin.


72 mins: Andrew Porter gives away a scrum penalty for walking around the side. Wales kick play into the Ireland half but spill the ball on first phase. Both sides exchange kicks, Crowley spilling to give Wales a scrum just inside the Ireland 10m.

Wales make a change at 10 with Lloyd coming on for Costelow. Ireland take off Porter and bring on Healy.


70 mins: That’s phenomenal from Baird, two line breaks in as many minutes to advance Ireland up the field after the kick-off. A spill ends the attack, but that was something. This bench impact from Ireland has been phenomenal.

Ireland make a change at nine, Murray on for Gibson-Park.



Frawley has a try on his first Irish start. After the maul, Aki and Conan go close and Gibson-Park hits Frawley on a lovely flat line to crash over. Crowley converts easily.


66 mins: Reffell is pinged for playing the ball on the deck and Ireland are furious. They want a card and there is an argument to be made. If the ball came back cleanly, they had a strong chance of a line break with numbers down the short side. In any case, Ireland go to the corner.

Kieron Hardy replaces Tomos Williams at scrumhalf, McCloskey is on at wing for Ireland instead of Nash.


65 mins: A bout of kick tennis ends with Crowley finding touch just short of the Wales 22. A more favourable bounce would have seen him earn a 50:22 there.


63 mins: Lowe is absolutely shattered as he has to chase back a kick following a Porter spill. He ends up doing very well, using his strength to fend off the tackle of Dyer until support arrives. Once Ireland get back and secure the ball, Gibson-Park clears.



The changes made by Farrell have made a big difference. Ryan and Baird again are prominent this time in attack, making plenty of yards. The offloading form Crowley to Lowe and then to Gibson-Park set up a break, then quick hands from Baird and Henshaw send Nash close. When the ball comes back down the open side, Aki crashes over from close range.


It turns out those quick hands from Henshaw sent the ball forward. Ireland were playing with an advantage but it had expired by then.

Wales make more changes, Dee and Thomas going in the frontrow, Elias and Domachowski replacing them.


57 mins: That’s an excellent defensive set from Ireland. All the replacements are heavily involved, particularly Ryan and Baird who make multiple tackles that drive Wales back towards the 22. Eventually Kelleher gets in over the ball to win the clearing penalty.


53 mins: Williams dummies the pass from the base of the ruck, meaning Ireland jump offside. Under advantage, Williams’ deflected kick is dealt with by McCarthy but Wales go back for the penalty. As the lineout is formed, Beirne’s card expires and Ireland are back to 15.

Beirne’s first involvement is to somehow steal the ball in the maul inches from his own line. Talk about instant impact... That said, I’m not sure how he could have been legal.

Wales make changes in the forwards. Rowlands is on for Beard at lock, Martin for Mann in the backrow.

Ireland make changes as well. Jager is on for his debut, Furlong goes. McCarthy, Sheehan and O’Mahony also go, Kelleher, Ryan and Baird all enter.


52 mins: Ireland’s discipline is becoming issue. McCarthy takes a man in the air at the lineout and all of a sudden Wales are back in the 22.


51 mins: Twice Ireland attempt kick passes. The first from Frawley hits his man, the second from Crowley doesn’t and Wales gather. Lowe then is pinged for a neck roll.

Meanwhile van der Flier is off for a HIA as Conan enters the fray. Wales also make a change at tighthead, Assirati replaced by Lewis.


49 mins: Frawley nearly regathers a brilliant chip and chase but is beaten to it by Wainright who scrambles very well. Ireland are then sucked into a bout of kick-tennis and broken field running - not what they want against this Wales back three, let alone when down to 14.

Eventually a needless Wales spill ends the attack, but that was dangerous for Ireland.


46 mins: That was a try-saving tackle from Jenkins. Aki burst through a week tackle to get into the backfield and with two men on his inside, Ireland would have scored if the pass came. However, Jenkins’ ankle tap stopped him before he could free his hands, saving Wales in the process.



No grounding on the replays, but Karl Dickson talks Piardi into changing his bind and illegally stopping the try. Proabably the right call and Ireland are down to 10 with Beirne in the bin.


43 mins: Wales are over! They’re claiming a try after the maul goes over. We’re going upstairs but it sounds like Beirne is in trouble - assistant referee Karl Dickson has said he stopped the ball illegally.


