Cardiff Victory Sets Tone For A Big Year For Ireland
A blistering first half and a deserved 34-10 win against Wales in Cardiff, Ireland got 2023 off to a great start in the Six Nations as they build towards the World Cup later this year.
Andy Farrell will have wanted a strong performance for his team’s first game in a big year and the Ireland head coach got just that at the Principality Stadium.
Ireland Looking To Make Strong Starts A Theme
The opening game of the Six Nations had plenty of hype around it, as both Wales and Ireland looked to impress in their first outings of 2023. A return to the head coach role for Warren Gatland with Wales added spice, while Ireland headed to Cardiff as pre-tournament favourites. The Irish lived up to their billing and blew away Wales in the first half and comfortably saw out the win. They are now priced at 8/13 in the Six Nations 2023 odds to win the competition this year.
With a 27-3 lead at half-time, Wales were left stunned, while Farrell and his players will have been pleased with how they executed their game plan from the first whistle. Wales did show more of themselves in the second half but the job was really already done for Ireland, as they wrapped up a valuable bonus-point win to kick off the competition. Ireland’s dominance in the forwards was startling at times and an experienced Welsh pack seemed to have few answers, especially in the first half. The win for skipper Johnny Sexton and his side was certainly a solid foundation for a year that builds towards the World Cup on French soil in September and October.
Putting Down The Foundations For World Cup
While Ireland will be determined to get their hands on the Six Nations trophy, there is an even bigger prize down the road in Paris up for grabs. Ireland find themselves in the toughest group at the 2023 World Cup, with reigning champions South Africa and familiar foes Scotland also in their pool. Having finished second to hosts Japan at the last World Cup in 2019, Ireland will know they can take nothing for granted for this upcoming tournament in France.
Like World Cup winners of the past, building up winning momentum before the major tournament is key, and is why such emphasis is being placed on this season’s Six Nations championship. It’s a competition that is becoming more and more competitive by the year, with Ireland just edging France as pre-tournament favourites. There will be many twists and turns through the Six Nations but Farrell will be hoping his side comes through it with plenty of positives to take into the World Cup.
It’s an intriguing year for Ireland who look to have been building something special over the last 12 months. While the Six Nations is the focus at the start of the year, the foundations already look to be in place for a real crack at the Webb Ellis Cup on French soil in the autumn.