Dublin: 15°C Thursday 5 August 2021


72,938 Views 56 Comments

Thanks for joining in our liveblog. The result wasn’t what we wanted for Paul O’Connell and there are some worrying injuries to keep tabs on before Joe Schmidt finalises his squad.

We’ll have all the news from the bowels of the Aviva Stadium through the evening.

Safe home, stay dry.


FULL-TIME Ireland 10 Wales 16


The crowd are trying to convince the officals, but it looks like he’s been well wrapped up and denied a winning score.


SEAN CRONIN CRASHED UNDER THE POSTS. We’re with the TMO, but Joubert thinks it has been held up.


Penalty in front of the posts for Ireland…


Heroic stuff from O’Connell as he grabs a loose ball on the edge of a ruck. Studs are flying, but POC keeps Ireland’s hope alive.


Can Paulie come up with a match-saver here? The mail is set and the crowd are demanding a big heave.


Wales, thankfully, just can’t kill this game. Ireland steal the line-out and go on the attack on the right flank.

Penalty, and Jackson wastes no time driving it to the five metre line.


The ball slips out of Rhys Priestland’s hands and Ireland go on the hunt. Unfortunately, the desperation is too much and another penalty goes Wales’ way.


Wales’ maul D is excellent. Tipuric doing some sterling work after it broke down to choke Ireland up and force a scrum.


The game appears lost to Ireland now. The wet conditions perfectly suit a side with a lead and Wales are well able to pin Ireland back.

Just as I say that, the hosts win a penalty and Jackson drills a fine kick down the line. Cronin hits Hendo in the line-out.


The heavens have opened. And high balls are being sent up to test handling. Rob Kearney drops one, but he’s been excellent otherwise.


Ireland have it all to do now, but most of us probably have an eye on the injury toll after this impressive Wales display.


PENALTY! Ireland 10 Wales 16 (Halfpenny)


Oh dear. Luke Fitzgerald hobbles off injured and Donnacha Ryan replaces him.

I guess that means Sean O’Brien will go and do a job in the centre with Ryan or Henderson in the back row.


Dave Kearney absolutely batters in to waiting red jerseys just outside the 22. He had time to run up  before contact.

A strange call from Ireland afterwards as Paddy Jackson was given a 40 metre drop goal chance that was charged down.


Eoin Reddan is also on for Murray. Donnacha Ryan is the only replacement still held in reserve.


PENALTY! Ireland 10 Wales 13 (Halfpenny)

The first score of the second half has finally landed and Ireland trail again.


Earls gives the crowd a sign of thanks and the crowd applauds as he is driven off.

Felix Jones is on for the luckless Moyross man. Paddy Jackson has replaced Sexton.

Flag 63Mins

The stretcher is on for Keith Earls. He won’t play any more part in this game. Hopefully the head injury is not as serious as it looks at first glance from this distance.


Scrappy stuff now from Ireland as Wales look to inject another burst. Keith Earls is left on the deck after putting his body on the line.

Joubert has been told of a ‘nasty head injury’.


Paul O’Connell penalised for a clean-out by the neck. Referees are really hot on that for the World Cup, but Joubert sensibly resists any urge to make an example of Paul O’Connell. Just a penalty.


Biggar v Sexton is an absorbing contest at the minute. The Welsh 10 just cut down his opposite number as he attempted to sneak past after shaping for a drop-goal. Two out-halves who love to get physical.


There’s a good test for Sexton, facing down ex team-mate Jamie Roberts in full flight after the centre broke through a gap created by a spilled high ball on the Ireland 10.


Ooof! A big wheel on that scrum and McGrath is penalised again. Biggar clears his lines well.


Excellent work from Tipuric to strip Sean O’Brien and force a Wales scrum awarded by the TMO review.


The maul goes in fast forward to the line, Joubert wants a TMO check.


Sean O’Brien introduced himself to the game with a big powerful carry on Tipuric to set up Sexton for that kick.


Sexton looks for another cross-field kick. It’s way off target but the bounce works out, forcing North to check back and Kearney is able to heave him on to the touchline.


Well, Strauss has now been called ashore and Sean Cronin joins the front row.

While we were watching the fitness situation, Henshaw found a gap on the outside of Tipuric and crashed past the flanker, popping up a pass for Murphy after spinning.

Sean O’Brien is also in the game. Peter O’Mahony called home after he too looked to take a knock.


