Round two of the Six Nations kicks off with Ireland coming up against reigning champions Wales in the Aviva Stadium in Dublin. With both sides still on a high from their first-round victories, this weekend’s first match will bring them crashing back down to earth, knocking at least one of these teams out of Grand Slam contention.
Wales eased their way into this year’s championship with a comprehensive win over Italy in Cardiff. The impressive performance justified Wayne Pivac’s starting 15, who makes just one change to face the Irish, drafting in the services of Nick Tompkins, who gets his first Six Nations start.
Andy Farrell has been much busier shaking up his team following their narrow win over Scotland in Dublin. Strong performances off the bench from Peter O’Mahony and Robbie Henshaw have warranted them starting positions, replacing the injured Garry Ringrose and Caelan Doris.
Storm brewing in Dublin
A win for Wales would see them equal their longest Six Nations running streak with nine matches, but Ireland’s record at home won’t put the Welsh at ease. Ireland have won all but one of their last 17 tests at home, the defeat coming against England in last year’s championship.
Both sides face a heavy challenge from more than just each other, with the weather set to have a major say. Parts of Ireland have been placed under an orange weather warning, as Storm Ciara will bring strong gales to the Irish capital from midday on Saturday, just in time to cause havoc on the field at the Aviva.