Johnny Sexton kicked a penalty six minutes from time to preserve injury-hit Ireland's unbeaten RBS 6 Nations home record under Joe Schmidt and stall Wales' stirring fightback.
A 16-16 draw - the first between Ireland and Wales since 1991 - meant that both sides' Grand Slam hopes floundered at the first hurdle, yet they played with such fearsome commitment and intensity to still suggest strong title ambitions.
England opened the Eddie Jones/Dylan Hartley era by emerging from a tricky RBS 6 Nations opener against Scotland at Murrayfield with a 15-9 victory founded on a dominant second-half performance.
Jones has had only two weeks to stamp his mark on England. On the evidence of today's match, his team has orders to attack from all areas of the pitch and take quick line-outs whenever viable.
However, after reaching the break 7-6 up, the team took a more conservative - or "pragmatic" in Jones' words - after the interval.
Though they were never able to stretch clear, a second try by Jack Nowell and an increasingly dominant set piece ensured they always had their noses in front.
We wanted to play some positive rugby, the attitude was to try to move the ball, but we were a bit off our game. It became a set-piece, defence game and we excelled in that and in the second half I thought we were commanding.
Team captain Dylan Hartley added: “We stuck at it and when it mattered we got some dividends."
France dodged a banana skin in scraping a win over Italy in Paris in the opening match of the 2016 RBS 6 Nations.
The French needed a late penalty kick from the big boot of Jules Plisson to hand a less-than-convincing victory to new head coach Guy Noves.
The 2016 Six Nations Championship begins on Saturday 6th February, when England travel to Scotland and France host ItalyRead the full story ›
Rory Best will captain Ireland for the Six Nations with uncapped quartet CJ Stander, Stuart McCloskey, Ultan Dillane and Josh van der Flier the 35-man squad's newcomers.
Ulster skipper Best takes Ireland's captaincy from legend Paul O'Connell, who retired from Test rugby after the 2015 World Cup.
Eddie Jones has picked a number of uncapped players in his England squad for the Six Nations as some big names miss out.Read the full story ›
ITV and the BBC have secured a free-to-air rights deal that will see both broadcasters become home to Six Nations Rugby from 2016 to 2021.Read the full story ›
England captain Chris Robshaw is "devastated" after his side ended up being 6 Nations runners-up for the fourth year in a rowRead the full story ›
Police have launched an investigation into alleged homophobic remarks on Twitter which were directed towards rugby referee Nigel Owens, they said. The comments were posted after he refereed the England v France international at Twickenham yesterday, Dyfed-Powys Police said.
The force said in a statement: "This follows a number of complaints made by members of the public. The tweet concerned has now been removed from the page. The investigation is at an early stage."
England scored seven tries in beating France 55-35 in a dramatic contest, but were unable to overturn a pre-match 26-point deficit as Ireland clinched the Six Nations title on points difference.
Ireland have won the 2015 Six Nations Championship after England failed to beat France by 26 points or more at TwickenhamRead the full story ›