Six Nations: Teams announced for Wales v Ireland

Published Categorised as 2020-21, International Rugby Men, Ireland Men, Six Nations, Wales Men Tagged , , , , , , , , , ,

The teams have been announced for the first round Six Nations match between Wales and Ireland which takes place on Sunday afternoon at the Principality Stadium, Cardiff. Kick off 15:00. The match will be broadcast live on Virgin and the BBC.

Ireland tend to view the Six Nations as one of their key goals year on year which leads to comparatively little experimentation. It’s a strategy that ticks a lot of the financial boxes and keeps the corporate sponsors happy but it has one that has failed every World Cup cycle to date.

In the current circumstances, it’s hard to see any of the sides compete with England and France for this season’s title and from the long list of familiar names in the Welsh and the Irish squads it’s looking that both teams have decided on consolidation rather than experimentation. Ireland’s starting XV share 703 caps for an average of 47 per player and the Wales XV weigh in with a colossal 767 caps for an average of 51. (The Ireland squad caps total comes to 887 with 184 caps in the replacements.)

Ireland have made four changes to their starting XV, three due to injury. Garry Ringrose, James Lowe, Tadhg Beirne and Josh van der Flier come in for Bundee Aki, Jacob Stockdale, Iain Henderson and Caelan Doris. Lowe, Beirne and Flyer appear to be for injuries with Stockdale and Doris injured and Henderson returning with a bench spot. Ringrose for Aki gives us one small nod towards creativity as opposed to a ferocious physical presence.

Wales, under a bit of pressure after a disappointing Nations Cup, have looked to experience to give coach Wayne Pivac some sort of stability. Most notable is the return of Dan Lydiate to a very experienced back row. Injury sees the introduction of Scarlets Johnny Williams in the centre and lockdown shenanigans sees Gloucester’s Louis Rees-Zammit pick up his fifth cap on the wing.

The FRU Predicts: Under the unprecedented circumstances we find ourselves in it’s difficult to say which way this one will go. Going on club form, you would expect Ireland to win this one at a canter and they have a very strong looking bench to call on.

However, the modern game depends heavily on discipline, physicality and the ability to make the most of opponents mistakes. Both teams should have the discipline and physicality down pat so whatever team makes the fewest mistakes should win. Wales need this one quite a bit more and that should be enough to see them through in a tense game.

Teams

WALESIRELAND
Leigh Halfpenny15Hugo Keenan
Louis Rees-Zammit14Keith Earls
George North13Garry Ringrose
Johnny Williams12Robbie Henshaw
Hallam Amos11James Lowe
Dan Biggar10Jonathan Sexton (c)
Tomos Williams9Conor Murray
Wyn Jones1Cian Healy
Ken Owens2Rob Herring
Tomas Francis3Andrew Porter
Adam Beard4Tadhg Beirne
Alun Wyn Jones (c)5James Ryan
Dan Lydiate6Peter O’Mahony
Justin Tipuric7Josh van der Flier
Taulupe Faletau8CJ Stander
Elliot Dee16Ronan Kelleher
Rhodri Jones17Dave Kilcoyne
Leon Brown18Tadhg Furlong
Will Rowlands19Iain Henderson
Josh Navidi20Will Connors
Gareth Davies21Jamison Gibson-Park
Callum Sheedy22Billy Burns
Nick Tompkins23Jordan Larmour
WALES V IRELAND, SUN, 7 FEB 2021 15:00, PRINCIPALITY STADIUM

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