Ireland really sent out a statement of intent, as they ran in four tries to end Wales' hopes of consecutive Grand Slams, with a deserved 24-14 win in Dublin. Tries in the first half from Jordan Larmour and Tadhg Furlong, either side of Tomos Williams' reply for Wales, saw the hosts lead 12-7 at half-time. Josh van der Flier's score after the break and Andrew Conway's 75th-minute try sealed the home side's win. A late Justin Tipuric's injury-time score provided late cheer for Wales, but it was no more than a consolation try as Wales walked away with nothing from this game.
It is Wales' first Six Nations defeat since they last visited Dublin two years ago as their eight-match winning run in the competition came to an end.
There will also be concerns after fly-half Dan Biggar and in-form wing Josh Adams were forced off the field through injury. Adams limped off in the first half with a hip problem, while Biggar failed a head injury assessment in the second-half. Biggar also failed two head injury assessments against Fiji and Australia during the 2019 World Cup in Japan with this now being a third incident in five months. The chance to prove his fitness maybe taken out of his hands as he's forced by the Rugby Football Union(R.F.U.) to sit out the next game through protocol to avoid any future damage.
Helped by a very narrow Wales defence, the Irish back three were afforded far more opportunities to run with ball in hand. Conway in particular put in several well-judged plays as the Irish attack found a much better balance.
While too easily allowing Ireland into their 22, Wales did flex their defensive muscles in the opening exchanges and forced three turnovers inside the opening nine minutes. However Ireland eventually broke the visitors' resistance after just 19 minutes, with the forward pack working through numerous phases before releasing the backs and seeing Larmour step inside Tompkins' poor tackle before holding off three defenders to ground the ball over the whitewash.
Wales had their chances to fight back before Conway's late finish in the corner and missed a glorious chance as, just as Stuart Hogg did last week, Wales centre Hadleigh Parkes had a second-half try disallowed after it was referred to the television match official.
Just like it was a week ago, much of Ireland's win was owed to a solid defensive structure which held firm when their backs were pinned to the wall. Although the final score favoured Ireland, and deservedly so, the game was tighter than the score line suggests.
All is not lost for Wales, winning the remaining three matches, could still see them crowned 6 nations champions, but with 2 wins from 2, it looks like its shaping up to be Irelands to loose.