Ireland v Wales 2018 Six Nations - what time is the match and where to watch it
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Ireland v Wales 2018 Six Nations - what time is the match and where to watch it

TABLE-TOPPERS Ireland take on Wales this weekend in Dublin in the Six Nations.

Ireland's biggest ever Six Nations win against the Welsh was 16 years ago in 2002 with a scoreline of 54-10.

While in total the sides have gone up against each other 125 times - with Wales winning 68 of those encounters to Ireland's 50.

The sides have drawn seven times.

With hopes of a grand slam depending on whether Joe Schmidt and his team can get it right on the day, we look at what's ahead for Saturday.

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Ireland v Wales  - Six Nations 2018

When: Satruday, February 24

Where: Aviva Stadium, Dublin

What time? 2.15pm kick-off

Where to watch it: TV3, UTV/ITV, S4C, RTÉ Radio 1, IRFU Live Blog

Who's lining out for Ireland?

IRELAND: Rob Kearney, Keith Earls, Chris Farrell, Bundee Aki, Jacob Stockdale, Jonathan Sexton, Conor Murray, Cian Healy, Rory Best (capt), Andrew Porter, James Ryan, Devin Toner, Peter O'Mahony, Dan Leavy, CJ Stander.

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Replacements: Sean Cronin, Jack McGrath, John Ryan, Quinn Roux, Jack Conan, Kieran Marmion, Joey Carbery, Fergus McFadden.

 

Who's lining out for Wales?

WALES: Leigh Halfpenny, Liam Williams, Scott Williams, Hadleigh Parkes, Steff Evans, Dan Biggar, Gareth Davies, Rob Evans, Ken Owens, Samson Lee, Cory Hill, Alun Wyn Jones (capt), Aaron Shingler, Josh Navidi, Ross Moriarty.

Replacements: Elliot Dee, Wyn Jones, Tomas Francis, Bradley Davies, Justin Tipuric, Aled Davies, Gareth Anscombe, George North.

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Ireland v Wales - head to head

Played - 125

Ireland Won - 50

Wales Won - 68

Drawn - 7

Ireland v Wales over the last five years:

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2013: Ireland won 30-22, Millennium Stadium

2014: Ireland won 26-3, Aviva Stadium

2015: Wales won 23-16, Millennium Stadium; Ireland won 35-21, Millennium Stadium; Wales won 16-10, Aviva Stadium

2016: 16-16 draw, Aviva Stadium

2017: Wales won 22-9, Principality Stadium

Expert view by Garry Doyle

HOME COMFORTS

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Schmidt made an interesting point, reminding everyone he has yet to lose a NatWest Six Nations game on home soil, the kind of comment Gatland is likely to seize upon.

Certainly O’Brien’s critique of his, and Rob Howley’s, coaching work on last summer’s British & Irish Lions tour to New Zealand will be given a mention, prompting reminders of South Africa’s visit here in 2004, when Jake White’s dismissive view of Irish rugby history provided Eddie O’Sullivan with a headline to pin on the dressing room wall.

Have O’Brien and Schmidt offered Gatland a similarly cheap piece of motivation? Perhaps they have.

GETTING THE TONE RIGHT

Ryan or Toner? Youth or experience? The physicality Ryan brings or the reliability Toner offers in the line-out, where Wales’s captain, Alun-Wyn Jones is an expert in the trade?

This decision, along with the question of O’Brien and Furlong’s fitness will have concentrated Schmidt’s mind most.

He knows he has to get it right. A grand slam could depend on it.

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What the bookies say

Ireland to win - 1/3

Wales to win - 3/1

Draw - 25/1