Wales 10-34 Ireland LIVE! Six Nations 2023 result, match stream and rugby updates today
Ireland made a significant statement with a dominant win in Cardiff to begin the 2023 Six Nations. The world’s top-ranked team secured a lightning-fast start under the closed roof at the Principality Stadium on Saturday, scoring early tries through forwards Caelan Doris and James Ryan.
Returning wing James Lowe later intercepted Dan Biggar’s loose pass before racing clear for a third, with Wales initially fighting back in the second half and scoring through Liam Williams, who was later yellow carded for a high hit on Johnny Sexton. Reigning World Player of the Year Josh van der Flier ran in late to wrap up a crucial opening bonus point for Ireland ahead of next weekend’s massive clash with defending Grand Slam champions France in Dublin.
Plenty of work for Warren Gatland to do with a trip to Scotland and Murrayfield up next for the reeling Welsh. Follow Wales vs Ireland reaction live below!
Wales vs Ireland highlights
TRY! Van der Flier seals late bonus point
Williams shown yellow card for Sexton tackle
TRY! Liam Williams cuts deficit for Wales
TRY! Lowe punishes Biggar with intercept
TRY! Ryan goes over for second Irish score
TRY! Doris puts Ireland ahead in three minutes
16:12 , George Flood
That concludes our coverage of Wales vs Ireland.
But you can join us here for the big Calcutta Cup showdown between England and Scotland at Twickenham.
16:10 , George Flood
A statement, bonus-point win from Andy Farrell’s side to begin their Six Nations campaign.
Just what they needed with the big one looming against France in Dublin next weekend.
Much work for Warren Gatland to do. It’s Murrayfield up next for Wales.
16:08 , George Flood
Wales 10-34 Ireland
16:08 , George Flood
81 mins: Hansen looks set to touch down in the right corner after a cross-field kick but he’s hauled into touch at the last! So close.
The final whistle sounds.
16:07 , George Flood
80 mins: Ireland are pushing for try number five as the clock ticks into the red.
Herring with the lineout.
One more converted try would make this Ireland’s biggest-ever win in Cardiff I believe.
Watch: Van der Flier wraps up Ireland bonus point
16:06 , George Flood
16:04 , George Flood
75 mins: Wales back up to a full number but they are still giving away the penalties.
Kilcoyne and Herring into the front row for Ireland for the final minutes.
Off go Porter and Sheehan.
Hugo Keenan named man of the match. Fully deserved - he’s been exceptional.
TRY! Wales 10-34 Ireland | Josh van der Flier 72’
16:00 , George Flood
72 mins: Relentless from Ireland, whose overwhelming pressure tells to make use of that numerical advantage with Liam Williams still in the sin bin.
They keep the tempo up and smash their way to the line, with Van der Flier eventually running in unopposed underneath the posts.
A simply conversion for back-up fly-half Ross Byrne. Bonus point guaranteed!
15:58 , George Flood
70 mins: Ireland have been below-par in this second half, especially offensively but are now chasing a fourth try inside the final 10 minutes.
Some eye-catching hands and offloads, including great interplay between Hansen and hooker Sheehan out on the right flank.
Wales are scrambling desperately in defence inside their own 22 but this feels ominous.
Ireland want that bonus point on opening day!
15:56 , George Flood
68 mins: Superb defending again from Ireland as the rampaging North is held up excellently by a combination of Sexton and the imperious World Player of the Year Van der Flier.
Sexton off now for Ireland. Ross Byrne on.
Scott Cuthbert has also entered the fray on the Welsh wing.
Watch: Williams sent to sin bin for Sexton tackle
15:55 , George Flood
A mixed afternoon for Liam Williams 😬
🏉 A try
🟡 A yellow card
Is that game over for Wales?
📺 Watch live on @BBCOne and @BBCiPlayer#BBCRugby #SixNations pic.twitter.com/hGUJHvFKHe
— BBC Sport (@BBCSport) February 4, 2023
15:53 , George Flood
67 mins: Opportunity missed for Dyer, who could well have been away there.
Webb is then all over fellow replacement scrum-half Casey and Wales get a penalty which they kick to touch on the far side, inside the Irish 22.
