Monday 23 July 2018

What time, what channel and what are the teams? Everything you need to know about Ireland vs Wales

23 February 2018; Ireland players Peter O'Mahony, left, and Jonathan Sexton with IRFU President Phil Orr during the taking of their squad photo prior to their captain's run at the Aviva Stadium in Dublin. Photo by Brendan Moran/Sportsfile
23 February 2018; Ireland players Peter O'Mahony, left, and Jonathan Sexton with IRFU President Phil Orr during the taking of their squad photo prior to their captain's run at the Aviva Stadium in Dublin. Photo by Brendan Moran/Sportsfile

Sam Roberts

Ireland play Wales in the third round of the Six Nations on Saturday with a Grand Slam still on the cards following wins over France and Italy.

Here is everything you need to know about tomorrow's game:

What time is kick-off?

Kick-off in the Aviva Stadium is at 2:15 PM.

Where can I watch it?

The game will be shown on TV3, with coverage starting at 1 PM.

What are the line-ups?

Robbie Henshaw, Iain Henderson and Tadhg Furlong are the big-name absentees from the Irish side, failing to recover from injuries sustained in Ireland's last outing against Italy two weeks ago.

R Kearney, K Earls, C Farrell, B Aki, J Stockdale, J Sexton, C Murray; C Healy, R Best, A Porter, J Ryan, D Toner, P O'Mahony, D Leavy, CJ Stander

Wales will be without Lions captain Sam Warburton and his backrow colleague Taulupe Faletau, but Josh Navidi and Ross Moriarty are more-than-able replacements in the backrow, while Dan Biggar replaces Rhys Patchell at fly-half.

L Halfpenny, L Williams, S Williams, H Parkes, S Evans, D Biggar, G Davies; R Evans, K Owens, S Lee, C Hill, AW Jones, A Shingler, J Navidi, R Moriarty

What are the coaches saying?

Joe Schmidt has cut an uncharacteristically frustrated figure in the build-up, hitting back at criticism that his Ireland side has often been a blunt attacking force in big games, failing to cross the whitewash against France on the opening weekend.

"Sometimes it is frustrating because there is all this opportunity, one opposition coach (Gatland) has tried to create that story and people have picked it up without doing their own analysis," Schmidt said.

Welsh defence coach Shaun Edwards for his part is anticipating a repeat of last year's intensely physical meeting between the two sides in Cardiff, where Wales were forced to make 185 tackles, albeit without conceding a try.

"They are a team who very rarely lose the ball. They wear teams down," Edwards told the media on Thursday.

"We are expecting to have to make 200 tackles."

What are the pundits saying?

On the Irish side, there are definite nerves. Neil Francis described Wales as the "thorn in our side", as Ireland have only beaten the Welsh once in five meetings since 2014.

"This is a grudge match and I feel the visitors have a whole lot more than a puncher's chance. I have a bad feeling about this one," Francis wrote.

WalesOnline writer Gwyn Jones reflects a more confident Welsh outlook, predicting Wales will come through with a narrow victory.

"I think Wales will be well-prepared for the battle in Dublin. They managed the physicality of England pretty well," Jones said.

"Should Wales cope with that onslaught, I think they have shown they have the prowess to open up defences."

What are the odds?

The bookies make Ireland the favourite - PaddyPower have Ireland to win at 3/10, Wales at 13/5.

Online Editors

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