Ireland keep Grand Slam hopes alive as they beat Wales in Dublin

Ciarán Frawley scores on his first start for Ireland and Oli Jager gets his debut in Green

Ciaran Frawley celebrating with team mates after scoring his first try for Ireland
Ireland v Wales Ireland's Ciaran Frawley (centre) celebrates with team-mate after scoring his side's third try during the Guinness Six Nations match at the Aviva Stadium in Dublin, Ireland. Picture date: Saturday February 24, 2024. PA Photo. See PA story RUGBYU Ireland. Photo credit should read: Niall Carson/PA Wire. RESTRICTIONS: Use subject to restrictions. Editorial use only, no commercial use without prior consent from rights holder. (Niall Carson/Niall Carson/PA Wire)
Guinness Six Nations: Ireland 31 Wales 7

Ireland won their 11th consecutive Six Nations championship game as they defeated Wales 31-7 in Dublin to keep the grand slam hopes alive and kicking.

The Irish side was dominant for large periods of the game, however, their discipline let them down as they let penalties ruin the flow of their game.

Wales showed glimpses of the side that they can be but there is a long way to go for Warren Gatland and his squad and their quest for a win in this Six Nations continues.

Ireland showed early signs of dominance with short, slick passing that has made them one of the best in the world.

Bundee Aki forced Wales into an error, allowing Ireland to take a quick lineout, from that, Ireland won another penalty for a high tackle, which Jack Crowley dispatched through the posts with ease, giving Ireland the lead after six minutes.

Ireland immediately regained possession and pushed on to lengthen their lead, getting two metres from the try line before Wales got the better of the maul and stopped the Irish advance.

Gareth Thomas put in a monster challenge to stop Ireland in their tracks and force Ireland into a penalty.

Ireland finally got their breakthrough when their pack showed why they are among the best in the world.

Dan Sheehan was bundled over the try line, with almost the entire Irish team behind him, bringing Ireland’s lead to 10 points with little more than 20 minutes gone.

Ireland continued to threaten the Welsh team, meeting little resistance aside from the odd monster tackle by Gareth Thomas.

James Lowe added to Ireland’s tally just after the half-hour mark, dotting down after a sideline-to-sideline move that started and ended with Calvin Nash, who offloaded smartly to James Lowe, who knew what to do.

With every attack that Wales attempted to string together, it seemed that Ireland were stopping them sooner and sooner.

At half-time, Wales had a mountain to climb if they were to get back in this game, with Ireland overrunning them in every direction and showing the crowd what a rugby Swiss army knife looks like.

Wales came out of the starting blocks sprinting as they looked to start the fight back early, Ireland lost their discipline at the start of the half.

Two quickfire Welsh penalties led to a penalty try and a yellow card for Tadhg Beirne for an illegal act, making the score 17-7 for the home side.

Wales continued their resurgence, seeming to embody the spirit of the Gatland’s Wales sides of recent times, going through the phases and keeping the pressure on this Ireland side who are finding it tricky to get into their usual short passing rhythm.

On 54 minutes, Ireland decided to roll out the pack subs and put the pressure on the surely tiring Welsh forwards.

Dan Sheehan entered for Ronan Kelleher, Tadhg Furlong made way for Oli Jager, who got his first cap for Ireland, Joe McCarthy was replaced by James Ryan and captain Peter O’Mahony for Ryan Baird, who was being called a ’freak of nature’ by certain members of the press.

Ireland looked to have extended the lead and capitalised on the extra energy however Bundee Aki’s try, which was brilliantly worked by Ireland, was ruled out after earlier in the move Robbie Henshaw was ruled to have made a forward pass.

Ciarán Frawley’s first start for Ireland was crowned when he added to Ireland’s total after a great maul and quick, decisive passing from the Boys in Green set Frawly up for a running lane that was as wide as the Liffey.

Frawley dived unopposed and Crowley converted to push Ireland’s lead to 24-7 with little over 10 minutes left.

Wales were on the front foot again, with five minutes left to try and leave with some dignity, a long, slugging drive by the Welsh led to James Ryan getting a yellow card for multiple penalty infringements.

Ireland rounded off the scoring with Tadhg Beirne who atoned for his earlier sin-bin with the bonus-point try to make the final score 31-7 to Ireland and keep the Irish Grand Slam hopes alive.