Fly-half Owen Williams on for Wales. Off goes Biggar.
Yellow card (Liam Williams, Wales)
15:51 , George Flood
65 mins: It was an upright tackle and Williams’ shoulder made contact with the head of Sexton there.
It looked almost like Sexton ducked into it rather than Williams leading with the shoulder.
The referee decides the danger was low and it’s a yellow card only.
Correct by the letter of the law I guess, but that still seems harsh.
15:49 , George Flood
65 mins: Lively work from Hawkins for Wales but the ball is loose and there’s a high tackle from Liam Williams on Sexton, who hauls the Irish captain to the deck.
The officials will take a closer look at this.
15:48 , George Flood
65 mins: And Wales have lost another lineout deep inside the Irish 22!
Brilliant anticipation from Ryan.
15:47 , George Flood
64 mins: But hang on! The call is reversed after the intervention of the TMO, with Aki deemed to have made a tackle off the ball on North.
Big decision, that! Wales gratefully kick for the lineout. Sexton baffled.
Rhys Webb on at scrum-half for Wales.
15:46 , George Flood
63 mins: Wales bully their way into the Irish 22 once again, with George North utilised as a dummy runner but Aki stands firm and gets an Irish penalty.
15:44 , George Flood
61 mins: O’Toole, Aki and Conan are all on for Ireland as Wales win an important penalty inside the 22 after great work at the breakdown from replacement loosehead Carre.
Wales replace veterans Owens and Alun Wyn Jones with Baldwin - winning his first cap for some time - and exciting 20-year-old Exeter lock Dafydd Jenkins.
Just a second senior cap for Jenkins.
15:42 , George Flood
60 mins: It’s Biggar on Lowe that will be looked at by the TMO.
He went to make the tackle and knocked the ball loose, was there anyone on the outside?
It’s just a penalty, which Ireland kick to touch to set up another lineout maul in the Welsh 22.
15:40 , George Flood
59 mins: Ireland run through the phases after an effective lineout maul with Bundee Aki preparing to enter the fray.
Farrell’s men slowly taking the sting out of this second-half Wales fightback, carrying well with a penalty advantage.
15:38 , George Flood
57 mins: Wales with another break as Dyer races in off the left flank after intercepting a poor Sexton kick.
But he can’t get a good pass off and is well-shackled by this suffocating Irish defence.
Another iffy pass ends their next attack too.
This is much better from Wales in the second half but they are lacking that vital end product.
Ireland have well and truly taken their foot off the gas, meanwhile.
Watch: Liam Williams cuts deficit for Wales
15:37 , George Flood
Wales are back in this! 🏴👊
The ball goes through the hands to Liam Williams for Wales' first try.
A little bit of afters too 👀
📺 Watch live on @BBCOne and @BBCiPlayer#BBCRugby #SixNations pic.twitter.com/bq7ypkyUZx
— BBC Sport (@BBCSport) February 4, 2023
15:36 , George Flood
55 mins: Henderson on for Beirne in the Irish second row.
It’s just a penalty for Wales, no card for McCloskey.
The Ulster centre is perhaps fortunate to have avoided a yellow there.
15:34 , George Flood
54 mins: The reinvested Welsh crowd are baying for a card as Williams puts boot to ball and is taken out by a leaping McCloskey.
This could be a yellow...
15:34 , George Flood
53 mins: Wales have a new lease of life and Liam Williams makes a slashing break from midway inside his own half.
He breezes past three would-be tacklers before finding Tipuric, whose looping pass out to Dyer is too high and the ball sails out of play.
A frustrating end to a fizzing counter-attack.
Carre and Reffell replace Thomas and Tipuric for Wales.
15:30 , George Flood
51 mins: That is massive defensively from Doris to hold up Tipuric and earn a pressure-relieving whistle for the Men in Green deep inside the 22.
It was an untidy lineout from Wales again but they just managed to retain possession and Tomos Williams sliced inside.
Ireland scrum five metres out from their own line.
15:28 , George Flood
50 mins: This is much better tempo from Wales now.
