Match Preview

Preview: Ireland v Wales

Joe McCarthy - Ireland v Italy
Unbeaten Ireland welcome Wales to Dublin in the Guinness Men’s Six Nations as Andy Farrell’s men look to keep their hopes of back-to-back Grand Slams alive.

Victories against France and Italy leave Ireland in a good position to do just that heading into Round 3 but know they must get past a Wales’ side whose performances belie their winless start to the Championship.

Warren Gatland’s youthful team have shown plenty of grit and fight in their two narrow defeats to Scotland and England to suggest they could cause their in-form hosts problems at the Aviva Stadium on Saturday.

If they are to claim their first win of the 2024 Championship, it would be Wales’ first Guinness Men’s Six Nations victory in Dublin since 2012.


The match is available to watch on RTÉ 2 in Ireland, with coverage beginning at 1.20pm, while UK viewers can watch on ITV 1 from 1.25pm. Kick-off is at 2.15pm.

Those in Wales can also watch on S4C.


Ireland make seven changes to the side that beat Italy, with Ciarán Frawley set for his first international start at full-back.

Frawley replaces the injured Hugo Keenan in one of three changes to the backs, which also sees Bundee Aki and Jamison Gibson-Park return.

In the pack, Tadhg Furlong is back in at tighthead prop, while Tadhg Beirne reunites with Joe McCarthy in the second row.

The back row sees captain Peter O’Mahony return for his 50th Guinness Men’s Six Nations appearance, with Josh van der Flier also back in as Caelan Doris moves to number eight.

On the bench, Oli Jager could be in line for his first cap.

Wales make just the one change from the 16-14 defeat to England, with Sam Costelow returning at fly-half.

The 23-year-old missed out at Twickenham after sustaining a neck injury against Scotland in Round 1 but regains his starting berth in place of Ioan Lloyd, who is on the bench.

Gatland’s only other adjustments are amongst the replacements, with uncapped number eight Mackenzie Martin on the bench in place of Taine Basham.

Prop Dillon Lewis is also named in the 23-man squad, with Leon Brown and Archie Griffin both ruled out through injury.

Experienced back Gareth Anscombe and back row Christ Tshiunza are both back in training but are not included in the matchday squad.


Ireland head coach said: "He [Frawley] has been in and around the squad, and he's always had an appetite to want to get to this type of position," Farrell said.

"Now it has come around, I'm sure it’s a big moment for him and his family to start the game. But it’s all about performing isn’t it and taking your chance.

"That’s what international rugby is all about. All you need is a chance, it’s up to the individuals to go and take that and prove a point.

"His skillset is fantastic, and I'm sure that it's a big week for him, so there'll be a test of his temperament. He's playing in a good side so I'm sure he'll take his chance."

Wales head coach Warren Gatland said: "We are excited to go out to Dublin and test ourselves against one of the leading sides in world rugby.

"It's a challenge we are relishing. We've made steps in the last couple of games and now it's about building on that, learning from those experiences and taking that into this weekend.

"It's about continuing to work hard, looking for accuracy in our performance across 80 minutes and also keeping our discipline.”

KEY BATTLE - Caelan Doris v Aaron Wainwright

Aaron Wainwright starred for Wales as they valiantly fought back from 27-0 down against Scotland, but he will face his toughest test to date against opposite number Caelan Doris.]

Doris has been a standout performer for Ireland in the 2024 Championship, captaining his country against Italy last time out, and has overcome an injury scare to retain his starting jersey.

Wainwright will hope to team up with the impressive Tommy Reffell and Alex Mann to try and win the breakdown battle, but faces a tough task against Doris, Peter O’Mahony, and Josh van der Flier.


  • Ireland are unbeaten in five Championship matches at the Aviva Stadium against Wales. It is part of a fearsome home record boasted by Farrell’s men, who have not lost at home in the Guinness Men’s Six Nations since February 2021 (15-13 v France)

  • Ireland have scored the most points (74) so far in the 2024 Championship. It is 31 points more than the next best, England and Scotland (both 43).

  • Wales’ six tries in the Championship is the second-best of all teams, bettered only by Saturday’s opponents Ireland (11).

  • Wales are the only side yet to successfully kick a penalty in the 2024 Championship. Ireland have kicked just one across their two games. England have kicked the most (7).

  • Ireland’s Dan Sheehan tops the try-scoring standings with three tries. It is as many Championship tries as he has scored in all previous Guinness Men’s Six Nations appearances. Teammate Calvin Nash and Wales’ Alex Mann are just one behind with two, alongside Scotland’s Duhan van der Merwe.

  • Wales’ Cameron Winnett leads the Championship for metres carried (191.6m). The 21-year-old is also second for metres gained (155.8m), one metre behind Ireland’s James Lowe.


Ireland’s James Lowe netted his owners 50 points last week, and the wing is likely to be a popular pick again as he looks to add to his one try this Championship.Lowe is expensive at 19.9 stars, so managers may opt for the more budget friendly Calvin Nash, who has two tries to his name and costs just 12.1 stars.

Aaron Wainwright hauled 56 points in Round 1 thanks to his Player of the Match performance against Scotland and will hope to repeat that feat against Ireland.

At 12.9 stars, he represents strong value in the back row alongside teammates Tommy Reffell (13.7 stars) and Alex Mann (10 stars).


Ireland: 15 Ciarán Frawley, 14 Calvin Nash, 13 Robbie Henshaw, 12 Bundee Aki, 11 James Lowe, 10 Jack Crowley, 9 Jamison Gibson-Park; 1 Andrew Porter, 2 Dan Sheehan, 3 Tadhg Furlong, 4 Joe McCarthy, 5 Tadhg Berine, 6 Peter O’Mahony, 7 Josh van der Flier, 8 Caelan Doris

Replacements: 16 Ronan Kelleher, 17 Cian Healy, 18 Oli Jager, 19 James Ryan, 20 Ryan Baird, 21 Jack Conan, 22 Conor Murray, 23 Stuart McCloskey

Wales: 15 Cameron Winnett, 14 Josh Adams, 13 George North, 12 Nick Tompkins, 11 Rio Dyer, 10 Sam Costelow, 9 Tomos Williams; 1 Gareth Thomas, 2 Elliot Dee, 3 Kieron Assiratti, 4 Dafydd Jenkins, 5 Adam Beard, 6 Alex Mann, 7 Tommy Reffell, 8 Aaron Wainwright

Replacements: 16 Ryan Elias, 17 Corey Domachowski, 18 Dillon Lewis, 19 Will Rowlands, 20 Mackenzie Martin, 21 Kieran Hardy, 22 Ioan Lloyd, 23 Mason Grady