Belfast Telegraph

UK Website Of The Year

Home Sport Rugby Six Nations

Analysis: How did they fail to put poor Wales away in Six Nations opener?

By Tony Ward

Published 08/02/2016

Off Centre: Jared Payne ought to have played at full back
Off Centre: Jared Payne ought to have played at full back
DUBLIN, IRELAND - FEBRUARY 07: George North of Wales is tackled by Ian Madigan and Robbie Henshaw of Ireland during the RBS Six Nations match between Ireland and Wales at the Aviva Stadium on February 7, 2016 in Dublin, Ireland. (Photo by Stu Forster/Getty Images)
DUBLIN, IRELAND - FEBRUARY 07: George North of Wales charges upfield during the RBS Six Nations match between Ireland and Wales at the Aviva Stadium on February 7, 2016 in Dublin, Ireland. (Photo by Stu Forster/Getty Images)
DUBLIN, IRELAND - FEBRUARY 07: Joe Schmidt the head coach of Ireland watches over his team's pre match warm up during the RBS Six Nations match between Ireland and Wales at the Aviva Stadium on February 7, 2016 in Dublin, Ireland. (Photo by David Rogers/Getty Images)
DUBLIN, IRELAND - FEBRUARY 07: Joe Schmidt the head coach of Ireland watches over his team's pre match warm up during the RBS Six Nations match between Ireland and Wales at the Aviva Stadium on February 7, 2016 in Dublin, Ireland. (Photo by David Rogers/Getty Images)
DUBLIN, IRELAND - FEBRUARY 07: Jonathan Sexton of Ireland is tackled by Alun Wyn Jones and Rob Evans of Wales during the RBS Six Nations match between Ireland and Wales at the Aviva Stadium on February 7, 2016 in Dublin, Ireland. (Photo by David Rogers/Getty Images)
DUBLIN, IRELAND - FEBRUARY 07: Joe Schmidt the head coach of Ireland watches over his team's pre match warm up during the RBS Six Nations match between Ireland and Wales at the Aviva Stadium on February 7, 2016 in Dublin, Ireland. (Photo by David Rogers/Getty Images)
DUBLIN, IRELAND - FEBRUARY 07: Liam Williams of Wales makes a break during the RBS Six Nations match between Ireland and Wales at the Aviva Stadium on February 7, 2016 in Dublin, Ireland. (Photo by David Rogers/Getty Images)
DUBLIN, IRELAND - FEBRUARY 07: Conor Murray of Ireland passes the ball during the RBS Six Nations match between Ireland and Wales at the Aviva Stadium on February 7, 2016 in Dublin, Ireland. (Photo by David Rogers/Getty Images)
DUBLIN, IRELAND - FEBRUARY 07: Gareth Davies of Wales passes the ball during the RBS Six Nations match between Ireland and Wales at the Aviva Stadium on February 7, 2016 in Dublin, Ireland. (Photo by David Rogers/Getty Images)
DUBLIN, IRELAND - FEBRUARY 07: Jonathan Davies of Wales is challenged by Jonathan Sexton of Ireland during the RBS Six Nations match between Ireland and Wales at the Aviva Stadium on February 7, 2016 in Dublin, Ireland. (Photo by David Rogers/Getty Images)
DUBLIN, IRELAND - FEBRUARY 07: Rhys Priestland of Wales clears the ball during the RBS Six Nations match between Ireland and Wales at the Aviva Stadium on February 7, 2016 in Dublin, Ireland. (Photo by David Rogers/Getty Images)
DUBLIN, IRELAND - FEBRUARY 07: Jamie Heaslip of Ireland charges upfield during the RBS Six Nations match between Ireland and Wales at the Aviva Stadium on February 7, 2016 in Dublin, Ireland. (Photo by David Rogers/Getty Images)
DUBLIN, IRELAND - FEBRUARY 07: George North of Wales looks on during the RBS Six Nations match between Ireland and Wales at the Aviva Stadium on February 7, 2016 in Dublin, Ireland. (Photo by David Rogers/Getty Images)
DUBLIN, IRELAND - FEBRUARY 07: Devin Toner of Ireland is tackled by Samson Lee and Gethin Jenkins of Wales during the RBS Six Nations match between Ireland and Wales at the Aviva Stadium at Aviva Stadium on February 7, 2016 in Dublin, Ireland. (Photo by Stu Forster/Getty Images)
DUBLIN, IRELAND - FEBRUARY 07: Devin Toner of Ireland is tackled by Samson Lee and Gethin Jenkins of Wales during the RBS Six Nations match between Ireland and Wales at the Aviva Stadium at Aviva Stadium on February 7, 2016 in Dublin, Ireland. (Photo by Stu Forster/Getty Images)
DUBLIN, IRELAND - FEBRUARY 07: Devin Toner of Ireland wins lineout ball under pressure from Alun Wyn Jones of Wales during the RBS Six Nations match between Ireland and Wales at the Aviva Stadium on February 7, 2016 in Dublin, Ireland. (Photo by David Rogers/Getty Images)

If the opening weekend of the 2016 Six Nations taught us anything, it's that rugby in the northern hemisphere is bland, boring and stuck in a time warp.

France tried and failed to play kamikaze rugby, Italy squandered a gilt-edged opportunity for victory in Paris, England flattered to deceive in a dour spectacle at Murrayfield, while Scotland reverted to mediocrity.

And Ireland, despite dominating for large portions of the game in Dublin, somehow managed to blow a 13-point lead to hand Wales a draw that they scarcely deserved.

The caveat for the head coach will be that Ireland were missing several front-line players. That may be so, but it is questionable whether the absentees would have performed any differently under the circumstances, given Ireland's narrow and regimented game plan.

The lack of penetration and ingenuity from both sides was a testament to the dull brand of rugby that has infiltrated its way into the northern hemisphere. Ireland, save for Conor Murray's first half try, struggled to break down the Wales defence. Joe Schmidt's anti-offloading stamp was clearly visible.

Wales were comfortably able to soak up the majority of Ireland's attack, safe in the knowledge that the Irish players would not pass the ball out of contact. And because Ireland are not prepared to vary their limited approach with ball in hand, they remain predictable and easy to defend against.

Overall, Wales were extremely poor and when Ireland examine video footage of the game, they will wonder how they failed to put the opposition away. A three point return for almost 50 minutes of rugby is paltry.

The game of rugby union has changed immeasurably over the years but some things remain constant. Regardless of level, it has always been impossible to win a rugby match without a scrum. Ireland didn't lose yesterday, but their inability to lock out the scrum allowed Wales back into the game.

The first scrum inside three minutes provided a glimpse of what was to come with Nathan White under enormous pressure in the Ireland front row. Incredibly, and to Ireland's relief, the next 15 minutes passed without another set-piece. During that time, Ireland wasted two glorious opportunities for a try but managed to rack up six points from the boot of Jonathan Sexton.