They are moving the ball quickly and really getting the home crowd back involved.
They kick for another lineout after Ireland are whistled for crossing - Lowe the guilty party this time.
15:27 , George Flood
48 mins: And to compound Wales’ frustration, they are whistled again at the scrum to hand the initiative back to Ireland.
15:26 , George Flood
48 mins: Wales kick that penalty to touch and are straight back on the attack.
They look to be in again through Biggar and more quick hands, but play is brought back for a lineout throw from Owens that wasn’t straight.
Talk about a momentum killer!
TRY! Wales 10-27 Ireland | Liam Williams 46’
15:23 , George Flood
46 mins: Brilliant Wales move, fast hands and Williams eases in for their first try of the day early in the second half!
There’s a late hit and a huge scuffle ensues.
The conversion will be delayed as the referee and TMO look back at this.
It was Porter who dives on Williams very late indeed. Needless. Hansen came in late as well.
Biggar does eventually nail a simple conversion. And play will restart with a penalty to Wales.
15:22 , George Flood
44 mins: The penalties are racking up as Ireland’s defence creaks for the first time today.
A huge opportunity for Wales to cut the deficit as they kick out for another lineout, this one from five metres.
15:20 , George Flood
42 mins: Wales attack with a penalty advantage and Biggar has just been absolutely smoked by Ringrose.
What a hit. Biggar stays down and receives some treatment, likely winded after that massive contact.
Thankfully he’s back on his feet and kicks for a Welsh lineout inside that Ireland 22.
15:19 , George Flood
Dillon Lewis replaces Tomas Francis with an early change in the Wales front row.
15:18 , George Flood
Back underway at the Principality!
Wales need a big response here to stop Ireland cruising to a dominant opening Six Nations win.
15:15 , George Flood
By the way, that Caelan Doris try after one minute and 59 seconds was their third-fastest ever in the Six Nations, per Opta Sports.
Only Shane Byrne and Rory Best have scored quicker tries for Ireland in this competition.
15:09 , George Flood
An ominous warning from Ireland so far...
27 - @IrishRugby's first-half tally of 27 points is already the most they've scored in Cardiff in @SixNationsRugby since 2013 and their highest ever tally in the opening 40 minutes against Wales in the Championship. Flying. pic.twitter.com/uuOv5NIFW5
— OptaJonny (@OptaJonny) February 4, 2023
15:03 , George Flood
Wales 3-27 Ireland
Domination from the world’s no1 team in the first half, with tries from Doris and Ryan and a Lowe intercept plus 12 points from the boot of Sexton.
One solitary penalty from Biggar is all Wales have to show for a dire first half.
Not the homecoming Gatland had pictured.
15:02 , George Flood
44 mins: An exciting end to the half as Biggar collects his own kick and there’s a foot race, but McCloskey clears up for Ireland and puts the ball out to finally invite the half-time whistle.
15:01 , George Flood
42 mins: A deep lineout throw from Owens is intercepted and Ireland clear easily.
Liam Williams has it back and will try to launch another last-gasp attack rather than just kick to touch to end the half.
15:00 , George Flood
40 mins: After a couple of high balls, the clock goes red with Wales back with ball in hand.
One last opportunity to make something happen before the break.
And they have an advantage after Porter’s tackle from the floor.
So we’ll continue as Biggar finds touch again with the outside of his right boot.
14:58 , George Flood
38 mins: Wales try to regather that burst of momentum but Faletau knocks-on after a rogue pass from Tipuric.
Time running out for the hosts to make a dent in this daunting 24-point deficit before the interval.
14:57 , George Flood
37 mins: No try as Morgan picks the ball up and goes to drive over from close range for Wales, but it’s held up brilliantly by Porter.
Superb work from the Ireland prop.
TMO will check this but that’s not going to be overturned.
14:56 , George Flood
36 mins: A succession of penalties take Wales from their own try line to deep inside the Ireland 22 very quickly as half-time approaches.
Biggar with an excellent kick to find touch.
Tipuric takes the lineout and pops off to Tomos Williams, who finds the bursting North.
Wales on the brink of their first try...
