Colwyn Bay, Cardiff and Swansea are the destinations for Ireland’s representative sides this weekend with Joe Schmidt’s men, along with the Under-20s and Women’s team, all still in the hunt for RBS 6 Nations silverware.
UNDER-20 RBS 6 NATIONS: Friday, March 13
WALES UNDER-20s (5th) v IRELAND UNDER-20s (3rd), Parc Eirias, Colwyn Bay, 7.45pm (live RTÉ Two/www.rte.ie/live (island of Ireland only)/BBC 2 Wales)
– The Wales Under-20s have slipped to back-to-back defeats and have only once before lost three in-a-row in the Six Nations – in 2009
– The Wales U-20s have won three of their last four matches at Parc Eirias in Colwyn Bay
The Ireland U-20s’ winning start to this season’s Six Nations campaign ended at the hands of England at Donnybrook in the last round
– The Ireland U-20s beat Wales 35-21 in Pukekohe during last summer’s Junior World Championship in New Zealand and have never before won successive matches against their Welsh counterparts
– The Ireland U-20s have not won on Welsh soil since a trip to Llanelli in 2009
– Ireland out-half Ross Byrne (38 points) is the joint-top points scorer with Scotland’s George Horne so far in the tournament, while full-back Billy Dardis and winger Stephen Fitzgerald have both scored two tries in the opening three rounds
Match Ticket Info: Tickets are £15 (stand), £10 (terrace) and £5 for Under-16s terrace tickets and are available now from Venue Cymru, Llandudno – www.venuecymru.co.uk / to personal callers or by calling 00441492872000 and from Colwyn Leisure Centre to personal callers or by calling 00441492577900.
WALES U-20: Joe Gage (Ospreys); Joshua Adams (Scarlets), Owen Watkin (Ospreys), Garyn Smith (Cardiff Blues), Elis Wyn-Benham (Cardiff Blues); Jarrod Evans (Cardiff Blues), Tom Williams (Cardiff Blues); Luke Garrett (Newport Gwent Dragons), Ryan Elias (Scarlets), Dillon Lewis (Cardiff Blues), Joe Davies (Newport Gwent Dragons), Rory Thornton (Ospreys) (capt), Harrison Keddie (Newport Gwent Dragons), Ollie Griffiths (Newport Gwent Dragons), Jon Fox (Ospreys).
Replacements: Liam Belcher (Cardiff Blues), Keagan Bale (Newport Gwent Dragons), Alex Jeffries (Newport Gwent Dragons), Adam Beard (Ospreys), Jordan Viggers (Cardiff Blues), Kieran Hardy (Scarlets), Daniel Jones (Scarlets), Barney Nightingale (Newport Gwent Dragons).
IRELAND U-20: Billy Dardis (UCD/Leinster); Ciaran Gaffney (Galwegians/Connacht), Garry Ringrose (UCD/Leinster), Sam Arnold (Ballynahinch/Ulster), Stephen Fitzgerald (Shannon/Munster); Ross Byrne (UCD/Leinster), Nick McCarthy (UCD/Leinster) (capt); Jeremy Loughman (UCD/Leinster), Zack McCall (Queen’s University Belfast/Ulster), Oisin Heffernan (Terenure College/Leinster), Cian Romaine (Buccaneers/Connacht), Josh Murphy (UCD/Leinster), Nick Timoney (St. Mary’s College/Leinster), Conor Oliver (St. Mary’s College/Leinster), Lorcan Dow (Queen’s University Belfast/Ulster).
Replacements: Adam McBurney (Ballymena/Ulster), Andrew Porter (UCD/Leinster), Conan O’Donnell (Sligo/NUIG/Connacht), David O’Connor (St. Mary’s College/Leinster), Stephen McVeigh (Buccaneers/Connacht), Connor Young (Queen’s University Belfast/Ulster), Joey Carbery (UCD/Leinster), Jacob Stockdale (Queen’s University Belfast/Ulster).
