- 19:47, 5 Feb 2022
- Updated: 19:47, 5 Feb 2022
WALES’ Six Nations title defence has got off to the worst possible start as they have been hammered by four-try Ireland.
Bundee Aki got the Irish off to a stunning start in Dublin with an early try which has been converted by Johnny Sexton.
And Andrew Conway then scored a second for the Irish to put them in complete control.
A yellow card for Josh Adams put Welsh backs further up against the wall and allowed Conway to run in his second and Ireland’s third try.
Gary Ringrose then crossed the line to earn Andy Farrell’s men the crucial bonus point.
Taine Basham grabbed a consolation breakaway try late on in an otherwise forgettable game for Wales.
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Wales captain Dan Biggar admitted his team “didn’t get much right”,
Biggar said: “We didn’t get much right but credit to Ireland, they played the conditions well and strangled us physically.
“It will be a tough watch back on Monday because the big thing we wanted to focus on this week was physicality and we didn’t get that right.
“Ireland dominated that and we couldn’t get on the front foot.
“Obviously missing the big players is an issue but we were missing the physicality and discipline.
“It’s been a disappointing afternoon and we haven’t got long to get it right.
“It’s a must-win next week if we have any hope of keeping hold of our title.
“Ireland had a big home advantage today but we can’t wait to get back to Cardiff next week”
Scotland 20 England 17
England beat themselves at Murrayfield as their Grand Slam hopes crashed and burned at the first hurdle.
And Eddie Jones will not need telling that this was the sort of self-inflicted loss that will burn for months.
On a Murrayfield night when Marcus Smith came of age, scoring a try of glorious improvisation, England collectively lacked the maturity to see out a match that was theirs for the taking.
Instead, Luke Cowan-Dickie’s needless yellow card proved the critical moment as 70 minutes of almost total domination counted for absolutely nothing as they squandered the Calcutta Cup.
England were in control, seven points to the good, needing only to keep their heads despite squandering so much possession.
But Cowan-Dickie, isolated against wing Darcy Graham under a steepler, lost his bearings and his faculties, batting the ball into touch with no attempt to catch it.
Penalty try, yellow card, victory transformed into aching defeat when the seven man scrum collapsed to allow Finn Russell the chance to steal the win
Ireland captain Johnny Sexton insists his team will now have to build momentum.
Sexton told ITV: “Against the reigning champions to come away with five points, I would have snapped your hand off.
“It’s never going to be perfect in the first game. We’ve got lots to improve but it’s great to do that after a win.
“We’ve got everything to play for and we can build momentum now.
“We’re going to have to be at our best to win in Paris [next week]”
Man of the Match
Ireland star Mack Hansen was named Man of the Match and praised his team-mates.
Hansen said: “The guys around me made my job a lot easier.
“We ran great lines and played well together. It was special for it all to come together and in front of a packed house, too. It’s been a dream come true.
“Everyone here has adopted me as one of their own and I’m so proud to be Irish.
“It’s a great start but now we’ve got to go on to the next one.
“We will enjoy tonight but France will be a tough game and we know that”
Tom Shanklin speaks
Former Wales international Tom Shanklin is worried about his national team’s injuries.
Shanklin told BBC Radio 5 Live: “There aren’t many options for Wales if we’re looking ahead to next week.
“Jonathan Davies and Willis Halaholo could come in, and Josh Adams has had a tough time at centre today.
“But there’s not much else they can do because of all the injuries”
Tommy Bowe reacts
Former Ireland winger Tommy Bowe praised his country’s decisive victory over Wales.
Bowe told BBC Radio 5 Live: “A fantastic start to the Six Nations for Ireland.
“This competition is all about momentum and they’ve got that.
“A lot of us thought they would win, but not by that margin”
FT: Ireland 29 Wales 7
Ireland will go into their next game in Paris in great form.
Always a tough place to visit but if Sexton and co play like they did today, they will be more than a match for the French.
FT: Ireland 29 Wales 7
The referee points to the centre and ends the game.
Andy Farrell’s Ireland were rampant today.
They are up for this Guinness Six Nations that is for sure!
Ireland 29 Wales 7
82. Wales are wanting this to be over now.
It doesn’t seem play will stop.
Ireland try to force one more try.
Ireland 29 Wales 7
79. Hansen has been fantastic today for the Irish team.
That could be said of a lot of them today, this is a warning shot for others to take note of who fancy their
…. to be continued
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