Wales v Ireland 2023: Warren Gatland's side well-beaten in Six Nations opener

Wales' Taulupe Faletau carries Credit: PA

Wales' Six Nations got off to the worst possible start as they were thrashed 34-10 by Ireland in Cardiff on Saturday.

The opening stages were disastrous for Wales as Irish No.8 Caelan Doris crashed over in the third minute of the match.

Reflecting on the match, Warren Gatland said his team "created a number of chances in the game and just weren’t clinical enough to finish them.”

He said: "The number of injuries on both teams to the opposition of twenty-two was a bit the same and they've come away winning like they did, so that's something to work on for us but there is a lot of positives there that our performance.

"Apart from the scoreboard, I felt in that first half there's a couple of times we could have got over the line."

He continued: "It potentially could have been a lot closer if it was 20-10 or 20-3 at half time, when you score 20-10 it's a different game. I felt in the second half we were outting ireland uner some pressure when it was 27-10, if we'd scored then 27-17 it could have been an interesting last twenty minutes but they're a very good side, they're number one side in the world and they showed that this afternoon".

From a lineout 10 metres out, the Irish maul was thwarted but some powerful carries stretched Wales' defence and Doris barged over from close range. Johnny Sexton added the extras.

Things got worse five minutes later. Wales gave away a soft penalty in the Irish half, allowing Sexton to bang it down into the home 22.

From there, Wales struggled to live with the intensity of Ireland's attack and there was an air of inevitability about it before James Ryan crashed over and Sexton made it 14-0.

The home crowd came alive moments later when Tomas Francis forced a mistake from Sexton. Rio Dyer hacked the loose ball towards Ireland's line but the visitors scrambled back to snuff out the danger.

They did infringe at a ruck, though, and Dan Biggar got Wales on the scoreboard with a penalty.

Ireland hit back minutes later through Sexton after a scrum penalty deep in Wales' 22.

Then came another body blow midway through the half. For the first time, Wales were going through phases in Ireland's half when James Lowe picked off Biggar's miss pass and ran 60 metres to score. Sexton's conversion widened the margin further.

More Welsh indiscipline gave Ireland easy access to their half and Sexton extended the lead with another penalty around the half hour mark.

Gatland's side trailed 27-3 at half time. Credit: PA

Wales went close towards the end of the first half when Jac Morgan was held up over the line. But, on the whole, it was a dreadful 40 minutes of rugby from Gatland's side as they trailed 27-3 at the break.

Early in the second half, Wales fired their first shot. This time it was Ireland's indiscipline that proved costly. Two penalties gave Wales a lineout five metres out and a handful of carries drew in the Irish defence.

It created space out wide for Liam Williams to canter over unopposed. Biggar converted.

Ireland started the second half poorly and kept giving Wales chances. But the hosts were toothless in attack and a lack of composure meant Ireland's mistakes went unpunished.

After another Welsh attack fell apart, full-back Williams was then shown a yellow card in the 65th minute for a high tackle on Sexton.

Ireland then made their way into Wales' half for the first time since the break and ultimately came away with points. Wales were short of numbers and Josh van der Flier dived over for the bonus point try. Ross Byrne converted making it 34-10.

Wales: Liam Williams; Josh Adams, George North, Joe Hawkins, Rio Dyer; Dan Biggar, Tomos Williams; Gareth Thomas, Ken Owens (C), Tomas Francis; Adam Beard, Alun Wyn Jones; Jac Morgan, Justin Tipuric, Taulupe Faletau.

Reps: Scott Baldwin, Rhys Carre, Dillon Lewis, Dafydd Jenkins, Tommy Reffell, Rhys Webb, Owen Williams, Alex Cuthbert.

Ireland: 15. Hugo Keenan, 14. Mack Hansen, 13. Garry Ringrose, 12. Stuart McCloskey, 11. James Lowe, 10. Johnny Sexton (capt), 9. Conor Murray, 1. Andrew Porter, 2. Dan Sheehan, 3. Finlay Bealham, 4. Tadhg Beirne, 5. James Ryan, 6. Peter O'Mahony, 7. Josh van der Flier, 8. Caelan Doris.

Reps: 16. Rob Herring, 17. Dave Kilcoyne, 18. Tom O'Toole, 19. Iain Henderson, 20. Jack Conan, 21. Craig Casey, 22. Ross Byrne, 23. Bundee Aki.