It appears to have been a false alarm thankfully. Richardt Strauss looked very uncomfortable but he’s back in the line now chasing Robbie Henshaw over the gainline.


Oh no. We have an injury…


Ah here. Iain Henderson is playing some absolutely superb stuff today. Another big intervention there, taking Webb’s holding arm while he himself is being held.

He is doing everything possible to make Devin Toner sweat.


The crowd takes a gasp as O’Connell hits the ball at speed and goes in to contact. Wales holding the line well so far though and Gethin Jenkins gets one over on his opposite number, forcing McGrath to hold on as he goes on the poach.


I’m glad I waited for the first update of the second half, because I’m delighted to bring you news of a superb touch-finder from Sexton, drilling the ball to within a metre of the Welsh line.

BIggar clears only far enough to set Ireland’s back three on the attack from 40 metres.


As the teams come out for the second half, here’s a glimpse of big Hendo’s big drive for the try-line.

hendo Source: Sky Sports


Now that we’ve ticked the box of score updates it must be said, that was a barnstorming score from big Hendo. After an O’Mahony carry, the Ulsterman collected the ball over five metres out, but confidently embraced the contact and battled his way under the posts.

He is some man.


Terrific response to a difficult opening half for Ireland. The whistle goes with the teams all square and that’s a bonus for Ireland.

HALF-TIME Ireland 10 Wales 10

Flag 41Mins

Sexton sees a penalty advantage and goes to the boot again. George North easily claims. Ireland won’t settle for three….

TRY! Ireland 10 Wales 10 (Iain Henderson)


The maul looks like it has a point to prove and it goes steaming at Wales after that line-out. The penalty comes and Heaslip taps it to himself and leads Ireland on a big important set of phases…


It’s dream ball for Richahrdt Strauss, stolen at full tilt on the back of a line-out and he goes barreling over the gainline.

Ireland go quickly wide to D Kearney who chips beyond George North. The ball comes back to green hands and Sexton again looks for Earls in the left corner, the chip through is decent, but the bounce doesn’t go Earls’ way and it slips out of his hands and in to touch.


Penalty number 7 goes against Ireland Jamie Heaslip looks a very frustrated man as he walks away shouting sweet nothing back at Joubert.


Ireland’s collective passing so far has been disappointing. Each time we see a sign of improvement and hints of momentum, a pass hits the turf and the whole line has to readjust.


Wales are well and truly carrying the fight to Ireland, but the hosts are getting up to speed now in the second quarter. Peter O’Mahony has been the best of the back row until this point and he has been rewarded for his breakdown efforts with a penalty after forcing Wyn Jones to hold on just inside Ireland’s 22.


PENALTY! Ireland 3 Wales 10 (Sexton)


Ireland have finally been able to put some good phases together after a scything half break from Kearney was followed up by Henderson getting over the gainline.

Joubert finally is able to hand Ireland a penalty as Wales held on to the ball carrier.


Halfpenny slots the conversion from the left touchline as news comes in that Justin Tipuric is claiming the try.

Ireland 0 Wales 10


TRY! Ireland 0 Wales 8

The big red machine finally gets over with Ireland attempting to avoid a yellow card on the wrong end of another energy-sapping maul.


Another penalty against Ireland after another good maul. There’s surely a card coming soon.


Ireland’s maul dig deep to try and deny Wales rumbling over and succeed for the time-being as Wales are held up at the third time of asking.

Another penalty to Wales and they go for touch again.


This is the first game of pre-season for the vast majority of this Wales side, so we’d be surprised if they were able to sustain this pressure for a full 80, but they’ve definitely been impressive in this first quarter.


More good signs from Wales, as they come back with more close in carries and more pressure to pile on Ireland. Henderson and White play vital roles in stunting their progress before another penalty goes against Les Kiss’ defence.


PENALTY! Ireland 0 Wales 3 (Halfpenny)


Wales come again from a deeper line-out, but good line-speed from Ireland forces them back.

The penalty count is rising though )3- 0 at a rough count) this time pinged for going in from the side on the right flank.


HENDO!!!! Big effort from Iain Henderson, driving a red jersey over a metre back to help Ireland steal the ball 10 metres from their own lin.


Wales are able to kick for a line-out in Ireland’s 22 after more impressive play from Francis. The boy looks a beast and giving Jack McGrath a hard time so far.


Sexton, aside from some loose kicks, looks very sharp and bursting with energy. Constantly trying to engineer an opening with ball in hand.