14:54 , George Flood
35 mins: After an initial reset, Wales earn an important scrum penalty just in front of their own line.
Loosehead Porter the guilty party for Ireland.
Wales will welcome the chance to get the ball clear.
14:52 , George Flood
33 mins: Almost a try for Ireland hooker Sheehan but opposite number Owens makes a crucial last-ditch tackle. Brilliant anticipation from the Wales captain.
Hansen can’t go over and Doris tries for score number two, but there’s a knock-on in contact.
Wales with the put-in at the scrum five metres out from their own try line.
They have been under pressure for essentially this entire first half.
14:50 , George Flood
30 mins: Wales are under constant pressure here, but there’s a great take from Liam Williams in the air to intercept a cross-field kick intended for Hansen.
Stop me if you’ve heard this one before, but Wales quickly give away ANOTHER penalty.
Lock Adam Beard off his feet.
Ireland kick for the lineout midway inside the 22 and look to get that maul moving...
14:48 , George Flood
29 mins: Ireland look like making something happen every single time they attack.
Liam Williams gathers after a McCloskey dink in the 22, with Wales winning the breakdown penalty after good work from Thomas.
Ryan is whistled on the deck and a scuffle ensues. It’s quickly defused.
Always extra needle when these two sides meet!
Watch: Lowe intercepts Biggar for third Ireland try
14:46 , George Flood
Dan Biggar has put Wales in a bigger hole 🙃
James Lowe says thank you very much and away he goes for Ireland's third try! 🟢
📺 Watch live on @BBCOne and @BBCiPlayer#BBCRugby #SixNations pic.twitter.com/dzvesrNZYY
— BBC Sport (@BBCSport) February 4, 2023
PENALTY! Wales 3-27 Ireland | Johnny Sexton 28’
14:45 , George Flood
28 mins: Wales’ ill-discipline is really getting out of hand now - Gatland will be raging up in the box.
They are conceding penalties all over the place, time and time again.
Faletau comes in at the side again at the ruck and Ireland have another easily kickable penalty.
Sexton gratefully bangs another straight down the pipe to extend the lead to 24 points.
14:42 , George Flood
24 mins: Wow, what an opportunity missed for Wales.
Ireland’s defence stands firm and wins a pressure-relieving penalty for not releasing just in front of their own line.
Wales had the numerical advantage on the outside and should have scored there, but it’s another poor decision from Biggar as he’s cut down.
He’s having a rough few minutes.
TRY! Wales 3-24 Ireland | James Lowe 21’
14:38 , George Flood
21 mins: A huge intercept from Lowe, who streaks clear for Ireland’s third try of the day already!
There was no catching him after Biggar had tried to force the ball out to Liam Williams and the Leinster wing pounced on a flat, obviously telegraphed pass.
A gift from Wales, who had been showing some attacking promise led by Dyer.
But the hole they are in has just got deeper still.
PENALTY! Wales 3-17 Ireland | Johnny Sexton 19'
14:36 , George Flood
19 mins: Wales get the turnover in their 22 and Doris is whistled at the breakdown, but Ireland apply massive pressure at the set-piece again.
Wales are pinged for collapsing and it’s another Irish penalty, which this time Sexton will kick at goal.
No mistake from the veteran fly-half. 17-3.
14:34 , George Flood
16 mins: Keenan has been excellent for Ireland in both attack and defence inside the first quarter of an hour in Cardiff.
Wales up to four penalties conceded already as a breakdown infringement gives the Men in Green the chance to kick for another lineout.
Danger beckoning again for the hosts.
PENALTY! Wales 3-14 Ireland | Dan Biggar 15'
14:32 , George Flood
15 mins: Better from Wales after that pressure on Sexton and subsequent counter-attack.
They have all the momentum and another penalty, which they decide to kick and take the points while they can - not a decision that impresses some of the home fans inside the Principality.
Biggar gets them off the mark from the tee. 14-3.
14:30 , George Flood
12 mins: A huge chance for Wales as they apply big pressure on Sexton, Thomas deflects a pass intended for McCloskey and former Sevens star Dyer plays football as he boots his way deep into the 22.
