The Dragons won their opening four encounters last year before a narrow 32-30 defeat to the French ensured they lifted the trophy for the second time in three years. You could argue they had an element of fortune in that run, with their opening two fixtures seeing Ireland and Scotland both go down to 14-men, while their encounter with England was also shrouded by controversy.
Going back to that Six Nations decider last year, Wales since have a poor W3-D1-L4 record, with their only victories coming against Canada, Fiji and a one point victory against a depleted Australia side that were down to 13 men for a portion of the game, and that’s not the kind of form you want to be heading over to Dublin with.
Ireland are in stellar form at the moment as having lost their opening two Six Nations games last year to Wales and France, effectively ending any hope of picking up the title, they’ve now won eight successive matches.
While it’s true that those games have come against varying quality of opposition with Italy, Japan (twice) and USA in that run (against whom they beat by an aggregate 218-56 across four outings), they also beat the likes of England, New Zealand, Scotland and Argentina, so they’ll certainly take some beating here.
Ireland -10 Points
The Welsh haven’t won a Six Nations game in Dublin since 2012 when they went on to win the Grand Slam, with Ireland winning each of the last four meetings on home turf in all competitions, and it would be a massive shock if that didn’t become five in a row here.
Wayne Pivac has Ross Moriarty back in the matchday 23 in a massive boost for them, though with lack of match sharpness he’s only good enough for a place on the bench.
The biggest move sees Josh Adams move to 13 in the absence of Willis Halaholo, with Nick Tompkins at inside centre, though ultimately that shouldn’t have too much impact on what is likely to be an extremely physical clash up top, and Moriarty’s absence from the starting 15 might be their downfall.
Aside from in defeats to England and France, all of Ireland’s home victories have come by at least seven points going back a narrow victory over Fiji in November 2017, and with the relative form of both these sides, it seems likely that this will be yet another comfortable victory for the hosts.
20 of those 26 victories also came by at least 10 points, and while they may not cover the handicap line which currently sits around the 14-point mark, a safer option is to get behind the hosts -10.
IRELAND -10 POINTS