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Dublin: 6ยฐC Thursday 26 November 2020
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HELLO, GOOD EVENING and welcome to our live blog ahead of tonight’s Guinness Series fixture in the Autumn Nations Cup between Ireland and Wales.

Already there is drama, an hour before kick off. Iain Henderson has a medical issue and has been ruled out of the game while Jacob Stockdale has a calf problem.

As a result Henderson is replaced in the starting line-up by Quinn Roux and Stockdale is replaced by Andrew Conway with Hugo Keenan switching to fullback.

Tadhg Beirne is added to the bench.

So here are the revised teams for tonight’s international following the news that Iain Henderson and Jacob Stockdale have been ruled out.

Ireland

15. Hugo Keenan
14. Andrew Conway
13. Chris Farrell
12. Robbie Henshaw
11. James Lowe
10. Johnny Sexton (captain)
9. Jamison Gibson-Park

1. Cian Healy
2. Ronan Kelleher
3. Andrew Porter
4. Quinn Roux
5. James Ryan
6. Peter O’Mahony
7. Josh van der Flier
8. Caelan Doris

Replacements:

 16. Dave Heffernan

17. Ed Byrne

18. Finlay Bealham
19. Tadhg Beirne
20. Will Connors
21. Conor Murray
22. Billy Burns
23. Keith Earls

Wales (caps in brackets)

15. Leigh Halfpenny (Scarlets) (91 Caps)
14. Liam Williams (Scarlets) (64 Caps)
13. Jonathan Davies (Scarlets) (83 Caps)
12. Owen Watkin (Ospreys) (23 Caps)
11. Josh Adams (Cardiff Blues) (26 Caps)
10. Dan Biggar (Northampton Saints) (85 Caps)
9. Gareth Davies (Scarlets) (55 Caps)

1. Rhys Carre (Cardiff Blues (10 Caps)
2. Ryan Elias (Scarlets) (15 Caps)
3. Tomas Francis (Exeter Chiefs) (49 Caps)
4. Will Rowlands (Wasps) (2 Caps)
5. Alun Wyn Jones (Ospreys) (140 Caps) (CAPT)
6. Shane Lewis-Hughes (Cardiff Blues) (1 Cap)
7. Justin Tipuric (Ospreys) (77 Caps)
8. Taulupe Faletau (Bath) (78 Caps)

Replacements

16. Elliot Dee (Dragons) (29 Caps)
17. Wyn Jones (Scarlets) (26 Caps)
18. Samson Lee (Scarlets) (42 Caps)
19. Jake Ball (Scarlets) (46 Caps)
20. Aaron Wainwright (Dragons) (23 Caps)
21. Lloyd Williams (Cardiff Blues) (28 Caps)
22. Callum Sheedy (Bristol) (*Uncapped)
23. George North (Ospreys) (96 Caps)

Referee: Mathieu Raynal [FFR].

The IRFU’s confirmation of the late changes.

The last time Wales came to Dublin, they were the defending Six Nations champions and had once again punched above their weight at the World Cup. Ireland didn’t seem too troubled by that reputation, though, beating them more comprehensively than the 24-14 scoreline suggests. Wales have lost every game since and last week lost their defence coach, Byron Hayward. It was Pivac’s decision to order a cabinet reshuffle

“We talk about our defence, we haven’t been that flash in attack either,” Pivac says. “So a lot of work needs to be done, but we want to start that and show an improvement in (tonight’s) game.

“With good performances come confidence and self-belief. We’ve got to make sure the self-belief and the determination we had without the ball as a Welsh team, we have to get that back very quickly, because we don’t want that eroded. It’s a special quality to have.”

Very little is special about Wales’ current form. Last time out, against Scotland at home, they were awful. 

“We turned over far too much possession,” Pivac says. “On 25 occasions we gave the ball back to the opposition, through either penalties, free kicks, a turnover at the breakdown or mistakes in general play.

“If you make those mistakes against any quality side you’re going to be up against it. We don’t want to be doing that, we want to give ourselves the opportunity to build phases, that’s what we’re all about in attack. We want to really express ourselves.”

In little over half an hour, we’ll find out if they will.

It’s a big night for AWJ who continues to set standards and break records.

 

The teams are about to take the field. This is what they are playing for …. rugby’s newest trophy. Is the competition here to stay or will it be a one-hit wonder?

 

Anthem time …….

Singing over. About to kick off

First minute – Robbie Henshaw collects kick off and Ireland clear their lines. Wales respond with a high ball and James Lowe makes a superb catch. Wales get a penalty, though, and have aimed it into the Ireland 22

2 minutes played – Wales set up possession inside the Ireland half, but Ireland’s defence is excellent and they pressurise George North into a mistake. From the subsequent line out, Peter O’Mahony collects possession

3 minutes played – no score yet but Wales have won two penalties at the breakdown already, Johnny Sexton penalised this time for an ill-timed tackle

5 minutes – awful line out from Wales, Ronan Kelleher collects the overthrow and a bit of an auld row breaks out at the subsequent phase, Alun Wyn Jones asking Peter O’Mahony the time of day

5 minutes 40 seconds – Liam Williams and James Lowe go at it this time – Ireland had a scoring chance there, Sexton making a fine break, but his pass to Lowe on the left wing was not well enough executed. Wales survive. Promising from Ireland

7 minutes - Ireland win a scrum penalty and aren’t shy about celebrating it. Sexton goes to the corner

8 minutes - Kelleher’s throw isn’t straight. Big escape for Wales. Ireland should be ahead by now. Scrum Wales, deep inside their 22

8 mins 36 secs - another scrum penalty for Ireland. Andrew Porter having a stormer

10 minutes PENALTY IRELAND – Sexton nails the kick to put Ireland ahead, Ireland 3-0 Wales

12 minutes, Ireland 3-0 Wales Jamison Gibson-Park is shaping up well so far

jamison-gibson-park-clears-the-ball Source: Laszlo Geczo/INPHO

13 minutes, Ireland 3-0 Wales

Chance missed for Ireland this has been impressive from them so far, a mixture of the patient phase building play and some sharp interchange from the backs to get the ball rolling. Ireland should have finished the move with a try. But still, they’ve started well

17 minutes, Ireland 3-3 Wales

first kick of the game for Wales, Leigh Halfpenny kicks it, Henshaw penalised

 

will-rowlands-and-james-ryan-in-a-line-out James Ryan and Will Rowlands compete at the line out Source: Laszlo Geczo/INPHO

19 minutes, Ireland 3-3 Wales 

Another penalty to Ireland courtesy of the breakdown. Ireland dominant in the opening quarter and should be ahead but they didn’t exploit the two try-scoring opportunities they have created. Play now in Wales 22, 

20 minutes, Ireland 3-3 Wales

penalty to Ireland pretty much in front of the posts but Ireland are going for the scrum

21 minutes, Ireland 3-3 Wales

Scrum reset. We could be here a while

Try Ireland 23 minutes, Ireland 8-3 Wales

Better shove from the Welsh this time but Ireland scramble to retain possession; Doris makes a powerful drive, Quinn Roux gets across, Sexton now has an easy chance to add the extras

And he gets it

23 minutes – Ireland 10-3 Wales

Roux got a call up just an hour before kick off following Iain Henderson’s withdrawal. He’s earned it.

James Lowe, by the way, has just leathered the ball 50 yards into touch. Ireland deservedly ahead

Penalty Ireland – Sexton’s grubber kick is followed speedily by Chris Farrell who forces Jon Davies into a mistake. Robbie Henshaw’s pressure on Halfpenny leads to the penno. Sexton aiming for three more points here

PENALTY IRELAND, JOHNNY SEXTON 27 minutes, Ireland 13-3 Wales

And he nails it from in front of the posts

Lowe, Roux, Gibson-Park all putting in a decent shift here

Sexton is getting treatment at the moment, Billy Burns keeping his bib on at this stage

28 minutes, Ireland 13-3 Wales

So 26-year-old Billy Burns becomes the ninth new cap of the Farrell reign. Sexton tweaked his hamstring by the looks of things. 

It seems as though James Ryan has taken over the captaincy.

Penalty Wales, Porter penalised harshly at the scrum, Halfpenny lining up a shot at goal …

31 minutes, PENALTY WALES, Ireland 13-6

Halfpenny nails it

32 minutes, Ireland 13-6 Wales

 

Another nice involvement from Lowe, Peter O’Mahony penalised for a knock on. Scrum Wales.

And here is the image of Roux’s try

quinn-roux-celebrates-scoring-their-first-try-with-teammates Source: Laszlo Geczo/INPHO

34 minutes, Ireland 13-6 Wales

Dominant Irish scrum leads to yet another Irish move into the Welsh 22; Farrell with the notable early carry, Billy Burns feeds Conway but the Welsh scramble to defend their lines.

Still there is a penalty after Rhys Carre was caught offside

PENALTY IRELAND, BILLY BURNS 

36 minutes, Ireland 16-6 Wales

Burns nails his first kick in international rugby. He – like Lowe – has taken to international rugby well thus far.

36 minutes, 30 seconds, Ireland 16-6 Wales

Peter O’Mahony is treated for a knee issue. Munster’s captain is staying on. Penalty from Burns is kicked into the Wales half

37 minutes, 30 seconds, Ireland 16-6 Wales

Ireland win another penalty and even though it is within kickable distance, Burns kicks to the corner. 

39 minutes, Ireland 16-6 Wales

TMO called into action to see if Andrew Porter touched down legally. After some deliberation, they decided he didn’t. Scrum five, Wales put in

39 minutes – Wyn Jones brought in to replace Rhys Carre …. 38 minutes too late

HALF-TIME, IRELAND 16-6 WALES

So Ireland are well on top here, Wales have been shocking, but somehow are within 10 points of their hosts. Sexton removed after a hamstring tweak the big negative from the first half but the Irish scrum has been brilliant as has James Lowe on the wing.

shane-lewis-hughes-wins-a-line-out Source: Laszlo Geczo/INPHO

Big take from the first half was the set-piece; Andrew Porter having the stuff of dreams out there

A baton is passed – for one night only?