A try-saving intervention from Keenan!
Was that a deliberate knock-on from Thomas? TMO says no.
14:29 , George Flood
10 mins: Ill-discipline is plaguing Wales’ attempts to launch any kind of fightback.
A handful of penalties already given away.
TRY! Wales 0-14 Ireland | James Ryan 9’
14:26 , George Flood
9 mins: Two tries for Ireland inside 10 minutes!
After the tap and go from five metres from Sexton, Ireland have another penalty advantage as they crash towards the line again.
Bealham ends up popping off for towering lock Ryan to barrel over.
Another comfortable conversion for Sexton to make it 14-0.
Wales need to get a grip here. And fast.
14:25 , George Flood
7 mins: This Welsh defence is already creaking massively as Keenan makes great inroads down the left and Ireland quickly carry their way up to a metre from the try line once again.
They attack with a penalty advantage, with play eventually coming back for offside.
After some treatment for Beirne, Sexton taps from close rather than opt for another three points...
Watch: Doris touches down early Ireland try
14:23 , George Flood
What a start for Ireland! 👊🟢
That's why they're the number one team in the world!
Caelan Doris powering his way over for the opening try inside two minutes.
Wales 0-7 Ireland after Johnny Sexton's conversion.
📺 Watch live on @BBCOne and @BBCiPlayer#BBCRugby #SixNations pic.twitter.com/JmjCjFXMWq
— BBC Sport (@BBCSport) February 4, 2023
14:23 , George Flood
5 mins: An early kicking battle has now ensued as both sides scrap for territory following that early Ireland breakthrough.
Wales have not got going here and a raucous crowd has already been silenced.
Ireland kick for another lineout in the Welsh half after an offside call.
TRY! Wales 0-7 Ireland | Caelan Doris 3’
14:18 , George Flood
3 mins: Absolutely ruthless from Ireland!
They don’t get too much out of the lineout maul, but a succession of bruising carries inside the 22 get them up a metre from the line.
Sexton almost drives over himself before James Ryan crashes just short and star no8 Doris applies the finishing touch.
Sexton provides a simple conversion. Ireland 7-0 up inside three minutes!
14:17 , George Flood
2 mins: Ireland with huge pressure straight from kick-off as Welsh scrum-half Tomos Williams only just gets that big clearing kick away.
James Lowe kicks enticingly down the left wing and Wales are under the pump already, with Liam Williams having to clean up.
An early lineout chance for Ireland deep inside the 22.
14:15 , George Flood
The 2023 Six Nations is underway!
Top-ranked Ireland are big favourites to lay down an early marker today, but have not won in Cardiff in the Six Nations since 2013.
Can Warren Gatland’s return inspire Wales to an upset?
Time to find out...
14:14 , George Flood
That Welsh anthem in Cardiff takes some beating.
Ken Owens absolutely belting out the words as he leads the side on his 87th cap.
14:12 , George Flood
Here come the anthems, with ‘Shoulder to Shoulder’ to be followed by ‘Land of My Fathers’.
This should be something special and spine-tingling, as always!
Here come the teams
14:10 , George Flood
No shortage of light shows, fireworks and pyrotechnics as usual under the closed Principality roof.
Ken Owens and Johnny Sexton lead out their respective teams.
What an atmosphere already.
You just can’t beat the Six Nations!
14:08 , George Flood
13:59 , George Flood
A sensational atmosphere is already brewing inside the Principality with a choir at full voice in the middle of the pitch.
They won’t be signing Tom Jones’ Delilah, however.
That 1968 song - which is about a jealous lover stabbing his unfaithful partner - has been banned from the stadium and removed from choir playlists.
That decision came with the Welsh Rugby Union under severe fire amid allegations of sexism and misogyny.
Eddie Butler tribute
13:54 , George Flood
It seems impossible to fathom a Six Nations campaign beginning without the stirring commentary and rousing montage scene-setters from Eddie Butler.
The former Wales international turned journalist and columnist and undisputed voice of rugby will be so sorely missed.
Butler sadly died at the age of 65 last September in his sleep while on a charity trek in Peru.