When Murray charged his way over from close range, it looked like Ireland would embrace the momentum and put Wales to the pin of their collar. Instead, Wales were gifted a way back into the game.

Ireland's Jonathan Sexton leaves the field after being substituted during the 2016 RBS Six Nations match at the Aviva Stadium, Dublin against Dublin.
Ireland's Jonathan Sexton leaves the field after being substituted during the 2016 RBS Six Nations match at the Aviva Stadium, Dublin against Dublin.
Ireland's full back Simon Zebo (L) is tackled by Wales' centre Jamie Roberts during the Six Nations international rugby union match between Ireland and Wales at the Aviva Stadium in Dublin, Ireland, on February 7, 2016. / AFP / PAUL FAITHPAUL FAITH/AFP/Getty Images
Ireland's Sean Cronin (C) is tackled during the Six Nations international rugby union match between Ireland and Wales at the Aviva Stadium in Dublin, Ireland, on February 7, 2016. / AFP / PAUL FAITHPAUL FAITH/AFP/Getty Images
DUBLIN, IRELAND - FEBRUARY 07: Gareth Davies of Wales passes the ball during the RBS Six Nations match between Ireland and Wales at the Aviva Stadium on February 7, 2016 in Dublin, Ireland. (Photo by David Rogers/Getty Images)
DUBLIN, IRELAND - FEBRUARY 07: Tom James of Wales is tackled by Keith Earls and Jared Payne of Ireland during the RBS Six Nations match between Ireland and Wales at the Aviva Stadium on February 7, 2016 in Dublin, Ireland. (Photo by David Rogers/Getty Images)
DUBLIN, IRELAND - FEBRUARY 07: Tom James of Wales is tackled by Keith Earls and Jared Payne of Ireland during the RBS Six Nations match between Ireland and Wales at the Aviva Stadium on February 7, 2016 in Dublin, Ireland. (Photo by David Rogers/Getty Images)
DUBLIN, IRELAND - FEBRUARY 07: Tom James of Wales is tackled by Keith Earls and Jared Payne of Ireland during the RBS Six Nations match between Ireland and Wales at the Aviva Stadium on February 7, 2016 in Dublin, Ireland. (Photo by David Rogers/Getty Images)
DUBLIN, IRELAND - FEBRUARY 07: Rhys Priestland of Wales kicks at goal during the RBS Six Nations match between Ireland and Wales at the Aviva Stadium on February 7, 2016 in Dublin, Ireland. (Photo by Stu Forster/Getty Images)
DUBLIN, IRELAND - FEBRUARY 07: George North of Wales is tackled by Ian Madigan and Robbie Henshaw of Ireland during the RBS Six Nations match between Ireland and Wales at the Aviva Stadium on February 7, 2016 in Dublin, Ireland. (Photo by Stu Forster/Getty Images)
DUBLIN, IRELAND - FEBRUARY 07: George North of Wales charges upfield during the RBS Six Nations match between Ireland and Wales at the Aviva Stadium on February 7, 2016 in Dublin, Ireland. (Photo by Stu Forster/Getty Images)
DUBLIN, IRELAND - FEBRUARY 07: Joe Schmidt the head coach of Ireland watches over his team's pre match warm up during the RBS Six Nations match between Ireland and Wales at the Aviva Stadium on February 7, 2016 in Dublin, Ireland. (Photo by David Rogers/Getty Images)
DUBLIN, IRELAND - FEBRUARY 07: Joe Schmidt the head coach of Ireland watches over his team's pre match warm up during the RBS Six Nations match between Ireland and Wales at the Aviva Stadium on February 7, 2016 in Dublin, Ireland. (Photo by David Rogers/Getty Images)
DUBLIN, IRELAND - FEBRUARY 07: Jonathan Sexton of Ireland is tackled by Alun Wyn Jones and Rob Evans of Wales during the RBS Six Nations match between Ireland and Wales at the Aviva Stadium on February 7, 2016 in Dublin, Ireland. (Photo by David Rogers/Getty Images)
DUBLIN, IRELAND - FEBRUARY 07: Joe Schmidt the head coach of Ireland watches over his team's pre match warm up during the RBS Six Nations match between Ireland and Wales at the Aviva Stadium on February 7, 2016 in Dublin, Ireland. (Photo by David Rogers/Getty Images)
DUBLIN, IRELAND - FEBRUARY 07: Liam Williams of Wales makes a break during the RBS Six Nations match between Ireland and Wales at the Aviva Stadium on February 7, 2016 in Dublin, Ireland. (Photo by David Rogers/Getty Images)
DUBLIN, IRELAND - FEBRUARY 07: Conor Murray of Ireland passes the ball during the RBS Six Nations match between Ireland and Wales at the Aviva Stadium on February 7, 2016 in Dublin, Ireland. (Photo by David Rogers/Getty Images)
DUBLIN, IRELAND - FEBRUARY 07: Gareth Davies of Wales passes the ball during the RBS Six Nations match between Ireland and Wales at the Aviva Stadium on February 7, 2016 in Dublin, Ireland. (Photo by David Rogers/Getty Images)
DUBLIN, IRELAND - FEBRUARY 07: Jonathan Davies of Wales is challenged by Jonathan Sexton of Ireland during the RBS Six Nations match between Ireland and Wales at the Aviva Stadium on February 7, 2016 in Dublin, Ireland. (Photo by David Rogers/Getty Images)
DUBLIN, IRELAND - FEBRUARY 07: Rhys Priestland of Wales clears the ball during the RBS Six Nations match between Ireland and Wales at the Aviva Stadium on February 7, 2016 in Dublin, Ireland. (Photo by David Rogers/Getty Images)
DUBLIN, IRELAND - FEBRUARY 07: Jamie Heaslip of Ireland charges upfield during the RBS Six Nations match between Ireland and Wales at the Aviva Stadium on February 7, 2016 in Dublin, Ireland. (Photo by David Rogers/Getty Images)
DUBLIN, IRELAND - FEBRUARY 07: George North of Wales looks on during the RBS Six Nations match between Ireland and Wales at the Aviva Stadium on February 7, 2016 in Dublin, Ireland. (Photo by David Rogers/Getty Images)
DUBLIN, IRELAND - FEBRUARY 07: Devin Toner of Ireland is tackled by Samson Lee and Gethin Jenkins of Wales during the RBS Six Nations match between Ireland and Wales at the Aviva Stadium at Aviva Stadium on February 7, 2016 in Dublin, Ireland. (Photo by Stu Forster/Getty Images)
DUBLIN, IRELAND - FEBRUARY 07: Devin Toner of Ireland is tackled by Samson Lee and Gethin Jenkins of Wales during the RBS Six Nations match between Ireland and Wales at the Aviva Stadium at Aviva Stadium on February 7, 2016 in Dublin, Ireland. (Photo by Stu Forster/Getty Images)
DUBLIN, IRELAND - FEBRUARY 07: Devin Toner of Ireland wins lineout ball under pressure from Alun Wyn Jones of Wales during the RBS Six Nations match between Ireland and Wales at the Aviva Stadium on February 7, 2016 in Dublin, Ireland. (Photo by David Rogers/Getty Images)
DUBLIN, IRELAND - FEBRUARY 07: Andrew Trimble of Ireland (l) and Liam Williams of Wales battle for the ball during the RBS Six Nations match between Ireland and Wales at the Aviva Stadium at Aviva Stadium on February 7, 2016 in Dublin, Ireland. (Photo by Stu Forster/Getty Images)
DUBLIN, IRELAND - FEBRUARY 07: Rhys Priestland of Wales kicks a penalty during the RBS Six Nations match between Ireland and Wales at the Aviva Stadium at Aviva Stadium on February 7, 2016 in Dublin, Ireland. (Photo by Stu Forster/Getty Images)
DUBLIN, IRELAND - FEBRUARY 07: Devin Toner of Ireland wins lineout ball under pressure from Alun Wyn Jones of Wales during the RBS Six Nations match between Ireland and Wales at the Aviva Stadium at Aviva Stadium on February 7, 2016 in Dublin, Ireland. (Photo by Stu Forster/Getty Images)
