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Ireland v Wales: The History

Ireland v Wales: The History

Ireland will be searching for their 44th win against Grand Slam hopefuls Wales on Saturday, and a fairytale campaign’s end with back-to-back Triple Crowns – a feat not achieved since 1949.

Ireland will be searching for their 44th win against Grand Slam hopefuls Wales on Saturday, and a fairytale campaign’s end with back-to-back Triple Crowns – a feat not achieved since 1949.


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* 13 may be unlucky for some but it is the magic number/points margin which Ireland must tango with if they are to secure a first Championship title since 1985. An Irish win by 13 points would firstly draw Eddie O’Sullivan’s side level on points with Wales (8 points) and reduce the Dragons’ points difference from +62 to +49. Ireland would lift the Six Nations trophy by boosting their points difference from +37 to +50, together with France (+9) not beating Italy by more than 41 points

* Ireland’s last Championship winning season in 1985 saw Michael Kiernan kick 13 points – converting Trevor Ringland and Keith Crossan tries – for a 21-9 victory over Wales

* Ireland and Wales have lined out 109 times against each other since 1882. The Welsh have won 60 times – their last victory coming in 2000 (23-19). Ireland have tallied 43 wins, including eight wins and a draw on their last nine visits to Cardiff

* With the Millennium Stadium in construction, 1999 saw a Keith Wood-led Ireland deservedy pull off a 29-23 win over Wales in the Five Nations’ final year. The Irish were 26-6 up after 50 minutes – scoring tries through Kevin Maggs and Wood, with David Humphreys kicking 19 points

* David Humphreys is Ireland’s record points scorer in the tie, with 80 in seven outings since 1996

* The last of six draws between the sides occured in 1991’s 21-21 Cardiff result. Level at 9-apiece at the break, Ireland – who touched down through Jack Clarke, Jim Staples, Brendan Mullin and Simon Geogeghan – failed to kick their points as Australian-born fly-half Brian Smith managed just one conversion and a drop goal

* Ronan O’Gara – now Ireland’s record points scorer (519 points) – will need to kick everything in sight on Saturday if Ireland are to win. The Munster number 10 has pocketed 37 points in five outings against the Welsh – 2 tries, 6 conversions, 4 penalties and 1 drop goal

* David Humphreys boasts the individual record for points in a single game with 22 in Ireland’s record 54-10 win three years ago. That was Eddie O’Sullivan’s first game in charge and also marked Paul O’Connell’s Test debut and Munster legend Peter ”The Claw” Clohessy’s 50th cap

* Mike Gibson incredibly failed to miss an Ireland v Wales match between 1964 and 1978 – turning out a record 14 times. Owing to political problems, the fixture was cancelled in 1972

* Geoff Wheel (Wales) and Willie Duggan (Ireland) were both sent off by Scottish referee Norman Sanson for punching in the 1977 match. Wales won the Cardiff clash 25-9 with Gibson kicking three penalties for the visitors

* Ireland have out-scored Wales by 23 tries to 10 in their six meetings since the turn of the century. Shane Byrne (2), Brian O’Driscoll (2), Ronan O’Gara and Anthony all touched down in last year’s encounter

* Ireland skipper Brian O’Driscoll now has 16 Six Nations tries – he beat the previous Irish record of George Stephenson (14) against England

* Besides Paul O’Connell, two other Ireland squad members have made their debuts against Wales – Donncha O’Callaghan (2003) and Denis Hickie – who scored a try first time out, in the 1997 encounter

* Ireland’s Grand Slam winners defeated Wales 6-3 at Ravenhill in 1948, and the following year claimed back-to-back Championships and Triple Crowns – aided by a 5-0 win in Swansea. Flanker Jim McCarthy scored the vital try, converted by full-back George Norton


Results: 04: Won 23-10 v Scotland, Lost 15-36 v Ireland, Lost 22-29 v France, Lost 21-31 v England, Won 44-10 v Italy, Won 42-0 v Barbarians (no caps awarded), Lost 44-50 v Argentina, Won 35-20 v Argentina, Lost 18-53 v South Africa, Lost 36-38 v South Africa, Won 66-7 v Romania, Lost 25-26 v New Zealand, Won 96-0 v Japan. 05: Won 11-9 v England, Won 38-8 v Italy, Won 24-18 v France, Won 46-22 v Scotland

* Wales coach Mike Ruddock has breathed fire back into the old Dragons since taking over from Steve Hansen twelve months ago. The former Leinster supremo (1997-2000) – and Ireland ‘A’ coach – has presided over eight wins – including last May’s 42-0 dismissal of the Barbarians -and four losses, and is on the verge of garnering Wales’ first Grand Slam since 1978.

Results: 04: Lost 17-35 v France, Won 36-15 v Wales, Won 19-13 v England, Won 19-3 v Italy, Won 37-16 v Scotland, Lost 17-31 v South Africa, Lost 17-26 v South Africa, Won 17-12 v South Africa, Won 55-6 v USA, Won 21-19 v Argentina. 05: Won 28-17 v Italy, Won 40-13 v Scotland, Won 19-13 v England, Lost 19-26 v France

* Eddie O’Sullivan’s side lost their seven-game winning run in the Six Nations to France last time out. O’Sullivan boasts an enviable record against the Welsh – his first game in charge in 2002 saw the men in red downed 54-10 in Dublin, and the Irish have won all five meetings – including a 35-12 World Cup warm-up win in 2003 – since 2000.


Five Nations: March 1995: Wales 12 Ireland 16, Cardiff Arms Park
Rugby World Cup: June 1995: Ireland 24 Wales 23, Ellis Park, Johannesburg
Five Nations: March 1996: Ireland 30 Wales 17, Lansdowne Road
Five Nations: February 1997: Wales 25 Ireland 26, Cardiff Arms Park
Five Nations: March 1998: Ireland 21 Wales 30, Lansdowne Road
Five Nations: February 1999: Wales 23 Ireland 29, Wembley Stadium
Six Nations: April 2000: Ireland 19 Wales 23, Lansdowne Road
Six Nations: October 2001: Wales 6 Ireland 36, Millennium Stadium
Six Nations: February 2002: Ireland 54 Wales 10, Lansdowne Road
Six Nations: March 2003: Wales 24 Ireland 25, Millennium Stadium
Rugby World Cup Warm-up: August 2003: Ireland 35 Wales 12, Lansdowne Road
Six Nations: February 2004: Ireland 36 Wales 15, Lansdowne Road