Eddie Butler. We miss the man, but we’ll always have the memories.
When you hear 𝑡ℎ𝑎𝑡 voice, you know the #GuinnessSixNations is here 🎙 pic.twitter.com/LyvgkA9eBP
— Guinness Six Nations (@SixNationsRugby) February 4, 2023
13:49 , George Flood
It will be fascinating to see now how Ireland operate with Murray starting ahead of the influential Gibson-Park at scrum-half.
The New Zealand-born Leinster star Gibson-Park is so important to how this team play, setting the tempo and keeping them driving on the front foot with that relentless pace and quick ball, sniping all over the place.
An editorial in the Irish Times this week described Gibson-Park as the most important player to Ireland’s fortunes, aside from Sexton.
Murray is no green replacement as a veteran of 100 caps and three Lions tours, but he’s not the same operator and a different approach may now be required.
Farrell: Ireland wanted Principality roof closed
13:38 , George Flood
“I don’t know about a free shot in Test-match rugby. Where do you get those from?” Farrell retorted on Thursday. “There’s no doubt Warren will expect his side to win, and I expect our side to win.”
On consenting to the roof being closed at the Principality, he added: “We have to agree to the roof being closed. We wanted it closed as well, to sample the atmosphere and keep progressing on our journey.
“It’s great, it’s a fantastic stadium. We’ve been there before when the roof’s been closed and there’s no atmosphere like it.”
13:29 , George Flood
There was just a little bit of needle between former Lions colleagues Warren Gatland and Andy Farrell in the build-up this week, with the former suggesting that today’s game against the world’s no1-ranked side represents something of a “free hit” for a Welsh team desperately looking to find their feet again after a dismal 2022.
“I suppose the free hit for us is that the expectation and pressure is on them to win as favourites,” Gatland said.
“It hasn’t always been the easiest tag for Irish and Welsh teams in the past to carry going in as the favourites.
“You can get an upset because there is a huge amount of history and rivalry between those two nations and there has been a lot of close games.
“The secret, and I am sure Andy will be talking about this, is that you don’t run away from that, you look to embrace the expectations of being the No 1 team in the world.
“That is definitely the attitude I would be taking if I was in the Ireland camp. I’ve had that experience in the past with Wales, having to handle the favourites’ tag.”
13:24 , George Flood
Here’s confirmation of that late double change to the Ireland squad in Cardiff:
📋 Team Update: Jamison Gibson-Park and Cian Healy have been ruled out of today’s game through injury.
Conor Murray comes into the starting team, with Craig Casey and Dave Kilcoyne named on the bench. #TeamOfUs | #GuinnessSixNations pic.twitter.com/gjav17LU3x
— Irish Rugby (@IrishRugby) February 4, 2023
Double late Ireland injury blow
13:17 , George Flood
Here’s the revised Ireland lineup in lieu of an unexpected double late change, with prop Cian Healy also now out through injury.
Dave Kilcoyne joins Craig Casey in getting called onto the bench.
Ireland XV: Keenan; Hansen, Ringrose, McCloskey, Lowe; Sexton (c), Murray; Porter, Sheehan, Bealham; Beirne, Ryan; O’Mahony, Van der Flier, Doris.
Replacements: Herring, Kilcoyne, O’Toole, Henderson, Conan, Casey, Byrne, Aki.
Gibson-Park ruled out as Murray starts for Ireland
13:16 , George Flood
News of a very late change to the Ireland team.
Jamison Gibson-Park has been withdrawn due to a hamstring injury.
The experienced Conor Murray starts at scrum-half instead, with Munster’s Craig Casey drafted onto the bench.
No Robbie Henshaw today either for Ireland remember, he’s out along with the likes of Tadhg Furlong.
Gibson-Park’s absence is another unwanted headache for Farrell. He really sets and drives that tempo from 9.
13:07 , George Flood
The calm before the proverbial storm at the Principality, which will be absolutely rocking in about an hour’s time.
Wales team guide
12:55 , George Flood
Head coach:Warren Gatland. The uber-successful Kiwi coach is back for a second bite of the Welsh cherry. Wayne Pivac’s tenure never worked out, so the decorated former Wasps and three-time Lions boss is back at the Cardiff helm.
