What TV channel is Wales vs Ireland on?
Wales host Ireland to kick off the Six Nations in 2023 in what will be a historic year for rugby in the lead-up to the World Cup.
A new era begins for the hosts as three-time Grand Slam winner Warren Gatland is back and looking to spark life into the Welsh just seven months out from the big dance in France.
The change also hits Ireland’s hopes of a grand slam, as the world’s No 1 side face a tricky away game and a feverish crowd first up.
Welsh rugby has been in turmoil both on and off the pitch after allegations of sexism and misogyny at the Welsh Rugby Union (WRU). While the visitors, led by Andy Farrell, will hope to justify their status as marginal favourites to win this year’s tournament ahead of Les Bleus, given they host them in week two in Dublin.
Here’s everything you need to know about the Six Nations opener in Cardiff:
When is Wales vs Ireland?
The match will kick off at 2:15pm on Saturday 4 February at the Principality Stadium in Cardiff.
Where can I watch it?
Wales vs Ireland will be available free-to-air on BBC One and coverage starts at 1:15pm. Welsh-language coverage can be found on S4C from 1:30pm.
While a live stream is available on the BBC Sport website, BBC iPlayer and S4C Clic.
What is the team news?
Tadhg Furlong failed to recover in time from injury so Finlay Bealham will prop up Ireland against Wales. Furlong was coming back from an ankle issue when he hurt his calf in training last weekend. This will be the first Ireland game he’s around for and not started in two years. Coach Andy Farrell hoped the tighthead will be ready for next week against France. The inclusion of Bealham and captain Jonathan Sexton are the only changes to the 15 which started the last test of 2022, the 13-10 home win over Australia. Sexton was a late withdrawal and replaced by Jack Crowley, who made his first test start. Ross Byrne, who replaced Crowley, kicked the late winning penalty. Byrne was picked ahead of Crowley on an experienced bench which included Cian Healy, Iain Henderson, Conor Murray and Bundee Aki. Aki returned from suspension to come off the bench against the Wallabies, but Farrell has retained Stuart McCloskey in the midfield after he started all three autumn tests.
Wales had to make a change after Leigh Halfpenny had a back spasm on Thursday and was withdrawn. Liam Williams was parachuted into fullback from outside the team. Williams missed the autumn internationals because of a dislocated shoulder, and has not started for Wales since the June tour of South Africa. Halfpenny was due to win his 98th cap on Saturday and make a first Wales start for 19 months.
Wales vs Ireland starting line-ups
Wales XV: L Halfpenny (Scarlets); J Adams (Cardiff), G North (Ospreys), J Hawkins (Ospreys), R Dyer (Dragons); D Biggar (Toulon), T Williams (Cardiff); G Thomas (Ospreys), K Owens (Scarlets, capt), T Francis (Ospreys), A Beard (Ospreys), A W Jones (Ospreys), J Morgan (Ospreys), J Tipuric (Ospreys), T Faletau (Cardiff).
Replacements: S Baldwin (Ospreys), R Carre (Cardiff), D Lewis (Cardiff), D Jenkins (Exeter), T Reffell (Leicester), R Webb (Ospreys), O Williams (Ospreys), A Cuthbert (Ospreys).
Ireland XV: H Keenan (Leinster); M Hansen (Connacht), G Ringrose (Leinster), S McCloskey (Ulster), J Lowe (Leinster); J Sexton (Leinster, capt), J Gibson-Park (Leinster); A Porter (Leinster), D Sheehan (Leinster), F Bealham (Connacht), T Beirne (Munster), J Ryan (Leinster), P O’Mahony (Munster), J Van Der Flier (Leinster), C Doris (Leinster).
Replacements: R Herring (Ulster), C Healy (Leinster), T O’Toole (Ulster), I Henderson (Ulster), J Conan (Leinster), C Murray (Munster), R Byrne (Leinster), B Aki (Connacht).