Saturday, March 21, 2009

Rugby Test Match: Ireland v Wales

Ireland v Wales in Cardiff (6 Nations)

Its a funny old competition the 6 Nations. No bonus points just a straight two points for a win and 1 for a draw. Nothing flashy about that. In fact the 6 Nations International Championship has little modern about it. It's not even a true international championship. The name comes from the dim past when as far as the 'Home Nations' were concerned this WAS the international Championship.

Occassionally though this competition throws up a humdinger of a finish. On Saturday all hinges on this game in which history could be added to the oldest competition in rugby. Ireland has a chance, and a good one, of scoring a 'Grand Slam' which means it has defeated all other teams. The last time Ireland did that was in 1948 some sixty years ago.

England virtually knocked France out of contention with their win last weekend so only Wales now stands in Ireland's way. The fact that the test is being played in Cardiff will not daunt the Irish. They won the last time the teams met there in 2007.

It's all set for a fantastic atmosphere. All that is required is that both teams play the best rugby they have played all season. If that happens Wales might just upset the Irish dreams.

Last Five Encounters
08.03.2008 Wales 16-12 in Dublin (6 Nations)
04.02.2007 Ireland 19-9 in Cardiff (6 Nations)
26.02.2006 Ireland 31-5 in Dublin (6 Nations)
19.03.2005 Wales 32-20 in Cardiff ( 6 Nations)
22.02.2004 Ireland 36-15 in Dublin (6 Nations)

GWC Rugby Rankings: World Table-Wales 5th, Ireland 7th
Europe Table-Wales 3rd, Ireland 4th

Prediction: Ireland's day in Cardiff. A win by 5 points.



15 Lee Byrne
14 Mark Jones
13 Tom Shanklin
12 Gavin Henson
11 Shane Williams
10 Stephen Jones
9 Michael Phillips
8 Andy Powell
7 Martyn Williams
6 Ryan Jones (captain)
5 Alun-Wyn Jones
4 Ian Gough
3 Adam Jones
2 Matthew Rees
1 Gethin Jenkins.
16 Huw Bennett
17 John Yapp
18 Luke Charteris
19 Dafydd Jones
20 Warren Fury
21 James Hook
22 Jamie Roberts
Head Coach: Warren Gatland


15 Robert Kearney
14 Tommy Bowe
13 Brian O'Driscoll (capt)
12 Gordon D'Arcy
11 Luke Fitzgerald
10 Ronan O'Gara
9 Thomas O'Leary
8 James Heaslip
7 David Wallace
6 Stephen Ferris
5 Paul O'Connell
4 Donncha O'Callaghan
3 John Hayes
2 Jeremy Flannery
1 Marcus Horan
16 Rory Best
17 Thomas Court
18 Michael O'Driscoll
19 Denis Leamy
20 Peter Stringer
21 Patrick Wallace
22 Geordan Murphy
Head Coach: Declan Kidney

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