42 mins: Now Ireland are in some disciplinary trouble. McCarthy is pinged for playing the nine, prompting Piardi to have a word with O’Mahony. The Ireland skipper asks was he not simply counter-rucking. O’Mahony has a point but Piardi isn’t in the mood for a discussion. Wales have a decision to make with the penalty but it will have to wait as Winnett gets bandaged up.

Once he’s good to go, Costelow turns down the points in favour of the corner.


41 mins: Sam Costelow kicks off for Wales as the second half begins. Beirne gathers the kick just outside Ireland’s 22 and somehow spins out of a tackle into space. Henshaw’s wide pass sends Aki away before Crowley clears.


Right then, just like that, the players are back out. Second half underway shortly.



Arguably the most intriguing part of the contest so far is the scrum. Ireland aren’t use to dominating in that set-piece, but Tadhg Furlong has opposite number Gareth Thomas on toast. There have been two penalties and a free-kick so far in Ireland’s favour, to go with a number of pressurised scrums where Wales get the ball out quick, or referee Piardi has told Ireland to use it.


Next up was James Lowe’s try. Another maul went close, Ireland then left it too late to go wide, putting Nash in a tricky situation where he was swallowed up. They held onto the ball, McCarthy got the momentum back with another strong carry. Wales couldn’t recover from there, Lowe strolling over untouched in the corner.


Let’s run through the first half tries. First up was pretty straightforward, a maul that inched its way over with Sheehan once again at the back of it. He continues to lead the way in the competition’s try-scoring charts. It would have been a particularly pleasing score for Ireland given their first maul of the day had been repelled, leading to a turnover.


Half-time: Ireland 17 Wales 0

A strong, if unconvincing half from Ireland. A few errors in attack have been noteworthy, but whenever they are in the 22 they have too much power for Wales to consistently hold out. Wales, for their part, haven’t been able to keep hold of the ball for sustained periods, such is their lack of fluidity in attack and Ireland’s swarming defence.

A 70:30 possession split at half-time tells you all you need to know, really. Ireland will just be frustrated they’re not further ahead. 28 per cent of the match has been played inside the Welsh 22, which is arguably the more important stat.


39 mins: Wales briefly threaten in attack as Dyer breaks off a quickly-taken free-kick. However, in phase play, they look listless. There is no structure, Mann isn’t ready from a pass from Tompkins who probably should have carried, leading to a spill and an Ireland scrum.


37 mins: This time Ireland get the penalty. Off the lineout, Furlong disrupts the attempted maul but Wales hang on. When they do go wide, North is driven back by Doris before Jenkins dives in off his feet. Crowley clears with the penalty.


36 mins: Off the lineout, van der Flier makes a thumping tackle on Dyer before Aki steals the ball. However, his hands were on the ground, allowing Costelow to kick another penalty into the corner.


35 mins: Assirati spills in contact but it doesn’t matter for Wales who had advantage. Gibson-Park infringed at a previous breakdown. Costelow kicks the penalty down the line, the first time Wales have had the ball inside the Irish 22 all day.



Ireland initially look to have butchered an opportunity. The maul goes close, then the forwards hammer away. If they go wide, Wales are so narrow it’s a walk in. However, they leave it too late, meaning Nash is swallowed up when they do go wide.

Eventually, the ball comes back to the other flank after a good McCarthy half break. Once it does, Lowe is on hand to stroll over in the corner. Crowley has a touchline conversion which he nails.


30 mins: Piardi is beginning to lose patience with Wales. Dee gets in over the ball legally, but Jenkins, the skipper, was guilty of not rolling away. The Italian official warns Jenkins that his side need to improve their discipline. Crowley turns down an easy three in favour of the corner.


28 mins: Off the scrum, Ireland break through Gibson-Park, Henshaw and then Lowe. They come back inside 5m out from the line but Piardi spots a forward pass. Wales survive.


27 mins: Wales are under so much pressure at scrum time. This time Thomas doesn’t put the ball in straight in a bid to get it out quickly, such is the Furlong pressure on Thomas. Ireland free-kick and scrum.


25 mins: Gibson-Park gets away with one. His box kick is poor, it would have landed out on the full but Adams catches it and then lands out of play. Ireland lineout close to the Wales 22.

