Six Nations round five: Wales v Ireland betting preview, tips & TV details
Irish raiders have the tools to unlock stifling Red Dragons defence in Cardiff
BBC1, S4C & Virgin One, 2.45pm Saturday
Cardiff is preparing for the mother of all Grand Slam parties but Ireland have what it takes to rain on their parade.
There are question marks over both teams going into this showdown. Wales have won every match but without putting in an 80-minute performance, while Ireland lost their opener and looked tentative and lacking confidence in two unspectacular victories, but then finally hit their stride against France last week.
Ireland will need to produce another performance of that calibre to stop Wales but the hosts will have to find another gear and cannot rely on another outstanding defensive showing.
Wales have shipped just 58 points and six tries, and put on another battling rearguard display against Scotland last week, when they came heavily under the cosh in the second half but conceded just five points to hold on to their lead.
But the figures don't tell the whole story. They trailed France 16-0 at the break in Paris first up, took an hour to break down Italy in Rome, took advantage of a poor 20 minutes from England having again gone in behind at half-time, and needed to make more than 200 tackles to hold out against the Scots.
Scotland lacked the cutting edge to get anything from their spell of domination, but Ireland are a different beast. Their four tries against France last weekend included a catch-and-drive from the line-out, an area where Wales have been unusually poor this year, and a well-worked backs move finished by Johnny Sexton that showed all the trickery and footwork needed to unlock this Wales defence.
It has been reported that the Principality Stadium roof is to be open, against the home side's wishes, and with heavy rain forecast, a low-scoring grind looks on the cards. It may take only one moment of magic to swing it, and the Irish look to have all the aces in their pack.
Under 3.5 tries
3pts 8-11 Sky Bet
Ireland to win by one to 12 points
1pt 9-5 Hills
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