Wales v Ireland, Six Nations 2023: kick off time, TV channel, team news, line-ups, venue, odds today
Three-time Grand Slam winner Warren Gatland is back in charge of the home side and hopes to inspire a quick revival with the World Cup in France just seven months away.
Wales have won just three of 12 matches in a dismal last year under former head coach Wayne Pivac, losing to both Italy and Georgia at home in the process to lead to his sacking and the shock return of fellow Kiwi Gatland, who some had linked with succeeding Eddie Jones as England boss.
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Welsh rugby badly needs a boost amid turmoil behind the scenes, with allegations of sexism and misogyny at the Welsh Rugby Union (WRU).
A clash with Ireland is a very difficult start, however, with Andy Farrell’s side seen by many as slight favorites for glory this year ahead of reigning Grand Slam champions France.
The Men in Green narrowly missed out last time out after a narrow loss in Paris but have otherwise had a fantastic 2022 to top the world rankings, beating Australia and South Africa in the fall after scoring history over the summer as the first Irish team to win a series on New Zealand soil – no small feat.
Wales vs Ireland kick off date, time and venue
Wales v Ireland is the first match of the 2023 Six Nations, which takes place before England face Scotland at Twickenham on the opening day.
The game is due to start at 2.15pm GMT today, Saturday February 4, hosted by atmosphere at the Principality Stadium in Cardiff, where the roof will be closed for the game.
How to watch Wales v Ireland
TV channel: Wales v Ireland is broadcast live and free on BBC One, with coverage starting at 1.15pm. Live coverage is also available on Welsh-language channel S4C from 1.30pm.
Direct: Fans can also follow all the action live online via the BBC Sport website, BBC iPlayer or S4C Clic.
Live: Follow the match live today with Standard Sport’s dedicated blog.
Wales vs Ireland Team News
Gatland’s first line-up as Wales boss sees Six Nations debuts for Ospreys center Joe Hawkins and Dragons wing Rio Dyer, while Jac Morgan earns his sixth cap in the back row.
Liam Williams is at the back after a late injury to Leigh Halfpenny, with Ken Owens captaining the hooker’s side on his 87th cap and the perennial Alun Wyn Jones embarking on an incredible 17th campaign.
For Ireland, Australian Connacht stalwart Finlay Bealham is making his first Six Nations start in the front row with the usual tadhg Furlong with ankle and calf problems.
Influential skipper Johnny Sexton is crucial to start at the opener after face surgery and having ditched his mask in training, while Stuart McCloskey is preferred to Bundee Aki in midfield and James Lowe is back after missed the fall.
Jamison Gibson-Park and Cian Healy retired late before Saturday’s kick-off, with Conor Murray starting at scrum-half instead and Craig Casey and Dave Kilcoyne coming on the bench.
Wales v Ireland
XV of Wales: 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, Renell, Webb, O Williams, Cuthbert.
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.
Wales vs Ireland Head to Head (h2h) history and results
Ireland have won five of their last six meetings against Wales, but it should be noted that they have not triumphed in Cardiff in a Six Nations game since 2013.
Wales won 21-16 at this ground in 2021 en route to lifting the trophy after Peter O’Mahony’s first red card, but were dismissed 29-7 in the opener in Dublin last year .
Wales win: 70
Ireland win: 56
Prediction Wales vs Ireland
There’s always an added advantage and an extra needle that never misses when these two former rivals meet and Saturday’s curtain-raiser should be no different.
Welsh rugby is certainly not in a good position at the moment despite strong performances and results from the provinces of Europe and it is hoped that the return of their most successful and long-serving coach to Gatland can inspire rejuvenation on the pitch. with the World Cup fast approaching.
But although the Principality is not always the happiest hunting ground for them, it is very difficult to look beyond Ireland here.
They absolutely fly under Farrell, with a narrow defeat in France the only blemish on a terrific notebook in 2022. The series win over the All Blacks was historic and they once again proved their physical and mental strength at the autumn.
Ireland winner, by 14 points.
Wales vs Ireland Odds
Wales winner: 12/5
Ireland winner: 1/3
Odds via Betfair (subject to change).