Ireland's Jonathan Sexton prepares to kick a penalty during the 2016 RBS Six Nations match at the Aviva Stadium, Dublin. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Picture date: Sunday February 7, 2016. See PA story RUGBYU Ireland. Photo credit should read: Brian Lawless/PA Wire. RESTRICTIONS APPLY: Editorial use only. No commercial or promotional use without prior consent from IRFU. No alterations or doctoring. For further information please call +44 (0)115 8447447.
Ireland's Jonathan Sexton kicks a penalty during the 2016 RBS Six Nations match at the Aviva Stadium, Dublin. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Picture date: Sunday February 7, 2016. See PA story RUGBYU Ireland. Photo credit should read: Brian Lawless/PA Wire. RESTRICTIONS APPLY: Editorial use only. No commercial or promotional use without prior consent from IRFU. No alterations or doctoring. For further information please call +44 (0)115 8447447.
Ireland's Dave Kearney (left) and Wales' George North compete for a high ball during the 2016 RBS Six Nations match at the Aviva Stadium, Dublin. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Picture date: Sunday February 7, 2016. See PA story RUGBYU Ireland. Photo credit should read: Brian Lawless/PA Wire. RESTRICTIONS APPLY: Editorial use only. No commercial or promotional use without prior consent from IRFU. No alterations or doctoring. For further information please call +44 (0)115 8447447.
DUBLIN, IRELAND - FEBRUARY 07: George North of Wales is tackled by Ian Madigan (l) and Robbie Henshaw of Ireland during the RBS Six Nations match between Ireland and Wales at the Aviva Stadium at Aviva Stadium on February 7, 2016 in Dublin, Ireland. (Photo by Stu Forster/Getty Images)
Wales' Lloyd Williams (L) passes the ball during the Six Nations international rugby union match between Ireland and Wales at the Aviva Stadium in Dublin, Ireland, on February 7, 2016. / AFP / PAUL FAITHPAUL FAITH/AFP/Getty Images
Wales' Lloyd Williams passes the ball during the Six Nations international rugby union match between Ireland and Wales at the Aviva Stadium in Dublin, Ireland, on February 7, 2016. / AFP / PAUL FAITHPAUL FAITH/AFP/Getty Images
DUBLIN, IRELAND - FEBRUARY 07: Jonathan Sexton of Ireland in action during the RBS Six Nations match between Ireland and Wales at the Aviva Stadium at Aviva Stadium on February 7, 2016 in Dublin, Ireland. (Photo by Stu Forster/Getty Images)
DUBLIN, IRELAND - FEBRUARY 07: Simon Zebo of Ireland breaks through the tackles from Jamie Roberts and Alun Wyn Jones of Wales during the RBS Six Nations match between Ireland and Wales at the Aviva Stadium on February 7, 2016 in Dublin, Ireland. (Photo by David Rogers/Getty Images)
DUBLIN, IRELAND - FEBRUARY 07: Tom James of Wales in action during the RBS Six Nations match between Ireland and Wales at the Aviva Stadium at Aviva Stadium on February 7, 2016 in Dublin, Ireland. (Photo by Stu Forster/Getty Images)
Ireland's prop Jack McGrath (L) tackles Wales' Bradley Davies during the Six Nations international rugby union match between Ireland and Wales at the Aviva Stadium in Dublin, Ireland, on February 7, 2016. / AFP / PAUL FAITHPAUL FAITH/AFP/Getty Images
DUBLIN, IRELAND - FEBRUARY 07: Jonathan Sexton of Ireland in action during the RBS Six Nations match between Ireland and Wales at the Aviva Stadium at Aviva Stadium on February 7, 2016 in Dublin, Ireland. (Photo by Stu Forster/Getty Images)
DUBLIN, IRELAND - FEBRUARY 07: Simon Zebo of Ireland takes on Jonathan Davies of Wales during the RBS Six Nations match between Ireland and Wales at the Aviva Stadium on February 7, 2016 in Dublin, Ireland. (Photo by David Rogers/Getty Images)
DUBLIN, IRELAND - FEBRUARY 07: Jonathan Sexton of Ireland in action during the RBS Six Nations match between Ireland and Wales at the Aviva Stadium at Aviva Stadium on February 7, 2016 in Dublin, Ireland. (Photo by Stu Forster/Getty Images)
DUBLIN, IRELAND - FEBRUARY 07: Andrew Trimble of Ireland looks to pass as George North of Wales closes in during the RBS Six Nations match between Ireland and Wales at the Aviva Stadium on February 7, 2016 in Dublin, Ireland. (Photo by David Rogers/Getty Images)
DUBLIN, IRELAND - FEBRUARY 07: George North of Wales in action during the RBS Six Nations match between Ireland and Wales at the Aviva Stadium at Aviva Stadium on February 7, 2016 in Dublin, Ireland. (Photo by Stu Forster/Getty Images)
DUBLIN, IRELAND - FEBRUARY 07: George North of Wales in action during the RBS Six Nations match between Ireland and Wales at the Aviva Stadium at Aviva Stadium on February 7, 2016 in Dublin, Ireland. (Photo by Stu Forster/Getty Images)
Ireland's full back Simon Zebo (C) is tackled by Wales' centre Jonathan Davies (R) during the Six Nations international rugby union match between Ireland and Wales at the Aviva Stadium in Dublin, Ireland, on February 7, 2016. / AFP / PAUL FAITHPAUL FAITH/AFP/Getty Images
DUBLIN, IRELAND - FEBRUARY 07: George North of Wales in action during the RBS Six Nations match between Ireland and Wales at the Aviva Stadium at Aviva Stadium on February 7, 2016 in Dublin, Ireland. (Photo by Stu Forster/Getty Images)
DUBLIN, IRELAND - FEBRUARY 07: (EDITOR'S NOTE: Image was created as an Equirectangular Panorama. Import image into a panoramic player to create an interactive 360 degree view.) The teams enter the arena ahead of the RBS Six Nations match between Ireland and Wales at the Aviva Stadium on February 7, 2016 in Dublin, Ireland. (Photo by David Rogers/Getty Images)
DUBLIN, IRELAND - FEBRUARY 07: (EDITOR'S NOTE: Image was created as an Equirectangular Panorama. Import image into a panoramic player to create an interactive 360 degree view.) The teams line up ahead of the RBS Six Nations match between Ireland and Wales at the Aviva Stadium on February 7, 2016 in Dublin, Ireland. (Photo by David Rogers/Getty Images)
DUBLIN, IRELAND - FEBRUARY 07: Devin Toner of Ireland wins lineout ball under pressure from Alun Wyn Jones of Wales during the RBS Six Nations match between Ireland and Wales at the Aviva Stadium at Aviva Stadium on February 7, 2016 in Dublin, Ireland. (Photo by Stu Forster/Getty Images)
Ireland's full back Simon Zebo (L) is tackled by Wales' centre Jamie Roberts during the Six Nations international rugby union match between Ireland and Wales at the Aviva Stadium in Dublin, Ireland, on February 7, 2016. / AFP / PAUL FAITHPAUL FAITH/AFP/Getty Images
Ireland's full back Simon Zebo (L) is tackled by Wales' centre Jamie Roberts during the Six Nations international rugby union match between Ireland and Wales at the Aviva Stadium in Dublin, Ireland, on February 7, 2016. / AFP / PAUL FAITHPAUL FAITH/AFP/Getty Images
Ireland's Sean Cronin (C) is tackled during the Six Nations international rugby union match between Ireland and Wales at the Aviva Stadium in Dublin, Ireland, on February 7, 2016. / AFP / PAUL FAITHPAUL FAITH/AFP/Getty Images
DUBLIN, IRELAND - FEBRUARY 07: Gareth Davies of Wales passes the ball during the RBS Six Nations match between Ireland and Wales at the Aviva Stadium on February 7, 2016 in Dublin, Ireland. (Photo by David Rogers/Getty Images)
DUBLIN, IRELAND - FEBRUARY 07: Liam Williams of Wales takes on Keith Earls of Ireland during the RBS Six Nations match between Ireland and Wales at the Aviva Stadium on February 7, 2016 in Dublin, Ireland. (Photo by Stu Forster/Getty Images)
