Wales v Ireland in Dublin (6 Nations)
Venue: Croke Park
Referee: Craig Joubert (South Africa)
In recent years the clashes between these two nations has been dramatic. Last year Ireland scored a last minute try to win the game 17-15 and take the Grand Slam. The year before it was Wales' turn to win and take their Grand Slam. Although nothing hinges immediately on the result, both teams are still in with title chances.
Irelands' case looks the better of the two. Frail against the likes of France they bounced back to knock England away from any Grand Slam chance. The outcome may have been judged a little lucky for Ireland but win they did. They still have the brawn and some brains to take this game.
Wales' position is a little more complicated. They have less of a mathematical chance to win the Championship but they have been playing rugby that entertains. But only against Scotland have they won. Against both France and England Wales produced a mother of a comeback, dominating play and playing lovely rugby. But not winning rugby. Mores the pity. I like teams that can win in style.
Last Five Encounters
21.03.2009 Ireland 17-15 in Cardiff (6 Nations)
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)
GWC Rugby Rankings:
World Table-Ireland 3rd, Wales 10th
Europe Table-Ireland 1st, Wales 4th
Prediction: Wales will again produce a startling display of rugby-in the second half. This time I think they can win. Wales by 3 points.
15 Geordan Murphy, 14 Tommy Bowe, 13 Brian O'Driscoll (c), 12 Gordon D'Arcy, 11 Keith Earls, 10 Jonathan Sexton, 9 Tomas O'Leary, 8 James Heaslip, 7 David Wallace , 6 Stephen Ferris, 5 Paul O'Connell, 4 Donncha O'Callaghan, 3 John Hayes, 2 Rory Best, 1 Cian Healy.
16 Sean Cronin, 17 Anthony Buckley, 18 Leo Cullen, 19 Shane Jennings, 20 Eoin Reddan, 21 Ronan O'Gara, 22 Robert Kearney.
Head Coach: Declan Kidney
15 Lee Byrne, 14 Leigh Halfpenny, 13 James Hook, 12 Jamie Roberts, 11 Shane Williams, 10 Stephen Jones, 9 Richie Rees, 8 Gareth Delve, 7 Martyn Williams (c), 6 Jonathan Thomas, 5 Luke Charteris, 4 Bradley Davies, 3 Adam Jones, 2 Matthew Rees, 1 Paul James.
16 Huw Bennett, 17 Rhys Gill, 18 Ian Gough, 19 Sam Warburton, 20 Dwayne Peel, 21 Andrew Bishop, 22 Tom Shanklin
Head Coach: Warren Gatland