After a brief stoppage to let Biggar get some treatment, Ireland’s scrum shows itself to be a lot more solid. Sexton’s kick to space isn’t great though and after Wales kick back, he is charged down before Tipuric scrambles on to the loose pill.


There’s a nice big take under a high ball for Rob Kearney, great to get things like that under your belt.

Halfpenny sends another his way and he ascends to meet a second one in a minute, but Dan Biggar meets him in a 50-50 contest and the ball spins out on to the floor. This contest is shaping up nicely.


Big break from Scott Williams catching Jordi Murphy flat footed inside O’Mahony. The move breaks down as the ball hits Nathan White running a little lazily back to put the ball back in green hands.


Ooooh! Big scrum for Wales and Tomas Francis, forcing McGrath and Strauss to stand up as Joubert award a penalty.


Pretty poor line-out, just clawed back by O’Connell. Ireland look in trouble on scrappy ball, but Fitzgerald kicks in behind the onrushing defenders and Ireland go off in pursuit.

Wales though, end up dealing with the back foot position well, and Biggar clears.

1 MIN: Ireland certainly on the front foot. Attacking in Wales’ half, Sexton wastes no time in lofting up a cross-field kick to the left corner. Earls is hot on the chase, but again the ball beats the wing over the touchline.

Wales clear after winning their 5-metre line-out.

KICK-OFF: We’re off and running with a bright start from Jonathan Sexton, wrapping around Fitzgerald and breaking right.

R Kearney chips in behind the red line for Dave to chase, but it escapes the wing.

IRRRRREELLAAAND, IRRRRELLLAAAAND…. and so on until the fireworks blast off, the band clears the field and the players remove their tracksuit tops and head for starting positions.

Paul O’Connell and George North (50th cap) have led their teams out in to the sunshine. The national anthems are about to ring around an Aviva Stadium that looks about 75-80% full at the minute.

While you’re taking shelter or waiting for kick-off, have a read about how Ireland’s players mentally approach this stressful time of the season when World Cup places are on the line.

And before Paul O’Connell heads east, here he describes his favourite memories of playing in Dublin

He also told us about the very real struggle of being the old man in camp reaping the ‘constant abuse’ he used to enjoy sowing.

Had your fill of Paulie? Each to their own, but here’s some good news about Cian Healy to keep you out of trouble.

Here’s how Joe Schmidt and Warren Gatland have set their stall out with three weeks to go before the big show.


15. Rob Kearney
14. Dave Kearney
13. Luke Fitzgerald
12. Robbie Henshaw
11. Keith Earls
10. Johnny Sexton
9. Conor Murray

1. Jack McGrath
2. Richardt Strauss
3. Nathan White
4. Iain Henderson
5. Paul O’Connell (capt)
6. Peter O’Mahony
7. Jordi Murphy
8. Jamie Heaslip


16. Sean Cronin
17. Dave Kilcoyne
18. Tahdg Furlong
19. Donnacha Ryan
20. Sean O’Brien
21. Eoin Reddan
22. Paddy Jackson
23. Felix Jones


15. Leigh Halfpenny
14. Alex Cuthbert
13. Scott Williams
12. Jamie Roberts
11. George North
10. Dan Biggar
9. Rhys Webb

1. Gethin Jenkins
2. Ken Owens
3. Tommy Francis
4. Bradley Davies
5. Alun Wyn Jones (capt)
6. Dan Lydiate
7. Justin Tipuric
8. Talupe Faletau


16. Scott Baldwin
17. Paul James
18. Aaron Jarvis
19. Luke Charteris
20. James King
21. Gareth Davies
22. Rhys Priestland
23. Hallam Amos

Referee: Craig Joubert

YIKES! The rain is pelting down in intense five-minute intervals in Dublin, but for the moment the the pitch on Lansdowne Road is still dry. We’re bracing ourselves for a shower before the first half is out.

Can you feel the tension? The Rugby World Cup is just three weeks away, there’s an imminent deadline for coaches to name squads and the big gunns have been rolled out to get up to speed for the big games ahead.

It’s Ireland v Wales and, while there are no points or collective prizes on the way, every individual lucky enough to be on the field has everything to play for….

Oh, it’s also Paul O’Connell’s last Test match in Dublin, but we don’t want to go on about it or anything (we do really, click here to get lost in a Paulie wonderland).

Be sure to let us know your thoughts on the game – don’t be shy, this is a safe circle of friends, honest. Comment below, join us on Facebook or tweet us @Rugby_ie.

About the author:

Sean Farrell