Ireland's Andrew Trimble (centre left) is tackled Wales' Taulupe Faletau during the 2016 RBS Six Nations match at the Aviva Stadium, Dublin. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Picture date: Sunday February 7, 2016. See PA story RUGBYU Ireland. Photo credit should read: Niall Carson/PA Wire. RESTRICTIONS APPLY: Editorial use only. No commercial or promotional use without prior consent from IRFU. No alterations or doctoring. For further information please call +44 (0)115 8447447.
DUBLIN, IRELAND - FEBRUARY 07: Devin Toner of Ireland wins lineout ball under pressure from Alun Wyn Jones of Wales during the RBS Six Nations match between Ireland and Wales at the Aviva Stadium on February 7, 2016 in Dublin, Ireland. (Photo by Stu Forster/Getty Images)
Wales' Taulupe Faletau (right) is tackled by Ireland's Jack McGrath during the 2016 RBS Six Nations match at the Aviva Stadium, Dublin. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Picture date: Sunday February 7, 2016. See PA story RUGBYU Ireland. Photo credit should read: Niall Carson/PA Wire. RESTRICTIONS APPLY: Editorial use only. No commercial or promotional use without prior consent from IRFU. No alterations or doctoring. For further information please call +44 (0)115 8447447.
Wales' Tom James (right) is tackled by Ireland's Keith Earls during the 2016 RBS Six Nations match at the Aviva Stadium, Dublin. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Picture date: Sunday February 7, 2016. See PA story RUGBYU Ireland. Photo credit should read: Niall Carson/PA Wire. RESTRICTIONS APPLY: Editorial use only. No commercial or promotional use without prior consent from IRFU. No alterations or doctoring. For further information please call +44 (0)115 8447447.
Wales' Jonathan Davies hands off Ireland's CJ Stander during the 2016 RBS Six Nations match at the Aviva Stadium, Dublin. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Picture date: Sunday February 7, 2016. See PA story RUGBYU Ireland. Photo credit should read: Brian Lawless/PA Wire. RESTRICTIONS APPLY: Editorial use only. No commercial or promotional use without prior consent from IRFU. No alterations or doctoring. For further information please call +44 (0)115 8447447.
Ireland's Johnny Sexton and Wales' Rob Evans during the 2016 RBS Six Nations match at the Aviva Stadium, Dublin. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Picture date: Sunday February 7, 2016. See PA story RUGBYU Ireland. Photo credit should read: Brian Lawless/PA Wire. RESTRICTIONS APPLY: Editorial use only. No commercial or promotional use without prior consent from IRFU. No alterations or doctoring. For further information please call +44 (0)115 8447447.
DUBLIN, IRELAND - FEBRUARY 07: Andrew Trimble of Ireland is tackled by Justin Tipuric of Wales adfter carrying the ball over his own tryline during the RBS Six Nations match between Ireland and Wales at the Aviva Stadium on February 7, 2016 in Dublin, Ireland. (Photo by David Rogers/Getty Images)
DUBLIN, IRELAND - FEBRUARY 07: Andrew Trimble of Ireland is tackled by Justin Tipuric of Wales adfter carrying the ball over his own tryline during the RBS Six Nations match between Ireland and Wales at the Aviva Stadium on February 7, 2016 in Dublin, Ireland. (Photo by David Rogers/Getty Images)
Wales' George North is tackled by Ireland's CJ Stander (left) and Rory Best during the 2016 RBS Six Nations match at the Aviva Stadium, Dublin. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Picture date: Sunday February 7, 2016. See PA story RUGBYU Ireland. Photo credit should read: Brian Lawless/PA Wire. RESTRICTIONS APPLY: Editorial use only. No commercial or promotional use without prior consent from IRFU. No alterations or doctoring. For further information please call +44 (0)115 8447447.
Wales' Liam Williams and Ireland's Andrew Trimble (left) during the 2016 RBS Six Nations match at the Aviva Stadium, Dublin. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Picture date: Sunday February 7, 2016. See PA story RUGBYU Ireland. Photo credit should read: Brian Lawless/PA Wire. RESTRICTIONS APPLY: Editorial use only. No commercial or promotional use without prior consent from IRFU. No alterations or doctoring. For further information please call +44 (0)115 8447447.
TOPSHOT - Wales' number 8 Taulupe Faletau (C) scores his team's first try during the Six Nations international rugby union match between Ireland and Wales at the Aviva Stadium in Dublin, Ireland, on February 7, 2016. / AFP / PAUL FAITHPAUL FAITH/AFP/Getty Images
Wales' Tom James during the 2016 RBS Six Nations match at the Aviva Stadium, Dublin. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Picture date: Sunday February 7, 2016. See PA story RUGBYU Ireland. Photo credit should read: Brian Lawless/PA Wire. RESTRICTIONS APPLY: Editorial use only. No commercial or promotional use without prior consent from IRFU. No alterations or doctoring. For further information please call +44 (0)115 8447447.
Wales' George North is tackled by Ireland's Rory Best during the 2016 RBS Six Nations match at the Aviva Stadium, Dublin. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Picture date: Sunday February 7, 2016. See PA story RUGBYU Ireland. Photo credit should read: Brian Lawless/PA Wire. RESTRICTIONS APPLY: Editorial use only. No commercial or promotional use without prior consent from IRFU. No alterations or doctoring. For further information please call +44 (0)115 8447447.
DUBLIN, IRELAND - FEBRUARY 07: Liam Williams of Wales is dumped by Keith Earls of Ireland during the RBS Six Nations match between Ireland and Wales at the Aviva Stadium on February 7, 2016 in Dublin, Ireland. (Photo by David Rogers/Getty Images)
DUBLIN, IRELAND - FEBRUARY 07: Jamie Roberts of Wales is tackle by Jack McGrath and CJ Stander of Ireland during the RBS Six Nations match between Ireland and Wales at the Aviva Stadium on February 7, 2016 in Dublin, Ireland. (Photo by David Rogers/Getty Images)
DUBLIN, IRELAND - FEBRUARY 07: Liam Williams of Wales is dumped by Keith Earls of Ireland during the RBS Six Nations match between Ireland and Wales at the Aviva Stadium on February 7, 2016 in Dublin, Ireland. (Photo by David Rogers/Getty Images)
DUBLIN, IRELAND - FEBRUARY 07: Jonathan Davies of Wales hands off CJ Stander of Ireland during the RBS Six Nations match between Ireland and Wales at the Aviva Stadium on February 7, 2016 in Dublin, Ireland. (Photo by David Rogers/Getty Images)
Welsh rugby fans wait in the stands ahead of the Six Nations international rugby union match between Ireland and Wales at the Aviva Stadium in Dublin, Ireland, on February 7, 2016. / AFP / PAUL FAITHPAUL FAITH/AFP/Getty Images
Welsh rugby fans wait in the stands ahead of the Six Nations international rugby union match between Ireland and Wales at the Aviva Stadium in Dublin, Ireland, on February 7, 2016. / AFP / PAUL FAITHPAUL FAITH/AFP/Getty Images