johnny-sexton-is-replaced-by-billy-burns Billy Burns replaces Sexton to make his debut Source: Laszlo Geczo/INPHO

Second half is underway and Wales win a penalty

42 minutes, Ireland 16-6 Wales

Biggar kicks to the corner; Wales struggle to put the phases together but Wales win a scrum

43 minutes, Ireland 16-6 Wales

Ireland win scrum penalty – Andrew Porter gets one over Wyn Jones this time. Might as well get the champagne ready for the chap. Man of the match in waiting

45 minutes – Ireland 16-6 Wales

Better from Wales after the break, though. They are finally winning one or two collisions. Have penalty at half-way line, here and Halfpenny is going to have a shot at goal

46 minutes Ireland 16-6 Wales

Halfpenny misses a penalty …… first time I’ve written that in about 15 years

47 minutes, Ireland 16-6 Wales

Another breakdown penalty conceded by Ireland, Biggar kicks to the corner but doesn’t get it, great work by Conway

48 minutes Ireland 16-6 Wales

Ireland have now given away three penalties at the breakdown since half time

PENALTY WALES, 50 minutes

Ireland 16-9 Wales

Halfpenny nails it, after Keenan was pinged for not releasing

51 minutes, Ireland 16-9 Wales

Caelan Doris has just put in a superb block, leading to Healy nearly getting a try. The Leinster prop was held up over the line

52 minutes, Ireland 16-9 Wales

Wales have now replaced four of their front five

53 minutes, Ireland 16-9 Wales

Ireland go through the phases, Healy nearly gets his second try in as many minutes; they do get a penalty, which Burns will kick from in front of the posts

PENALTY IRELAND, BILLY BURNS, IRELAND 19-9 WALES – 54 MINUTES

55 minutes – Ireland 19-9 Wales

Nice clearing kick from Gibson Park; he and Burns have looked impressive

billy-burns-kicks-off-the-second-half Source: Laszlo Geczo/INPHO

57 minutes, Ireland 19-9 Wales

Wales win a penalty after a 15 phase attack

James Ryan penalised for a high tackle on Josh Adams, fifth time Ireland have been pinged in the second half, Halfpenny lining up another three points

59 minutes, IRELAND 19-9 WALES

Terrible miss from Halfpenny. George North on to make his 100th test appearance

60 minutes, Ireland 19-9 Wales

Attempted pass from North ends up going too far north. Penalised for a forward pass; scrum Ireland

62 minutes, Ireland 19-9 Wales

Ed Byrne penalised at the scrum, Wales kick to the corner, win the line out, now inside the Irish 22 ……Porter steals possession

64 minutes, Ireland 19-9 Wales

Wales are dominating possession at the moment; Conway has just taken a superb catch. Last time we saw this number of kicks in the air at Lansdowne Road was during era of Jackie’s Army 

65 minutes, Ireland 19-9 Wales

Burns has gone off with an injury; Ireland now have lost both 10s. Conor Murray has gone into out-half

65 minutes, Ireland 19-9 Wales

Penalty Ireland – Dave Heffernan credited for his work at the breakdown

66 minutes, Ireland 22-9 Wales

Conor Murray nails the penalty from a tricky enough angle to put Ireland 13 points clear with 14 minutes remaining, Burns off for a HIA

68 minutes, Ireland 22-9 Wales

Callum Sheedy has come on to make his Wales debut. Out half played underage rugby for Ireland

71 minutes, 30 secs: Ireland 25-9 Wales

Will Connors has come in for Josh van der Flier; Keith Earls for Robbie Henshaw as Conor Murray kicks his second penalty to extend Ireland’s lead

conor-murray-kicks-a-penalty Source: Laszlo Geczo/INPHO

74 minutes, Ireland 25-9 Wales

Earls penalised for not releasing; Ireland had zipped the ball around pretty nicely through a good few phases, Earls eventually isolated

76 minutes, Ireland 25-9 Wales

Penalty to Ireland after Doris and Connors doubled up on Alun Wyn Jones. Wales captain pinged for not releasing. Ireland kick to touch, win line out and are on the move, Earls to Conway, inside the Wales 22.

Conway feeds Lowe. Ball goes into touch.

77 minutes, Ireland 25-9 Wales

Donal Lenihan has named Caelan Doris the man of the match.

78 minutes, Ireland 25-9 Wales

Ireland win another penalty, this time at the breakdown – Finlay Bealham credited

79 minutes, Ireland 25-9 Wales

Second half has been a scrappy enough affair; Ireland winning yet another scrum penalty. 

80 minutes – scrum reset for second time in as many minutes

a-view-of-a-scrum Source: Laszlo Geczo/INPHO

TRY IRELAND

80 minutes, Ireland 32-9 Wales

Doris with the carry from the base of the scrum, Lowe powers across for a try on his debut, Myrray adds the extras

FULL-TIME – IRELAND 32-9 WALES

Comprehensive win, tries from Lowe and Roux; great performances from Doris and Porter; injuries to Sexton and Burns at out-half; another defeat for Wales; pressure on Pivac is growing. But a really impressive shift from the boys in green. Deserved win.

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About the author:

Garry Doyle

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