Ireland vs Wales: Who Will Win the First Match of the Six Nations?

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TournamentSix Nations
TimetableSaturday 5th February at 14:15 GMT
PredictionIreland to win
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Ireland to win
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The 2022 Guinness Six Nations will get underway in Dublin on the 5th of February, as Andy Farrell's in-form Ireland take on defending-champions Wales at the Aviva Stadium. Both teams will be desperate to get their campaigns off to a flier and on the way to Grand Slam glory. So, who will win the first match of this great rugby tournament? We have a few ideas. Read on, to find out more!

Irish Flag vs Welsh Flag

Team Previews and Injuries

The obvious first port of call for any rugby match prediction is to look at the two teams. A lot of sports have it tough when it comes to player injuries, but few can claim the injury pool so brutal as rugby. There is somewhat a divide in how this affects the Six Nations teams, with teams with the largest financial backing like England having less of a mare when it comes to losing players - after all, there are a lot of fantastic English Premiership players to choose from if their wingers suddenly can't outstep Stuart Hogg because of a broken ankle.

With that in mind, let's take a look at how both teams are faring with keeping the physios busy and which players might not be earning their boot money in the first match.

Ireland Team News

  • Jonny Sexton: The man, the myth, the legend. He helped the Irish to another rare-but-glorious spanking of the All Blacks, but at the cost of a twisted ankle and knee. Thankfully for the 36 year-old veteran fly-half, he should only miss six weeks of action, so there's a case that he may just be fit for February, if not for this first match of the Six Nations.

Wales Team News

  • Alun Wyn Jones: Speaking of legends, familiar-faced Alun Wyn Jones is a disappointing name for the Welsh to have on the injury list, having suffered a shoulder injury against the All Blacks in the Autumn Nations series. The team will certainly feel the absence of their talismanic captain, and will be praying for his return to the pitch, if rumours of retirement aren't true, for the Rugby World Cup 2023.
  • Josh Navidi: Another powerhouse out with a shoulder injury, the 30 year-old back row-er will be a further blow to Wales' forward pack, raising questions about whom will pick up the cap in his place.
  • Leigh Halfpenny: A horrific knee injury picked up last summer means a slow return in April for Scarlets' full-back Leigh Halfpenny, which makes him unlikely to be fit for any of the games.

Not all is doom and gloom on the injury front for the Welsh, however, with several A-list players looking to return from time off the pitch, ready for the tournament in February.

  • Justin Tipuric: Having suffered a horrendous shoulder injury in the summer, Tipuric may just make it back in time for the start of the tournament, so we might get to see more of the idiosyncratic light-blue scrum cap.
  • Ross Moriarty: Wales certainly haven't had a good run for shoulder injuries of late, but the Dragons' flanker could at least be back in January - a relief for the scrum of the men in red.
  • Taulupe Faletau: There was no luck for him returning to play the Autumn Nations series, but if he can full recover from his rolled ankle, he will surely be looking to get one over local European rivals, this Six Nations.
  • George North With a ruptured anterior cruciate ligament, back in April of the 2021 6 Nations, North will be hoping to be training in the new year. Whether he will be fit in time remains to be seen, but there will be little doubt if he is that his name will feature on the team sheet.

Previous Five Head-to-Head Results

When it comes to trying to predict any sports tournament, it is also always a good idea to take a look at recent previous results between the two teams, since this can give you a good indication as to who will come out on top this time around. In the table below, you can see the last five Ireland vs Wales 6 Nations results:

DateVenueScoreWinner
7th of February 2021Principality Stadium, Cardiff21-16Wales
8th of February 2020Aviva Stadium, Dublin24-14Ireland
16th of March 2019Principality Stadium, Cardiff25-7Wales
24th of February 2018Aviva Stadium, Dublin37-27Ireland
10th of March 2017Principality Stadium, Cardiff22-9Wales

So, as you can see from the above table, when it comes to Ireland vs Wales rugby, the team that is playing at home seems to be the team that goes on to win the match. Could the fact that Ireland are playing at home be a deciding factor in this series?

Recent Form

As well as looking at previous Ireland vs Wales Six Nations results, it is also wise to take a look at both teams’ most recent results, as they are a good indicator as to what type of form each side is in. Unless you fancied very long odds, it's probably not likely that you would bet on a team that had lost their last five matches if the other team had smashed their last five results.

Below you can find a list of Ireland's and Wales’s last five results.

Ireland Results

DateTeamsVenueScoreWinner
21st of November 2021Ireland v ArgentinaAviva Stadium, Dublin53-7Ireland
13th of November 2021Ireland v New ZealandAviva Stadium, Dublin29-20Ireland
6th of November 2021Ireland v JapanAviva Stadium, Dublin60-5Ireland
10th of July 2021Ireland v USAAviva Stadium, Dublin71-10Ireland
3rd of July 2021Ireland v JapanAviva Stadium, Dublin39-31Ireland

Wales Results

DateTeamsVenueScoreWinner
20th of November 2021Wales v AustraliaPrincipality Stadium, Cardiff29-28Wales
14th of November 2021Wales v FijiPrincipality Stadium, Cardiff38-23Wales
6th of November 2021Wales v South AfricaPrincipality Stadium, Cardiff18-23South Africa
30th of October 2021Wales v New ZealandPrincipality Stadium, Cardiff16-54New Zealand
17th of July 2021Wales v ArgentinaPrincipality Stadium, Cardiff11-33Argentina

As you can see, there were a lot of interesting results from the Autumn Nations series, including an Irish win over the All Blacks - a rare loss for the three-time World Cup winners - and a surprising trouncing of Wales by the Pumas. Given that Ireland won all of their last five matches and that Wales lost three of five - barely scraping two underwhelming victories in the end - it is more than fair to say that Andy Farrell's boys seem like the team more up to putting a cracking start to their Six Nations campaign.

Our Overall Ireland vs Wales Match Prediction Winner

Maybe it should be obvious whom our Ireland vs Wales prediction is going to go to. Ireland have fewer injuries, are playing at home, are playing in great form, and will be looking to prove that wins in the Autumn Nations series were more than just flukes. With Wales losing key players, including rugby hero Alun Wyn Jones, it's hard to see them defending their 2021 title. For us, it's less a question of who is going to win, but how many extra points the men in green are going to stick on the scoreboard. Ireland to win, all day.

Ireland to win

Take a look at our other rugby predictions here: