Ireland showed class and composure as they surged to a dominant victory over a lacklustre Wales side missing a number of key players.
A ruthless Irish side were clinical as they put Wales to the sword, 29-7, to get off to the perfect start to their Six Nations campaign.
The tension at the Aviva in Dublin was at fever pitch ahead of the kick-off of the 2022 Six Nations. With crowds back and the stadium packed to the rafters, Ireland harnessed the energy from their home crowd to come out of the blocks firing.
In the opening 20 minutes, they dialled up the pressure on Wales with the visitors simply having no response.
Centre Bundee Aki crashed over after a scything play by the hosts to open the scoring. His try was converted by veteran Johnny Sexton to put Ireland seven points clear. It was Sexton who would add another penalty minutes later to stretch the lead to 10.
Recovering from the initial shell-shock, Wales started to throw a few punches of their own as they fought their way back.
They looked to be threatening the Ireland line but couldn’t find that final pass to cross the whitewash.
Ireland for their part did well to shut down the Welsh attack and keep the visitors scoreless for a 10-0 lead at the end of the first half.
Ireland started the second stanza as they did the first, with relentless pressure on the Wales lines.
Sexton opted to kick for touch off a penalty and, from the ensuing attacking play Ireland finished in the corner, Andrew Conway the try-scorer. Sexton’s conversion piled on the pressure on the Welsh.
Things went from bad to worse for Wales after a moment of senselessness from Josh Adams earned him yellow for a shoulder charge. With a man advantage Ireland were lethal, a break through the middle from Josh van der Flier eventually resulted in Conway scoring his second.
The procession continued in the second half, Ringrose carving through the Wales defence from deep to score Ireland’s fourth try.
With the bonus point in the bag, Ireland now looked to stretch their legs even further. Wales, in contrast, looked increasingly listless as they seemed to resign themselves to their fate.
In the closing exchanges, a loose pass in Ireland’s 22 handed Wales an easy intercept try for Taine Basham. It was a score that saved the Welsh some blushes and prevented them going scoreless.
Nevertheless, Wales will be disappointed by a substandard performance. Ireland will, however, from this victory take momentum for the rest of the competition.