Home Six Nations Ireland Smashes Wales in Six Nations opener

Ireland Smashes Wales in Six Nations opener

by Saba Gulmagarashvili

In a one-sided Six Nations opener, Ireland continued where they left off in 2021, crushing Wales.

Bundee Aki scored the only try for the overpowering hosts in the first half.

Ireland accelerated away from the injury-ravaged visitor’s thanks to Andrew Conway’s quickfire double and a superb Garry Ringrose goal after the interval.

Only a late try by Taine Basham spared Wales from the humiliation of a scoreless draw.

Wayne Pivac’s team hasn’t won in Dublin since 2015, and they’ve never looked less likely to win in the Irish capital, as they were suffocated by a strong Irish defence.

Given their injury list, it was always going to be a difficult first assignment for the defending champions, but how they performed will give them cause for concern as they prepare for Scotland in Cardiff next week.

Debutant Hansen shines as Ireland takes control

With Alun Wyn Jones, Taulupe Faletau, and George North in the long list of injured players, Wales came to Dublin without several seasoned combatants.

Louis Rees-Zammit went down in the warm-up and required severe strapping on what appeared to be an ankle injury, which did not help their cause.

The winger stayed in the team, but Ireland attacked his flank from the outset, with debutant Mack Hansen fending off the Gloucester player before sprinting from his half into the 22 for his first appearance in an Ireland shirt.

In the next passage of the play, he made an even better first impression by swinging the ball wide for Aki to stroll in for the tournament’s first try.

Ireland’s backs had a fantastic platform due to their forwards, who pushed Wales’ defence back with every carry and supplied a quick ball to Jamison Gibson-Park.

Despite some clever Dan Biggar kicking, Ireland stood strong, with Tadhg Beirne and Jack Conan winning turnovers well inside their 22 as Wales huffed and puffed without exerting any pressure on the try line against an Irish defence that had not conceded a penalty in the first half.

Mack Hansen makes instant impact as Ireland aim for Total Farrell | Six Nations 2022 | The Guardian

The hosts are out of sight thanks to a Conway double.

Despite their dominance, the threat of a second-half sucker punch kept Ireland from becoming complacent, and Conway stretched brilliantly to graze the whitewash in the corner and extend Ireland’s lead to 17 points after four minutes of the second half, the door to a Wales comeback was slammed shut.

On 49 minutes, Josh Adams was sent out for an off-the-ball knock on Sexton, just as Wales began to create pressure in Irish territory.

Irish Rugby | Andrew Conway

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