That’s a second lost lineout of the day - and of the tournament - as once again Sheehan’s throw is long. That one may have been on the lift being a bit early. Anyhow, Ireland spill and Wales have a scrum.


23 mins: Wales fail to roll away off the kick-off. That’s seven penalties conceded now by Gatland’s side. They were the most disciplined team in the tournament heading into this, but that element of their game has completely deserted them now.



This time the rolling maul works for Ireland. It’s a slow burner, inching its way towards the line but eventually Ireland get enough bodies involved to bring Sheehan over. It’s been tough work to crack this Welsh side, but Ireland now have their first try 20 minutes in.

Crowley converts 15m in from touch.


20 mins: Penalty Ireland! Furlong has Thomas on toast at the minute in the scrum and he wins a penalty against the head. Crowley kicks back into the corner.


18 mins: Ireland win two advantages, first for a scrum penalty and then offside. However, when Crowley’s kick pass is taken by Sheehan, tha advantage is over. Offloads from Lowe and van der Flier make space down the wide channel, but the carrier is isolated as Tompkins goes to jackal. He wins the ball but spills into touch, much to Ireland’s good fortune.

Ireland lose the lineout as Sheehan’s throw is just too long for O’Mahony to gather. That’s Ireland’s first lost lineout of the competition.


15 mins: There’s Tommy! Wales’ chief breakdown threat, Tommy Reffell, gets in over the ball after a vicious chop tackle on McCarthy by Thomas. Brilliant defence to win the holding on penalty.

Reffell then undoes the good work at the following lineout. As the receiver, he has to be two metres from the lineout. Dan Sheehan spots that he isn’t, roars at Piardi, and the Italian gives Ireland a free-kick.


13 mins: Ireland get a good shove on at the scrum but Wales get it out quickly and clear. After a grubber doesn’t go to an Irish hand, Wales gather but Williams dives in straight off his feet. Crowley kicks the penalty into the corner once again.


9 mins: Ireland go for some lineout trickery as Gibson-Park stands in, taking a short throw and sending Sheehan away down the short side. Wales are then caught offside, Tompkins giving away his second penalty, allowing Crowley to kick into the corner.

Ireland are wasteful with the opportunity, though. The Wales maul defence is good initially, Piardi tells Ireland to use it. They do make their way up towards the line but Wainright is in there to disrupt and earn a turnover.


8 mins: Ireland are dominating at the breakdown. After Lowe clears from his own 22, this time it’s Porter coming up with the poach on the kick chase as Wales once again fail to release the ball. Crowley kicks down the line, Ireland have a lineout past the Welsh 10m line.


6 mins: Ireland get another penalty for a high tackle from Tompkins. This is a fair way out, but in a central position and definitely kickable. O’Mahony consults with Beirne before telling Crowley to go for the posts.

Not the cleanest of strikes but Crowley is on target. Ireland strike first.


4 mins: Penalty Ireland! Wales’ attack lacks animation or deception and Ireland are well able to front up and knock them back. Aki then gets over the ball to win a holding on penalty.


3 mins: Ireland’s offloading game is good initially, Beirne throwing a good one to make a half-break. But they try it once too many as Lowe throws an offload that isn’t on, forcing Henshaw to spill. Furlong is then caught offside, allowing Wales to clear their lines.


2 mins: Ireland work an overlap down the short side and Henshaw calls for the ball. Gibson-Park is a bit slow in giving it to him, but when it does come he can still break. Henshaw chips ahead, there’s a bit too much on it and Wales dot down behind their own line. Goal-line drop to follow.

Josh Adams is getting some treatment for a neck injury, he got his head on the wrong side of an attempted tackle on Aki. He’s ok to continue.


1 min: We’re underway at the Aviva! Jack Crowley has the ball, Italian referee Andrea Piardi blows his whistle and the Munsterman launches it high into the Welsh 22. Cameron Winnett gathers before Tomos Williams clears. Lowe runs it back and Ireland have the ball on halfway.


Anthems done and dusted. Ireland’s Call absolutely belted out, some people were clearly listening to us hacks moaning about the Aviva atmosphere. Anyway, nearly time for kick-off!


The teams are out. Time to meet Michael D.