Referee: Elia Rizzo (Italy)
Assistant Referees: Matteo Liperini, Emanuele Tomo (both Italy)
Television Match Official: Stefano Penne (Italy)
RBS 6 NATIONS CHAMPIONSHIP: Saturday, March 14
WALES (3rd) v IRELAND (1st), Millennium Stadium, 2.30pm (live RTÉ Two/BBC One/RTÉ Radio 1/IRFU Live Blog)
STATS & FACTS
– Wales have won their last two matches, while their last four encounters have all been decided by a score or less
– Wales were defeated 21-16 by England at the Millennium Stadium in round 1 and have not lost two home games in the same campaign since 2003, coincidentally the last time they lost a round 4 game in Cardiff was to Ireland in 2003
– Ireland are on the brink of setting a new Irish record of 11 successive victories, having currently tied the sequence which they set between 2002 and 2003
– Ireland’s last Test defeat came at Twickenham in round 3 last year. This is the fourth time that Ireland have begun an RBS 6 Nations campaign with three successive victories, adding a fourth win in 2003 and a fifth with their Grand Slam in 2009
– Ireland have won their last two games against Wales, but have not won three in-a-row versus the Welshmen for a decade
– Ireland’s record at the Millennium Stadium is an impressive won 5 and lost 2, while the most recent time that they have failed to score a try in Cardiff was in 1983
ON THE PITCH
– Conor Murray has thrown 269 passes during the 2015 RBS 6 Nations, 74 more than second-placed Greig Laidlaw
– Alun Wyn Jones tops the charts with 15 lineout wins so far
– Robbie Henshaw is the top tackling back with 45 tackles completed so far, although he has also missed eleven tackles
– Leigh Halfpenny is the top points scorer after three rounds with 39 points so far
WALES: Leigh Halfpenny (Toulon); George North (Northampton Saints), Jonathan Davies (Clermont Auvergne), Jamie Roberts (Racing Metro 92), Liam Williams (Scarlets); Dan Biggar (Ospreys), Rhys Webb (Ospreys); Gethin Jenkins (Cardiff Blues), Scott Baldwin (Ospreys), Samson Lee (Scarlets), Luke Charteris (Racing Metro 92), Alun Wyn Jones (Ospreys), Dan Lydiate (Ospreys), Sam Warburton (Cardiff Blues) (capt), Toby Faletau (Newport Gwent Dragons).
Replacements: Richard Hibbard (Gloucester), Rob Evans (Scarlets), Aaron Jarvis (Ospreys), Jake Ball (Scarlets), Justin Tipuric (Ospreys), Mike Phillips (Racing Metro 92), Rhys Priestland (Scarlets), Scott Williams (Scarlets).
IRELAND: Rob Kearney (UCD/Leinster); Tommy Bowe (Belfast Harlequins/Ulster), Jared Payne (Ulster), Robbie Henshaw (Buccaneers/Connacht), Simon Zebo (Cork Constitution/Munster); Jonathan Sexton (Racing Metro 92), Conor Murray (Garryowen/Munster); Jack McGrath (St. Mary’s College/Leinster), Rory Best (Banbridge/Ulster), Mike Ross (Clontarf/Leinster), Devin Toner (Lansdowne/Leinster), Paul O’Connell (Young Munster/Munster) (capt), Peter O’Mahony (Cork Constitution/Munster), Sean O’Brien (UCD/Leinster), Jamie Heaslip (Dublin University/Leinster).
Replacements: Sean Cronin (St. Mary’s College/Leinster), Cian Healy (Clontarf/Leinster), Martin Moore (Lansdowne/Leinster), Iain Henderson (Ballynahinch/Ulster), Jordi Murphy (Lansdowne/Leinster), Eoin Reddan (Lansdowne/Leinster), Ian Madigan (Blackrock College/Leinster), Felix Jones (Shannon/Munster).