Ireland's hooker Rory Best (C) warms up with team mates ahead of the Six Nations international rugby union match between Ireland and Wales at the Aviva Stadium in Dublin, Ireland, on February 7, 2016. / AFP / PAUL FAITHPAUL FAITH/AFP/Getty Images
The Irish team huddle on the pitch ahead of the Six Nations international rugby union match between Ireland and Wales at the Aviva Stadium in Dublin, Ireland, on February 7, 2016. / AFP / PAUL FAITHPAUL FAITH/AFP/Getty Images
Ireland head coach Joe' Schmidt (centre) gives a pre match team talk during the 2016 RBS Six Nations match at the Aviva Stadium, Dublin. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Picture date: Sunday February 7, 2016. See PA story RUGBYU Ireland. Photo credit should read: Niall Carson/PA Wire. RESTRICTIONS APPLY: Editorial use only. No commercial or promotional use without prior consent from IRFU. No alterations or doctoring. For further information please call +44 (0)115 8447447.
DUBLIN, IRELAND - FEBRUARY 07: Wales fans enjoy the pre match atmosphere during the RBS Six Nations match between Ireland and Wales at the Aviva Stadium on February 7, 2016 in Dublin, Ireland. (Photo by Stu Forster/Getty Images)
Ireland's hooker Rory Best (2L) warms up with teammates ahead of the Six Nations international rugby union match between Ireland and Wales at the Aviva Stadium in Dublin, Ireland, on February 7, 2016. / AFP / PAUL FAITHPAUL FAITH/AFP/Getty Images
DUBLIN, IRELAND - FEBRUARY 07: Wales fans enjoy the pre match atmosphere during the RBS Six Nations match between Ireland and Wales at the Aviva Stadium on February 7, 2016 in Dublin, Ireland. (Photo by Stu Forster/Getty Images)
DUBLIN, IRELAND - FEBRUARY 07: Jonathan Sexton of Ireland kicks a penalty during the RBS Six Nations match between Ireland and Wales at the Aviva Stadium on February 7, 2016 in Dublin, Ireland. (Photo by Stu Forster/Getty Images)
DUBLIN, IRELAND - FEBRUARY 07: Jamie Heaslip of Ireland is wrapped up by Luke Charteris and Alun Wyn Jones of Wales during the RBS Six Nations match between Ireland and Wales at the Aviva Stadium on February 7, 2016 in Dublin, Ireland. (Photo by Stu Forster/Getty Images)
DUBLIN, IRELAND - FEBRUARY 07: Jonathan Sexton of Ireland kicks a penalty during the RBS Six Nations match between Ireland and Wales at the Aviva Stadium on February 7, 2016 in Dublin, Ireland. (Photo by Stu Forster/Getty Images)
Ireland's Jamie Heaslip (centre) is tackled by Wales' Alun Wyn Jones (right) and Luke Charteris during the 2016 RBS Six Nations match at the Aviva Stadium, Dublin. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Picture date: Sunday February 7, 2016. See PA story RUGBYU Ireland. Photo credit should read: Niall Carson/PA Wire. RESTRICTIONS APPLY: Editorial use only. No commercial or promotional use without prior consent from IRFU. No alterations or doctoring. For further information please call +44 (0)115 8447447.
DUBLIN, IRELAND - FEBRUARY 07: Jamie Heaslip of Ireland is wrapped up by Luke Charteris and Alun Wyn Jones of Wales during the RBS Six Nations match between Ireland and Wales at the Aviva Stadium on February 7, 2016 in Dublin, Ireland. (Photo by Stu Forster/Getty Images)
DUBLIN, IRELAND - FEBRUARY 07: Jamie Heaslip of Ireland is wrapped up by Luke Charteris and Alun Wyn Jones of Wales during the RBS Six Nations match between Ireland and Wales at the Aviva Stadium on February 7, 2016 in Dublin, Ireland. (Photo by Stu Forster/Getty Images)
Ireland's Connor Murray (left) is tackled by Wales' Scott Baldwin during the 2016 RBS Six Nations match at the Aviva Stadium, Dublin. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Picture date: Sunday February 7, 2016. See PA story RUGBYU Ireland. Photo credit should read: Niall Carson/PA Wire. RESTRICTIONS APPLY: Editorial use only. No commercial or promotional use without prior consent from IRFU. No alterations or doctoring. For further information please call +44 (0)115 8447447.
DUBLIN, IRELAND - FEBRUARY 07: Simon Zebo of Ireland is hauled down by Jonathan Davies of Wales during the RBS Six Nations match between Ireland and Wales at the Aviva Stadium on February 7, 2016 in Dublin, Ireland. (Photo by Stu Forster/Getty Images)
DUBLIN, IRELAND - FEBRUARY 07: Jamie Heaslip of Ireland is tackled by Luke Charteris and Sam Warburton of Wales during the RBS Six Nations match between Ireland and Wales at the Aviva Stadium on February 7, 2016 in Dublin, Ireland. (Photo by Stu Forster/Getty Images)
DUBLIN, IRELAND - FEBRUARY 07: Jamie Heaslip of Ireland is tackled by Luke Charteris and Sam Warburton of Wales during the RBS Six Nations match between Ireland and Wales at the Aviva Stadium on February 7, 2016 in Dublin, Ireland. (Photo by Stu Forster/Getty Images)
Ireland's Jamie Heaslip (centre) is tackled by Wales' Alun Wyn Jones (right) and Luke Charteris during the 2016 RBS Six Nations match at the Aviva Stadium, Dublin. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Picture date: Sunday February 7, 2016. See PA story RUGBYU Ireland. Photo credit should read: Niall Carson/PA Wire. RESTRICTIONS APPLY: Editorial use only. No commercial or promotional use without prior consent from IRFU. No alterations or doctoring. For further information please call +44 (0)115 8447447.
Ireland's Andrew Trimble (centre) is tackled by Wales' Alun Wyn Jones (right) during the 2016 RBS Six Nations match at the Aviva Stadium, Dublin. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Picture date: Sunday February 7, 2016. See PA story RUGBYU Ireland. Photo credit should read: Niall Carson/PA Wire. RESTRICTIONS APPLY: Editorial use only. No commercial or promotional use without prior consent from IRFU. No alterations or doctoring. For further information please call +44 (0)115 8447447.
DUBLIN, IRELAND - FEBRUARY 07: CJ Stander of Ireland is tackled by Sam Warburton of Wales during the RBS Six Nations match between Ireland and Wales at the Aviva Stadium on February 7, 2016 in Dublin, Ireland. (Photo by Stu Forster/Getty Images)
DUBLIN, IRELAND - FEBRUARY 07: Jamie Heaslip of Ireland hands off Sam Warburton of Wales during the RBS Six Nations match between Ireland and Wales at the Aviva Stadium on February 7, 2016 in Dublin, Ireland. (Photo by Stu Forster/Getty Images)
DUBLIN, IRELAND - FEBRUARY 07: CJ Stander of Ireland is tackled by Sam Warburton of Wales during the RBS Six Nations match between Ireland and Wales at the Aviva Stadium on February 7, 2016 in Dublin, Ireland. (Photo by Stu Forster/Getty Images)
Ireland's Kieran Marmion (right) is tackled by Wales' Justin Tipuric during the 2016 RBS Six Nations match at the Aviva Stadium, Dublin. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Picture date: Sunday February 7, 2016. See PA story RUGBYU Ireland. Photo credit should read: Niall Carson/PA Wire. RESTRICTIONS APPLY: Editorial use only. No commercial or promotional use without prior consent from IRFU. No alterations or doctoring. For further information please call +44 (0)115 8447447.
DUBLIN, IRELAND - FEBRUARY 07: Jamie Heaslip of Ireland hands off Sam Warburton of Wales during the RBS Six Nations match between Ireland and Wales at the Aviva Stadium on February 7, 2016 in Dublin, Ireland. (Photo by Stu Forster/Getty Images)