Captain: Ken Owens. The Lions hooker has been handed the mantle by Gatland in a big show of faith in one of the boss’ most trusted long-term lieutenants. A shrewd operator, funny off the pitch and smart on it.
Ones to watch
Taulupe Faletau: The Cardiff back-rower will be crucial to Wales’ chances of pack dominance and front-foot possession with his powerful carrying work.
Rio Dyer: The Dragons wing will win just his fourth cap in Wales’ opener against Ireland, but has been backed heavily by Gatland for his game-breaking abilities.
Dan Biggar: The Toulon fly-half knows exactly how to deliver the Gatland gameplan, and his tactical kicking – and its accuracy – will be crucial to Wales’ chances.
What they’ve said
Captain Ken Owens: “I always dreamed of representing my country growing up, so to have the opportunity to captain Wales means a hell of a lot to me. For the people who supported me over the years, family, friends, coaches at clubs, it’s as much for them as for myself.”
Tournament prediction: Fourth.
Ireland team guide
12:51 , George Flood
Head coach: Andy Farrell. The former dual-code international and ex-England assistant coach has dragged Ireland to even greater heights than predecessor Joe Schmidt. A maiden Test series win in New Zealand capped a stunning 2022 and Farrell’s men enter the tournament as the world’s top-ranked team.
Captain: Johnny Sexton. The Leinster and Lions fly-half remains pivotal to Ireland’s chances. The 37-year-old continues to deliver, and has shaken off a facial fracture in quick time to be fit for the start of the tournament.
Ones to watch
Andrew Porter: Looks like a WWE star or muscled-up heavy metal fan but is quiet, unassuming and respect personified off the field. On the pitch it’s all Rage Against The Scrum Machine in startlingly effective fashion, with the Leinster man a vital set-piece weapon and a marauder with ball in hand.
James Ryan: The towering second row runs the lineout, locks out the scrum on the tighthead side and is equal parts savvy tactician and major nuisance. Would grace any team sheet.
Hugo Keenan: The man to take the 15 jersey into a new era as the long-term successor to the illustrious Rob Kearney.
What they’ve said
Captain Johnny Sexton: “The doctors said if you had to break one bone in your face, that’s the one to break. So I’m completely good to go.”
Tournament prediction: Second.
12:45 , George Flood
The Irish team bus arriving at the Principality a little earlier on...
Sexton and Lowe back in Ireland team
12:41 , George Flood
Ireland show three changes in total from the team that outlasted the Wallabies 13-10 in a dour autumn closer in Dublin in November.
On that night, Sexton was a late withdrawal with a calf injury and had to be replaced by Munster’s Jack Crowley.
Crowley, the injured Furlong and versatile Leinster back Jimmy O’Brien all make way for Sexton, Bealham and James Lowe, who is a key returnee for Farrell after missing the autumn matches with a calf injury.
Bealham replaces injured Furlong for Ireland
12:32 , George Flood
For Ireland, the most notable team news surrounds the absence of star tighthead Tadhg Furlong, who misses out with ankle and calf issues.
His no3 shirt is instead taken by Australian-born Connacht stalwart Finlay Bealham.
In midfield, Ulster’s Stuart McCloskey partners Garry Ringrose with Bundee Aki on the bench.
Influential captain Johnny Sexton has shrugged off a facial fracture in time to play in a crucial boost for the Men in Green.
In-form Morgan picked in Welsh back row
12:23 , George Flood
Plenty of experience elsewhere for Wales, with the likes of Alun Wyn Jones (set for an incredible 156th cap), Ken Owens and Liam Williams joined by the returning Dan Biggar, who missed a dismal autumn - the final throes of the forgetful reign of Wayne Pivac - with a knee injury.
Josh Adams, Justin Tipuric, Taulupe Faletau, Adam Beard, Tomas Francis and Tomos Williams pile on the caps, though it’s only a 15th for Gareth Thomas at loosehead.
Another intriguing Gatland selection is in the back row, where the familiar faces of Tipuric and Faletau are joined by in-form Ospreys flanker Jac Morgan, who earns only his sixth senior cap.