Referee: Wayne Barnes (England)
Assistant Referees: Jerome Garces (France), Federico Anselmi (Argentina)
Television Match Official: Graham Hughes (England)
WOMEN’S RBS 6 NATIONS: Sunday, March 15
WALES WOMEN (2nd) v IRELAND WOMEN (3rd), St. Helen’s, Swansea RFC, 12pm (live stream on www.s4c.co.uk/live RTÉ 2fm)
– The Wales Women were victorious in rounds 1 & 2, but tripped up in France (28-7) in round 3
– Wales have won on their last two visits to Swansea, beating Sweden there in 2009 and England in round 1 last month
– The Ireland Women’s last six matches in the Six Nations have ended in three wins and three defeats, while they are attempting to achieve successive away wins for the first time in two years
– Ireland have won their last three matches against Wales at this level
– Ireland full-back and captain Niamh Briggs is the 2015 tournament’s fourth top points scorer so far with 16 points (1 try, 1 conversion and 3 penalties)
– Ireland’s seven tries in the first three rounds were shared out by Briggs, Ailis Egan, Gillian Bourke, Paula Fitzpatrick, Jenny Murphy, Heather O’Brien and Larissa Muldoon
Match Ticket Info: Tickets are £10 for adults/no charge for OAPs/students/children.
WALES WOMEN: Dyddgu Hywel (Pontyclun/Scarlets); Laurie Harries (Llandaff North/Blues), Adi Taviner (Skewen/Ospreys), Gemma Rowland (Wasps/Dragons), Elen Evans (Waterloo/Scarlets); Elinor Snowsill (Dragons), Amy Day (Llandaff North/Dragons); Jenny Davies (Caernarfon/Blues), Carys Phillips (Bath/Scarlets), Catrin Edwards (Llandaff North/Scarlets), Jenny Hawkins (Llandaff North/Blues), Rachel Taylor (Bristol/Dragons) (capt), Sian Williams (Worcester/Dragons), Sioned Harries (Whitland/Scarlets), Shona Powell Hughes (Skewen/Ospreys)
Replacements: Amy Lawrence (Skewen/Ospreys), Caryl Thomas (Bath/Scarlets), Amy Evans (Skewen/Ospreys), Rebecca Rowe (London Welsh/Dragons), Melissa Clay (Pencoed/Ospreys), Keira Bevan (Skewen/Ospreys), Kerin Lake (Skewen/Ospreys), Hannah Jones (Penybanc/Scarlets).
IRELAND WOMEN: Niamh Briggs (UL Bohemians/Munster) (capt); Hannah Tyrrell (Old Belvedere/Leinster), Jenny Murphy (Old Belvedere/Leinster), Jackie Shiels (Richmond/Exile), Alison Miller (Portlaoise/Connacht); Nora Stapleton (Old Belvedere/Leinster), Larissa Muldoon (Skewen); Ruth O’Reilly (Galwegians/Connacht), Gillian Bourke (Olympico de Pozuelo), Ailis Egan (Old Belvedere/Leinster), Sophie Spence (Old Belvedere/Leinster), Marie Louise Reilly (Old Belvedere/Leinster), Paula Fitzpatrick (St. Mary’s/Leinster), Claire Molloy (Bristol/Connacht), Heather O’Brien (Highfield/Munster).
Replacements: Sarah Mimnagh (Wasps/Exile), Fiona Hayes (UL Bohemians/Munster), Fiona O’Brien (Old Belvedere/Leinster), Orla Fitzsimons (St. Mary’s/Leinster), Katie Norris (Blackrock/Leinster), Tania Rosser (Blackrock/Leinster), Sene Naoupu (Galwegians/Connacht), Aoife Doyle (Shannon/Munster).
Referee: Claire Hodnett (England)
Assistant Referees: Stuart Kibble, Steff Edwards (both Wales)
– Compiled by SFMS Limited (Stuart Farmer Media Services)