Ireland's Kieran Marmion (centre) is tackled by Wales' Justin Tipuric during the 2016 RBS Six Nations match at the Aviva Stadium, Dublin. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Picture date: Sunday February 7, 2016. See PA story RUGBYU Ireland. Photo credit should read: Niall Carson/PA Wire. RESTRICTIONS APPLY: Editorial use only. No commercial or promotional use without prior consent from IRFU. No alterations or doctoring. For further information please call +44 (0)115 8447447.
Ireland's Nathan White (left) is tackle by Wales' Samson Lee during the 2016 RBS Six Nations match at the Aviva Stadium, Dublin. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Picture date: Sunday February 7, 2016. See PA story RUGBYU Ireland. Photo credit should read: Niall Carson/PA Wire. RESTRICTIONS APPLY: Editorial use only. No commercial or promotional use without prior consent from IRFU. No alterations or doctoring. For further information please call +44 (0)115 8447447.
DUBLIN, IRELAND - FEBRUARY 07: (L-R) Rory Best and Jack McGrath of Ireland line up for the national anthems prior to kickoff during the RBS Six Nations match between Ireland and Wales at the Aviva Stadium on February 7, 2016 in Dublin, Ireland. (Photo by Stu Forster/Getty Images)
Ireland's Jonathan Sexton in kicking action during the 2016 RBS Six Nations match at the Aviva Stadium, Dublin. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Picture date: Sunday February 7, 2016. See PA story RUGBYU Ireland. Photo credit should read: Niall Carson/PA Wire. RESTRICTIONS APPLY: Editorial use only. No commercial or promotional use without prior consent from IRFU. No alterations or doctoring. For further information please call +44 (0)115 8447447.
DUBLIN, IRELAND - FEBRUARY 07: Jonathan Sexton of Ireland is hauled down by Rob Evans of Wales during the RBS Six Nations match between Ireland and Wales at the Aviva Stadium on February 7, 2016 in Dublin, Ireland. (Photo by Stu Forster/Getty Images)
DUBLIN, IRELAND - FEBRUARY 07: The injured Dan Biggar of Wales leaves the pitch midway through the first half during the RBS Six Nations match between Ireland and Wales at the Aviva Stadium on February 7, 2016 in Dublin, Ireland. (Photo by Stu Forster/Getty Images)
DUBLIN, IRELAND - FEBRUARY 07: The injured Dan Biggar of Wales leaves the pitch midway through the first half during the RBS Six Nations match between Ireland and Wales at the Aviva Stadium on February 7, 2016 in Dublin, Ireland. (Photo by Stu Forster/Getty Images)
DUBLIN, IRELAND - FEBRUARY 07: The injured Dan Biggar of Wales leaves the pitch midway through the first half during the RBS Six Nations match between Ireland and Wales at the Aviva Stadium on February 7, 2016 in Dublin, Ireland. (Photo by Stu Forster/Getty Images)
Wales' Liam Williams (centre) is tackled by Ireland's Andrew Trimble (left) during the 2016 RBS Six Nations match at the Aviva Stadium, Dublin. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Picture date: Sunday February 7, 2016. See PA story RUGBYU Ireland. Photo credit should read: Niall Carson/PA Wire. RESTRICTIONS APPLY: Editorial use only. No commercial or promotional use without prior consent from IRFU. No alterations or doctoring. For further information please call +44 (0)115 8447447.
DUBLIN, IRELAND - FEBRUARY 07: The injured Dan Biggar of Wales leaves the pitch midway through the first half during the RBS Six Nations match between Ireland and Wales at the Aviva Stadium on February 7, 2016 in Dublin, Ireland. (Photo by Stu Forster/Getty Images)
DUBLIN, IRELAND - FEBRUARY 07: Conor Murray of Ireland crashes through the tackle from Justin Tipuric of Wales to score the opening try during the RBS Six Nations match between Ireland and Wales at the Aviva Stadium on February 7, 2016 in Dublin, Ireland. (Photo by Stu Forster/Getty Images)
DUBLIN, IRELAND - FEBRUARY 07: Conor Murray of Ireland crashes through the tackle from Justin Tipuric of Wales to score the opening try during the RBS Six Nations match between Ireland and Wales at the Aviva Stadium on February 7, 2016 in Dublin, Ireland. (Photo by Stu Forster/Getty Images)
Ireland's Conor Murray (centre right) scores a try during the 2016 RBS Six Nations match at the Aviva Stadium, Dublin. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Picture date: Sunday February 7, 2016. See PA story RUGBYU Ireland. Photo credit should read: Niall Carson/PA Wire. RESTRICTIONS APPLY: Editorial use only. No commercial or promotional use without prior consent from IRFU. No alterations or doctoring. For further information please call +44 (0)115 8447447.
DUBLIN, IRELAND - FEBRUARY 07: Liam Williams of Wales receives treatment following a tackle by Keith Earls (R) of Ireland during the RBS Six Nations match between Ireland and Wales at the Aviva Stadium on February 7, 2016 in Dublin, Ireland. (Photo by Stu Forster/Getty Images)
Wales' Tom James is tackled by Ireland's CJ Stander during the 2016 RBS Six Nations match at the Aviva Stadium, Dublin. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Picture date: Sunday February 7, 2016. See PA story RUGBYU Ireland. Photo credit should read: Brian Lawless/PA Wire. RESTRICTIONS APPLY: Editorial use only. No commercial or promotional use without prior consent from IRFU. No alterations or doctoring. For further information please call +44 (0)115 8447447.
DUBLIN, IRELAND - FEBRUARY 07: Liam Williams of Wales receives treatment following a tackle by Keith Earls (R) of Ireland during the RBS Six Nations match between Ireland and Wales at the Aviva Stadium on February 7, 2016 in Dublin, Ireland. (Photo by Stu Forster/Getty Images)
Wales' Dan Biggar (left) and Ireland's Conor Murray battle for a high ball during the 2016 RBS Six Nations match at the Aviva Stadium, Dublin. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Picture date: Sunday February 7, 2016. See PA story RUGBYU Ireland. Photo credit should read: Brian Lawless/PA Wire. RESTRICTIONS APPLY: Editorial use only. No commercial or promotional use without prior consent from IRFU. No alterations or doctoring. For further information please call +44 (0)115 8447447.
DUBLIN, IRELAND - FEBRUARY 07: Liam Williams (R) of Wales looks on during the RBS Six Nations match between Ireland and Wales at the Aviva Stadium on February 7, 2016 in Dublin, Ireland. (Photo by Stu Forster/Getty Images)
Ireland's Jamie Heaslip (bottom right) is tackled by Wales' Jonathan Davies (right) during the 2016 RBS Six Nations match at the Aviva Stadium, Dublin. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Picture date: Sunday February 7, 2016. See PA story RUGBYU Ireland. Photo credit should read: Niall Carson/PA Wire. RESTRICTIONS APPLY: Editorial use only. No commercial or promotional use without prior consent from IRFU. No alterations or doctoring. For further information please call +44 (0)115 8447447.
Wales' wing George North (C) vies with Ireland's centre Jared Payne (R) during the Six Nations international rugby union match between Ireland and Wales at the Aviva Stadium in Dublin, Ireland, on February 7, 2016. / AFP / PAUL FAITHPAUL FAITH/AFP/Getty Images
