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These two old rivals go at one another for the 132nd time in their history. Wales have been the most successful of the two over that period with 69 wins, but the dominance has certainly swung the way of Ireland over the last 20 years.
The Irish have won 17 of their 27 meetings this century, including each of the last four. Andy Farrell has been involved in the two most recent competitive clashes between two, both of which have come in the previous 12 months at the Aviva Stadium by at least 10 point margins.
The English coach has had a predictable start to life as head coach, winning six of his nine matches and only losing to England (twice) and France.
The actual results won’t dishearten Irish fans too much considering the transition period they are in, but perhaps nature in which they lost each of those matches might, being behind by more than a converted try in each.
Wales In Transition
The Welsh are going through a transition stage themselves, but they’ve hit rock bottom in their pursuit of reaching their 2019 form.
A win percentage of 30% under Wayne Pivac is well below bar given their current squad and history, especially considering each of their three victories have come against Italy (twice) and Georgia.
They have dropped to ninth in the World Rankings, two places below Scotland, and although the bookmakers still feel they’re favourites to finish fourth in this tournament, they could be hard-pressed to do that.
They’ll welcome a return to the Principality Stadium, but with no crowds, we somewhat doubt they’ll see a boost in their performances.
In fact, given the hosts have lost all seven matches by at least three points to the eight teams above them in the rankings under current management, being behind at the break in six, we’re a little surprised to see Ireland as only marginal favourites.
Ireland To Beat Wales
Wales may have won two of the last four meetings between these two sides at this stadium, but the most recent of them went Ireland’s way.
Home form has weighed heavily on results in previous Six Nations campaigns, but due to the current Covid-19 situation, we feel it’s going to have much less of an impact.
With that said, the 32-9 hammering Farrell’s men gave Wales in the Nations Cup back in November puts them streaks ahead of their hosts for us, while having won each of the last four meetings, this can only go one way for us.