Ireland 29 – 7 Wales
A scintillating Ireland started their 2022 Six Nations campaign in perfect fashion, beating Wales 29-7 at the Aviva Stadium in Dublin.
Centers Bundee Aki, Garry Ringrose and winger Andrew Conway (two) scored Ireland’s tries, while skipper Johnny Sexton added three conversions and a penalty in a fluid attacking display from the hosts .
Ireland – Tries: Aki, Conway (two), Ringrose. Cons: Sexton (three). Pens: Sexton
Wales – Tries: Basham. Cons: Shy. Yellow cards: Adams
An injured Wales provided mild resistance as they were thoroughly outplayed, with center Josh Adams condemned for a high tackle on Sexton and flanker Taine Basham scoring a late consolation.
The performance and victory will have delighted Ireland head coach Andy Farrell as a full stadium was on hand to salute outstanding play as the men in green picked up where they left off after an impressive autumn.
Ireland made a sensational start to the competition, with center Aki slipping just in the third minute after debutant Mack Hansen started life on the Test stage with a searing break down the left wing after a kick kick kick from Sexton ricocheted off him.
Afterwards, Hansen kicked in front of which Wales’ Biggar could only throw the park under pressure, allowing Ireland to build phases in the visitors’ 22 after the lineout and hit with effect deadly in the corner via Aki after an enveloping attack from Sexton.
The Irish skipper converted off the touchline for a perfect start, but when cowardly Andrew Porter was awarded a breakdown penalty five minutes later, Sexton surprisingly struck wide with his first penalty of the Championship.
In the 15th minute, Sexton missed another direct penalty attempt, hitting right of the posts again into the wind, after the silky Ringrose had made a line break deep.
Ireland continued to attack, but a Josh van der Flier shot just outside Wales 22 ended their promising next move.
Connacht winger Mack Hansen started on his Ireland debut, with Keith Earls (hamstring) and James Lowe injured. Tadhg Beirne started in the second row with Iain Henderson not completely in shape. Otherwise, 13 of the starting XVs were the side that beat New Zealand 29-20 in November.
Wales arrived in Dublin missing the experience of Alun Wyn Jones (shoulder), Leigh Halfpenny (knee), Ken Owens (back), George North (knee), Justin Tipuric (shoulder), Josh Navidi (shoulder ) and Taulupe Faletau (ankle). Josh Adams started at 13 for the first time at Test level, with Jonathan Davies ruled out.
The one-way traffic continued, however, with Ireland relentless in attack and forcing Wales another penalty in their 22 for offside. On the third request, Sexton struck through the uprights at close range for a 10-0 lead.
Wales – who failed to enter Ireland 22 for the entire first quarter – had their first chance in the 23rd minute when a malfunction in Ireland’s line-up gave the visitors possession in a threatening area but the opportunity was snuffed out when Tadhg Beirne and co forced a choke tackle maul and a turnover.
A poor pass from Irish scrum-half Jamison Gibson-Park to Aki’s lap put the ball back to Wales soon after, providing a second 22 entry in the space of two minutes, but luck ran out. is kept waiting when Tomos Williams struck after colliding. with her own man.
Number 8 Jack Conan forced a superb breakdown penalty to complete Ireland’s exit, but with the wind picking up territory proved difficult to find via the boot for the home side.
Ireland head coach Andy Farrell and captain Johnny Sexton both express their joy at securing a 29-7 win with Wales in their opening Six Nations game in Dublin.
A stunning streak of offloading and fast passing then brought Ireland on the cusp of a second try with five minutes to go in the first half, but a Sexton offload was chosen by the Country’s Johnny McNicholl of Wales at the crucial moment.
Sexton underwent treatment and heavy strapping for a leg injury in the next stoppage, and although 15 attacking Irish phases followed in the dying minutes of half-time, another poor pass from Gibson-Park at the Hansen’s overhead left it 10-0 at the break. .
Wales started the second half conceding two penalties – for offside and playing the legs into a maul – giving Ireland the initiative to kick into the corner and attack, d ‘where Conway brilliantly reached and scored wide – after another penalty advantage.
Sexton swerved on the difficult conversion for 17-0, and with Wales urgently in need of an answer, things only got worse when center Josh Adams was convicted for playing Sexton high and recklessly.
In the 51st minute, Conway netted his second try and Ireland’s third when he escaped after a more magnificent Irish attack – flanker van der Flier pulled a gap after another enveloping move and an Irish offload net.
Sexton succeeded with a third conversion virtually on the touchline, but Ireland missed a clear chance for the bonus points try near the hour mark when they were pinged for obstruction at the maul.
A powerful tear from the Porter accessory regained possession with Adams still in the bin, allowing Ireland to counterattack at a brisk pace and Ringrose to sprint and sneak in for the vital fourth down.
With a healthy 29-0 lead heading into the final quarter, Ireland were able to knock out key men Sexton, Porter, James Ryan, Tadhg Furlong and Ronan Kelleher ahead of a trip to Paris next week.
Although the majority of the rest of the competition continued to be played out in third-place Wales, Ireland were unable to add any extra scores as mistakes crept in in the scrappy final minutes, with Ringrose through on the wing as Conway went off with a jab.
Wales even had the chance to ensure they didn’t leave without a goal, as Basham netted an interception try as Ireland looked to play deep.
Wales head coach and captain Dan Biggar both admit they failed to match Ireland’s physical play as they were beaten 29-7 in their game opening of the Six Nations in Dublin.
A potential concern for Farrell is the fitness or otherwise of 36-year-old playmaker Sexton, who appeared to be battling a leg injury throughout. The No.10 is absolutely essential to the way Ireland currently play and looks like a player 10 years younger, such has been his skill and spark.
Next for Ireland is perhaps their toughest mission on paper in this year’s Championship, as they travel to Paris to face tournament favorites France on Saturday February 12 (16:45 GMT) .
Ireland Six Nations Tournament 2022
|Saturday February 5||29-7 win against Wales (H)||2:15 p.m.|
|Saturday February 12||France (A)||4:45 p.m.|
|Sunday February 27||Italy (H)||3 p.m.|
|Saturday March 12||England (A)||4:45 p.m.|
|Saturday March 19||Scotland (H)||4:45 p.m.|
Wales will host Scotland at the Principality Stadium, also on Saturday February 12 (kick-off 14:15 GMT), for their second round match.
Wales Six Nations 2022
|Saturday February 5||29-7 loss against Ireland (A)||2:15 p.m.|
|Saturday February 12||Scotland (H)||2:15 p.m.|
|Saturday February 26||England (A)||4:45 p.m.|
|Friday March 11||France (H)||8 p.m.|
|Saturday March 19||Italy (H)||2:15 p.m.|