Ireland's Mike McCarthy wins a lineout during the 2016 RBS Six Nations match at the Aviva Stadium, Dublin. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Picture date: Sunday February 7, 2016. See PA story RUGBYU Ireland. Photo credit should read: Niall Carson/PA Wire. RESTRICTIONS APPLY: Editorial use only. No commercial or promotional use without prior consent from IRFU. No alterations or doctoring. For further information please call +44 (0)115 8447447.
Ireland's wing Andrew Trimble (C) vies with Wales' lock Alun Wyn Jones (L) and Wales' wing Tom James during the Six Nations international rugby union match between Ireland and Wales at the Aviva Stadium in Dublin, Ireland, on February 7, 2016. / AFP / PAUL FAITHPAUL FAITH/AFP/Getty Images
DUBLIN, IRELAND - FEBRUARY 07: Robbie Henshaw of Ireland is tackled by Jamie Roberts of Wales during the RBS Six Nations match between Ireland and Wales at the Aviva Stadium on February 7, 2016 in Dublin, Ireland. (Photo by Stu Forster/Getty Images)
Wales' Gareth Davies loses control of the ball during the 2016 RBS Six Nations match at the Aviva Stadium, Dublin. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Picture date: Sunday February 7, 2016. See PA story RUGBYU Ireland. Photo credit should read: Niall Carson/PA Wire. RESTRICTIONS APPLY: Editorial use only. No commercial or promotional use without prior consent from IRFU. No alterations or doctoring. For further information please call +44 (0)115 8447447.
DUBLIN, IRELAND - FEBRUARY 07: Robbie Henshaw of Ireland is tackled by Jonathan Davies (L) and Jamie Roberts (R) of Wales during the RBS Six Nations match between Ireland and Wales at the Aviva Stadium on February 7, 2016 in Dublin, Ireland. (Photo by Stu Forster/Getty Images)
Ireland's Jared Payne (centre) is tackled by Wales' Jonathan Davies and Rhys Priestland (right) during the 2016 RBS Six Nations match at the Aviva Stadium, Dublin. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Picture date: Sunday February 7, 2016. See PA story RUGBYU Ireland. Photo credit should read: Niall Carson/PA Wire. RESTRICTIONS APPLY: Editorial use only. No commercial or promotional use without prior consent from IRFU. No alterations or doctoring. For further information please call +44 (0)115 8447447.
Wales' number 8 Taulupe Faletau (C) scores his team's first try during the Six Nations international rugby union match between Ireland and Wales at the Aviva Stadium in Dublin, Ireland, on February 7, 2016. / AFP / PAUL FAITHPAUL FAITH/AFP/Getty Images
Wales' Tom James during the 2016 RBS Six Nations match at the Aviva Stadium, Dublin. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Picture date: Sunday February 7, 2016. See PA story RUGBYU Ireland. Photo credit should read: Niall Carson/PA Wire. RESTRICTIONS APPLY: Editorial use only. No commercial or promotional use without prior consent from IRFU. No alterations or doctoring. For further information please call +44 (0)115 8447447.
Wales' number 8 Taulupe Faletau (C) scores his team's first try during the Six Nations international rugby union match between Ireland and Wales at the Aviva Stadium in Dublin, Ireland, on February 7, 2016. / AFP / PAUL FAITHPAUL FAITH/AFP/Getty Images
Wales' Taulupe Faletau scores a try during the 2016 RBS Six Nations match at the Aviva Stadium, Dublin. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Picture date: Sunday February 7, 2016. See PA story RUGBYU Ireland. Photo credit should read: Brian Lawless/PA Wire. RESTRICTIONS APPLY: Editorial use only. No commercial or promotional use without prior consent from IRFU. No alterations or doctoring. For further information please call +44 (0)115 8447447.
Wales' number 8 Taulupe Faletau (C) scores his team's first try during the Six Nations international rugby union match between Ireland and Wales at the Aviva Stadium in Dublin, Ireland, on February 7, 2016. / AFP / PAUL FAITHPAUL FAITH/AFP/Getty Images
DUBLIN, IRELAND - FEBRUARY 07: George North of Wales is challenged by Jared Payne of Ireland during the RBS Six Nations match between Ireland and Wales at the Aviva Stadium on February 7, 2016 in Dublin, Ireland. (Photo by David Rogers/Getty Images)
Ireland's Simon Zebo and Wales' Dan Biggar during the 2016 RBS Six Nations match at the Aviva Stadium, Dublin. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Picture date: Sunday February 7, 2016. See PA story RUGBYU Ireland. Photo credit should read: Brian Lawless/PA Wire. RESTRICTIONS APPLY: Editorial use only. No commercial or promotional use without prior consent from IRFU. No alterations or doctoring. For further information please call +44 (0)115 8447447.
DUBLIN, IRELAND - FEBRUARY 07: Liam Williams of Wales takes on Jamie Heaslip of Ireland during the RBS Six Nations match between Ireland and Wales at the Aviva Stadium on February 7, 2016 in Dublin, Ireland. (Photo by David Rogers/Getty Images)
Wales' Justin Tipuric tackled by Ireland's CJ Stander (right) and Jamie Heaslip during the 2016 RBS Six Nations match at the Aviva Stadium, Dublin. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Picture date: Sunday February 7, 2016. See PA story RUGBYU Ireland. Photo credit should read: Brian Lawless/PA Wire. RESTRICTIONS APPLY: Editorial use only. No commercial or promotional use without prior consent from IRFU. No alterations or doctoring. For further information please call +44 (0)115 8447447.
Wales' wing George North (L) and Wales' number 8 Taulupe Faletau (C) vie against Ireland's wing Andrew Trimble during the Six Nations international rugby union match between Ireland and Wales at the Aviva Stadium in Dublin, Ireland, on February 7, 2016. / AFP / PAUL FAITHPAUL FAITH/AFP/Getty Images
Ireland and Wales' players walk out during the 2016 RBS Six Nations match at the Aviva Stadium, Dublin. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Picture date: Sunday February 7, 2016. See PA story RUGBYU Ireland. Photo credit should read: Niall Carson/PA Wire. RESTRICTIONS APPLY: Editorial use only. No commercial or promotional use without prior consent from IRFU. No alterations or doctoring. For further information please call +44 (0)115 8447447.
DUBLIN, IRELAND - FEBRUARY 07: Taulupe Faletau of Wales forces his way over the lineto score his team's first try during the RBS Six Nations match between Ireland and Wales at the Aviva Stadium on February 7, 2016 in Dublin, Ireland. (Photo by David Rogers/Getty Images)
DUBLIN, IRELAND - FEBRUARY 07: Taulupe Faletau of Wales forces his way over the lineto score his team's first try during the RBS Six Nations match between Ireland and Wales at the Aviva Stadium on February 7, 2016 in Dublin, Ireland. (Photo by David Rogers/Getty Images)
Ireland and Wales players lineup to sing the national anthems before the 2016 RBS Six Nations match at the Aviva Stadium, Dublin. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Picture date: Sunday February 7, 2016. See PA story RUGBYU Ireland. Photo credit should read: Niall Carson/PA Wire. RESTRICTIONS APPLY: Editorial use only. No commercial or promotional use without prior consent from IRFU. No alterations or doctoring. For further information please call +44 (0)115 8447447.

