Ireland v Wales: depleted Wales face tough test against hosts
The last meeting between these sides saw Wales sweep aside Ireland in the quarter finals of the 2011 Rugby World Cup – but things promise to be very different this time out.
Wales were superb in that 22-10 victory but head into this game in Ireland as the 2/1 outsiders.
Their cause hasn’t been helped by a host of injuries that means Gethin Jenkins, Alun Wyn Jones, Luke Charteris, Matthew Rees and Lloyd Burns will all be missing for the clash.
Wales do have the added bonus of welcoming Jamie Roberts and Rhys Priestland back to the starting XV and can look back on two wins in their previous two games against the Irish as inspiration.
However, Wales have not won three consecutive games against Ireland since 1979 and have won just two of their last six clashes in Ireland in the Six Nations.
Ireland are currently 4/9 to get the win and that could be well worth backing – especially as the hosts have won their last seven opening games in the championship.
Ireland also have their own injury problems though and will be without inspirational captain Brian O’Driscoll who is out with a long-term shoulder injury.
The hosts are rightful favourites but this has all the makings of being an extremely tight game.
Ireland’s greater experience could prove the deciding factor in the clash though and backing the hosts to come through and win this encounter by 1-5 points could be well worth considering.