Through parents, through family friends, through coaches that I have had who pulled me aside and said ‘I think you are better than what you think you are . . .’ and ‘you have the potential if you really wanted to go get it . . .’ So that’s probably been the biggest improvement in my game, my mindset, how I perceive myself.

—  Ireland's Dan Sheehan

Dan Sheehan was one of the players speaking to the press in the build-up to today, including our own Johnny Watterson.

Believe it or not given his standard of performance since debuting in green, the hooker has struggled with self-belief at times in his young career. How he has dealt with that challenge makes for an interesting read.


One for the stats geeks.

Wales concede a try from 17 per cent of their missed tackles, the worst rate in this year’s competition. In other words, they do not scramble well in defence. Based on that and other stats, you can find here a list of five tactical areas where Ireland can have the upper hand.


Jack is an example for us, and for all the boys and girls here, in all aspects. Smart, good personality, strong mentality, a fighter and a hard worker – like the people of West Cork!

—  Régis Sonnes, school coach of Jack Crowley

After his impressive start to the Six Nations, Gerry Thornley has written a profile of Jack Crowley. Gerry has gone well back, speaking to those who worked with the Munster outhalf from a young age.


If on route to the game and you fancy some easy listening, have a look at our most recent podcast. Gordon D’Arcy joined John O’Sullivan and myself to preview today‘s action.

Ireland vs Wales preview

Listen | 23:41


As for Ireland’s opponents, Wales have made one change from the side that lost by two points to England in Twickenham. Sam Costelow comes back in at outhalf after suffering a neck injury in round one vs Scotland.

It’s difficult to judge his performance that day given he went off early, but he was outhalf for a fair chunk of a half that saw Wales go 20-0 down. Gatland later called it the worst 40 minutes he’s seen from any team he’s coached. However, last time out in London, Wales’ game management was shocking, stand-in 10 Ioan Lloyd gifting England a 5m scrum from which they scored when trying to play with the ball too close to his own line.

Elsewhere, Wales’ strongest area is undoubtedly their backrow. Tommy Reffell is statistically the best defensive breakdown operator so far in this tournament, while Aaron Wainwright has been their sole strong ball carrier - his footwork before contact is excellent. Then their is youngster Alex Mann, who has scored two tries in his first two caps in this competition. It’s a young Wales, shorn of many of the old familiar faces.

They are a flawed side, but fun to watch.

Wales: Cameron Winnett; Josh Adams, George North, Nick Tompkins, Rio Dyer; Sam Costelow, Tomos Williams; Gareth Thomas, Elliot Dee, Kieron Assirati; Dafydd Jenkins, Adam Beard; Alex Mann, Tommy Reffell, Aaron Wainright.

Replacements: Ryan Elias, Corey Domachowski, Dillon Lewis, Will Rowlands, Mackenzie Martin, Kieron Williams, Ioan Lloyd, Mason Grady.


Let’s start with the teams, shall we? Ireland are at full strength minus one. As has been discussed at interminable length at this stage, Hugo Keenan is out with a knee injury. Sod’s law dictates that the one time the Leinsterman does pick up a knock, the two next cabs off the rank - Jimmy O’Brien and Mack Hansen - are also injured.

Step forward Ciarán Frawley. Is he a 10? Is he a centre? Is he a fullback? We may never find out what his best position actually is, but as far as today is concerned, the Skerries man finally gets an opportunity for Ireland in a big game in the backfield.

Elsewhere, all of those who had niggles or were rested for the 36-0 win over Italy are back in, while Oli Jager is set for a bit of a surprise debut off the bench. According to Andy Farrell, Finlay Bealham is not injured, Jager has won this cap on merit.

The Jager Bomb Squad, anyone?

Ireland: 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.


The down week is officially over, it’s time for another weekend of Six Nations action. Nathan Johns here to take you all the way through today’s clash.

After the players took last weekend off - not all, it should be said given the provincial action that did take place - Ireland are back at the Aviva with Wales standing between them and a third consecutive win to start this championship.

Wales have not beaten Ireland since 2021, and they haven’t won in Dublin since 2012. Warren Gatland’s side have also won just one game in their last 10 Six Nations outings.

Ireland, by contrast, have won 19 of their last 20 matches - that World Cup quarter-final defeat aside. The formbook and odds are all only pointing in one direction. We’ll find out if everyone’s predictions are correct at 2.15pm when this one kicks off.