Date Time Competition Season
7 February 2021 3:00 pm Six Nations 2020/21

Match Report

Ireland Rue Missed Chances in Wales Defeat

A moment of madness from Peter O'Mahony would prove to be the major talking point of a disappointing day for the Irish in the Principality Stadium in Cardiff for an opening day Six Nations defeat to the Welsh.

A loose left arm while clearing out a ruck made impact with the face of Tomas Francis and after the intervention of the TMO the Munster man found himself in receipt of the first ever Irish dismissal in the Six Nations.

Despite the setback, Ireland forced themselves into contention until a bizarre ending with a sliced kick from replacement fly-half Billy Burns denying a last gasp chance for Ireland to snatch a deserved victory against all the odds.

After a quarter hour of this game in Cardiff few would have predicted what was to follow as O'Mahony left the pitch and Leigh Halfpenny repeated his penalty score to leave the Welsh 6-0 ahead.

The deduction to 14 men actually seemed to spur on the Irish for the remainder of the first half with fantastic work from the Irish pack set up two penalties for Johnny Sexton before a great break behind the Wales defence from centre Robbie Henshaw who offloaded to Josh Van Der Flier who was tackled just short of the try line.

A pick and go from Tadhg Beirne saw the Munster man crash over the line with a Sexton conversion putting the away side a score ahead at the interval.

The Welsh looked to be in control in the second period where the energy levels of 14 man Ireland was dipping and it allowed two tries for the home side from George North and a spectacular precision diving score into the corner from young prospect Louis Rees-Zammit.

Halfpenny scored his third penalty of the evening after a contentious decision from match referee Wayne Barnes to harshly penalise Tadhg Beirne for coming into the side of a ruck to put make it a two score game.

Ireland rallied well and took advantage of some territory to allow Billy Burns to score a penalty to reduce the difference to five points and the potential to grab a victory.

While many will focus on the sliced kick from Burns in the final passage of play but it was a bizarre decision by Wales to kick away possession with seconds on the clock which created that unexpected opportunity in the first instance.

Burns will face scrutiny for that rookie mistake but it was a disappointing day kicking out of hand for both number 10's during the 80 minutes and it will leave Andy Farrell with a number of headaches for next season with Sexton amongst a number of players who left the field with suspected head injuries.

Despite the result it was a very positive performance from the game from an Irish point of view. Even being in contention at the death, after playing 65 minutes without Peter O'Mahony, was a huge lift for Ireland and will give Farrell and his team much to take into next week's clash with France.


1Wyn Jones 17 Prop
2Ken Owens Hooker
3Tomas Francis 18 Prop
4Adam Beard Lock
5Alun Wyn Jones 19 Lock
6Dan Lydiate 20 Flanker
7Justin Tipuric Flanker
8Taulupe Faletau No. 8
9Tomos Williams 21 Scrum-Half
10Dan Biggar Fly-Half
11Hallam Amos 22 Winger
12Johnny Williams 23 Centre
13George North Centre 49'
14Louis Rees-Zammit Winger 59'
15Leigh Halfpenny Full-Back 60'
6', 18', 66'
16Elliot Dee Hooker
17Rhodri Jones 1 Prop
18Leon Brown 3 Prop
19Will Rowlands 5 Lock
20Josh Navidi 6 Flanker
21Gareth Davies 9 Scrum-Half
22Callum Sheedy 11 Fly-Half
23Nick Tompkins 12 Centre


1Cian Healy 17 Prop
2Rob Herring 16 Hooker
3Andrew Porter 18 Prop
4Tadhg Beirne Lock 37'
5James Ryan 19 Lock
6Peter O’Mahony Flanker 14'
7Josh Van Der Flier 20 Flanker
8CJ Stander No. 8
9Conor Murray 21 Scrum-Half
10Johnny Sexton 22 Fly-Half 39'
29', 35'
11James Lowe Winger
12Robbie Henshaw Centre
13Garry Ringrose Centre
14Keith Earls 23 Winger
15Hugo Keenan Full-Back
16Ronan Kelleher 2 Hooker
17Dave Kilcoyne 1 Prop
18Tadhg Furlong 3 Prop
19Iain Henderson 5 Lock
20Will Connors 7 Flanker
21Jamison Gibson-Park 9 Scrum-Half
22Billy Burns 10 Fly-Half 72'
23Jordan Larmour 14 Winger


Principality Stadium
Castle Quarter, Cardiff, Wales

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