Hawkins and Dyer to make Six Nations debuts
12:15 , George Flood
But the headline team news from a Welsh perspective this afternoon is the inclusion of two fresher faces in the backline as Gatland aims for a more expansive game with the players available rather than a return to the bruising but successful and high-octane philosophy that became known as “Warrenball”.
Ospreys centre Joe Hawkins earns just his second cap, lining up in midfield alongside the vastly experienced George North.
Out on the flank, Dragons wing Rio Dyer will provide real speed, energy and explosion as he makes only his fourth Wales appearance.
Both players are making their Six Nations debuts today.
Williams replaces Halfpenny for Wales
12:09 , George Flood
There are plenty of Warren Gatland regulars in that first XV of his second spell in charge, with the likes of evergreen 37-year-old Alun Wyn Jones and 36-year-old skipper Ken Owens gearing up for yet another Six Nations tilt.
Leigh Halfpenny was set to earn his first international start for 19 months this afternoon, only to suffer back spasms on Thursday and be replaced at full-back by another seasoned campaigner in Liam Williams.
It is the third time that the unlucky Halfpenny has had to pull out of Wales starts of late, having also done it twice in the autumn.
Williams himself missed the autumn series with a collarbone injury.
Wales vs Ireland prediction
12:04 , George Flood
There is always an added edge and no shortage of extra needle when these two old rivals meet and Saturday’s curtain-raiser should prove no different.
Welsh rugby is certainly not in a good place at the moment despite some strong performances and results from the provinces in Europe and it will be hoped that the return of their most successful and longest-serving coach in Gatland can inspire a rejuvenation on the pitch with the World Cup fast approaching.
But despite the Principality not always being the happiest of hunting grounds for them, it’s very difficult to look past Ireland here.
They are absolutely flying under Farrell, with a narrow defeat in France the only blot on a terrific copybook in 2022. The series win over the All Blacks was historic and they proved their physical and mental fortitude once again during the autumn.
Ireland to win, by 14 points.
12:02 , George Flood
Ireland XV: Keenan; Hansen, Ringrose, McCloskey, Lowe; Sexton (c), Gibson-Park; Porter, Sheehan, Bealham; Beirne, Ryan; O’Mahony, Van der Flier, Doris.
Replacements:Herring, Healy, O’Toole, Henderson, Conan, Murray, Byrne, Aki.
12:01 , George Flood
Wales XV: L Williams; Adams, North, Hawkins, Dyer; Biggar, T Williams; G Thomas, Owens (c), Francis, Beard, AW Jones, Morgan, Tipuric, Faletau.
Replacements: Baldwin, Carre, Lewis, Jenkins, Reffell, Webb, O Williams, Cuthbert.
How to watch Wales vs Ireland
12:01 , George Flood
TV channel: Wales vs Ireland is being broadcast live and free-to-air on BBC One, with coverage beginning at 1:15pm. Live coverage is also available on Welsh-language channel S4C from 1:30pm.
Live stream: Fans can also follow all the action as it happens live online via the BBC Sport website, BBC iPlayer or S4C Clic.
Welcome to Wales vs Ireland LIVE coverage!
11:57 , George Flood
Hello and welcome to Standard Sport’s LIVE coverage as the 2023 Six Nations begins with a Cardiff curtain-raiser!
We’ve got a cracking opening contest in store between Wales and Ireland to kick things off in round one, with the messiah Warren Gatland back at the Principality Stadium and desperate to inspire a swift turnaround amid a very difficult spell for Welsh rugby both on and off the pitch.
Ireland go into the 129th edition of this competition as many people’s favourites along with France, sitting top of the world rankings after that historic series triumph in New Zealand last summer and autumn wins over South Africa and Australia.
The pressure is on Andy Farrell’s men to make a real further statement ahead of the World Cup, which is now just seven months away.
Kick-off today is at 2:15pm GMT, with a fantastic atmosphere guaranteed at the Six Nations’ best venue after Ireland agreed to have the roof closed for the duration. Stay tuned for all your match build-up, latest team news and live updates!