It was only a matter of time before Ireland's inept scrummaging came back to haunt them. That White is considered a worthwhile project player is a mystery.

At nearly 35 years of age, his best years are clearly behind him, yet he was picked at tight-head yesterday, while a young, hungry alternative in Tadhg Furlong was left languishing on the bench.

White was turned inside out during the first half against 23-year-old Rob Evans, who was earning just his fourth international cap. Where Schmidt was unwilling to place his faith in Furlong, Warren Gatland was quite happy to back a young prop. Only when Evans was substituted after 55 minutes did Ireland manage to lock out the scrum.

Wales seized the initiative from Ireland's misfiring scrum and they fought back to level the match at the start of the second half. From there, both sides failed to find the killer blow.

The injuries in the Ireland camp are well documented but one cannot help but feel that Schmidt missed a trick with his starting team. Simon Zebo looks great carrying the ball into space, but he remains vulnerable in defence and he was caught out of position on too many occasions against Wales.

Jared Payne was wholly ineffective at outside centre where he struggles to find space. Why wasn't he afforded the opportunity to start in his best position at full back? With Rob Kearney injured and Stuart McCloskey in the form of his life, it was a prime opportunity to test out a different Irish back line.

Too many times Ireland seemed content just to carry the ball into contact and hope that quick, recycled ball would be sufficient to catch Wales off guard. It wasn't, and Murray's first half try was all that Ireland could manage for their efforts.

Now, with France in Paris to come on Saturday, it remains to be seen if Ireland can gather themselves for another high-intensity assault in the French capital.

A six-day turnaround won't do much for the walking wounded list and it is now painfully clear that Schmidt is unwilling to deviate from his predictable game plan.

France were riddled with errors against Italy, but they were also full of invention and offloading. If that game plan clicks this weekend, Ireland could be in trouble.

For Guy Noves, however, Ireland's blueprint is as it always has been under Schmidt: narrow, predictable and overly reliant on aggression and commitment. Alas, nothing has changed since the World Cup.

Belfast Telegraph

How to Complain

If you have a complaint about the editorial content of the Belfast Telegraph or Sunday Life then contact the Editor here. If you are not satisfied with the response provided then you can contact the Independent Press Standards Organisation here

Your Comments

COMMENT RULES: Comments that are judged to be defamatory, abusive or in bad taste are not acceptable and contributors who consistently fall below certain criteria will be permanently blacklisted. The moderator will not enter into debate with individual contributors and the moderator’s decision is final. It is Belfast Telegraph policy to close comments on court cases, tribunals and active legal investigations. We may also close comments on articles which are being targeted for abuse. Problems with commenting? customercare@belfasttelegraph.co.uk

Read More

From Belfast Telegraph