Wales v Ireland, Six Nations 2023: What time is kick-off, what TV channel is it on and what is our prediction?

Warren Gatland and Andy Farrell - PA/John Walton
Warren Gatland and Andy Farrell - PA/John Walton

Ireland captain Johnny Sexton insists he does not hold a grudge against Wales head coach Warren Gatland regarding his painful British and Irish Lions snub.

Fly-half Sexton was devastated to be overlooked for the 2021 tour of South Africa and will come up against Lions boss Gatland for the first time since in Saturday's Guinness Six Nations opener in Cardiff.

He has impressively responded to that major disappointment – leading his country to a Triple Crown, an historic series success in New Zealand and the top of the world rankings during the past 12 months.

The 37-year-old, who on Wednesday trained without a face mask for the first time since undergoing cheekbone surgery last month, met Gatland at last week's Six Nations launch event in London and says there is no lingering hostility.

"It's something that you never get back which is why it hurts so badly at the time," Sexton said "But people make their decisions and, at the time, they probably make them for what they think are the right reasons.

"I met him at the launch and there was no animosity or anything. I shook hands and said hello. I got on really well with him on the two previous tours, which is probably why it hurt so much. But it is what it is. It's over now, it was a long time ago."

When and where is Wales v Ireland?

This first-round fixture between Wales and Ireland is on Saturday, February 4, with kick-off at the Principality Stadium in Cardiff at 2.15pm. The other matches that weekend are England vs Scotland at 4.45pm on Saturday and Italy-France at 3pm on Sunday.

What TV channel is Wales v Ireland on?

Wales vs Ireland will be shown on the BBC.

What happened in this fixture in 2022?

Last year's first-round meeting saw Ireland pull off a comprehensive routing of their guests at the Aviva Stadium, barely breaking sweat as they beat defending champions Wales to complete their ninth consecutive Test win. The visitors had to wait 73 minutes for their first points on the board in their largest defeat of the competition.

Ireland went on to win the Triple Crown for the sixth time in the history of the championship.

Read Telegraph Sport's full coverage here.

What is the latest team news?


Full-back Leigh Halfpenny has been ruled out of Wales' opener against Ireland.

Halfpenny was due to win his 98th cap and make a first Wales start for 19 months, but assistant coach Jonathan Humphreys said he had suffered a back spasm and would miss the game.

Experienced Cardiff back Liam Williams will replace Halfpenny in the No 15 shirt.

Williams missed Wales' entire Autumn Nations Series campaign this season because of injury, and has not started for his country since last summer's South Africa tour.

Humphreys said: "Unfortunately, Leigh had a back spasm and Liam will be playing. I think it's more disappointing for him as a person. He is an unbelievable professional and an unbelievable person.

"He has got to pick himself up again. You feel for him that he's got to pull out at this late stage. Liam is good to go."

Wales XV: L Williams; Adams, North, Hawkins, Dyer; Biggar, T Williams; G Thomas, Owens (capt), Francis, Beard, Alun Wyn Jones, Morgan, Tipuric, Faletau.

Replacements: Baldwin, Carre, Lewis, Jenkins, Reffell, Webb, O Williams, Cuthbert.


Ireland prop Tadhg Furlong has been ruled out due to a calf injury.

Connacht's Finlay Bealham will start in place of Furlong at tighthead in Cardiff, with Tom O'Toole providing cover from the bench.

Leinster man Furlong has been sidelined by ankle and calf issues in recent weeks but is progressing well and expected back fit within the next seven days.

Andy Farrell's maiden selection of the tournament contains no further surprises as his side seek to build on a stellar 2022 which propelled them to the top of the world rankings.

Centre Stuart McCloskey will make his first appearance in the championship since his Test debut seven years ago.

The Ulster player has retained the No 12 jersey ahead of Bundee Aki to continue his midfield partnership with Garry Ringrose, having impressed in November's victories over South Africa, Fiji and Australia.

His only previous appearance in the tournament came in 2016 when he won the first of his nine caps to date in a 21-10 loss to England at Twickenham.

James Lowe returns on the left wing after missing the autumn campaign with a calf injury, while captain Johnny Sexton is ready to lead the side from fly-half having overcome his cheekbone issue.

Sexton will be partnered by Leinster team-mate Jamison Gibson-Park in the half-back positions, with Mack Hansen on the right wing and Hugo Keenan at full-back.

Munster lock Tadhg Beirne has been given the nod over fit-again Iain Henderson in a fairly settled forward pack and will line up alongside vice-captain James Ryan.

Hooker Dan Sheehan will pack down between Andrew Porter and Bealham, while reigning world player of the year Josh Van Der Flier and Peter O'Mahony are either side of Caelan Doris in the back row.

Ross Byrne has been preferred to rookie Jack Crowley as back-up for No 10 Sexton.

He is joined on the bench by Aki, who was suspended for Ireland's first two matches in November and has not played since December 23 due to being dropped by Connacht, O'Toole, Henderson, Rob Herring, Cian Healy, Jack Conan and Conor Murray.

Ireland XV: Keenan; Hansen, Ringrose, McCloskey, Lowe; Sexton, Gibson-Park; Porter, Sheehan, Bealham; Beirne, Ryan; O'Mahony, Van der Flier, Doris.

Replacements: Herring, Healy, O'Toole, Henderson, Conan, Murray, Byrne, Aki.

Who is the referee?

  • Referee: Karl Dickson (RFU)

  • Assistant Referee 1: Angus Gardner (RA)

  • Assistant Referee 2: Luke Pearce (RFU)

  • TMO: Tom Foley (RFU)

Wales v Ireland latest odds

  • Wales 2/1

  • Ireland 2/5

  • Draw 20/1

Odds correct as of February 3

What is our prediction?

Wales 17 Ireland 27

Warren Gatland is masterful when it comes to galvanising a side and will spur a dogged effort from Wales. Ireland, however, should have enough quality and cohesion to convert try-scoring chances.