Ireland whip up Dublin storm to deny Wales record-equalling win

By Sports Desk February 08, 2020

There were winds of change in Dublin on Saturday as ferocious Ireland denied Wales a record-equalling ninth consecutive Six Nations victory with Storm Ciara fast approaching.

Wales crossed the Irish Sea braced for an almighty arm wrestle after an emphatic defeat of Italy on the opening weekend of their first tournament since Wayne Pivac replaced Warren Gatland.

The defending champions were second best in the battle of the 2018 and 2019 Grand Slam winners, failing to match their best winning run in the tournament at the Aviva Stadium – such a fortress for the men in green.

A highly anticipated showdown was expected to be badly affected by high winds and torrential rain, yet it was Ireland doing the damage in the first half to lay the platform for a magnificent 24-14 win.

Unconvincing in a win over Scotland at the start of the Andy Farrell era last weekend, this was much more like the Ireland side that was crowned champions under Joe Schmidt two years ago and topped the world rankings.

So uncompromising up front, with CJ Stander outstanding at number eight to claim a second successive man-of-the-match award, Ireland were magnificent in defence and clinical in attack.

The pressure finally told midway through the first half when the nimble-footed Jordan Larmour pierced a hole in the Wales defence, Nick Tomkins unable to haul the full-back to the ground before he touched down.

Johnny Sexton made a mess of the conversion attempt and Wales were in front against the run of play after Tomos Williams rounded off a slick move following great work from Dan Biggar and Alun Wyn Jones.

Tadhg Furlong ploughed his way over at the other end as Ireland continued to batter away at the Wales pack and Josh van der Flier gave them breathing space when the holders were unable to halt a driving maul.

Hadleigh Parkes had a try ruled out before huge roars echoed around the ground when Wales were penalised at a scrum close to the Ireland line, prompting Farrell to leap up and punch the air. 

With the wind gusting at an increasing speed, Wales were much more of a force in the second half but Andrew Conway's try gave ruthless Ireland the bonus point.

Justin Tipuric crossed right at the end, but the damage had already been done as Ireland, led so well by Sexton, made it two wins out of two.

Wales also lost in-form wing Josh Adams and Biggar to injury as the Rugby World Cup semi-finalists suffered a first Six Nations defeat since losing to Ireland in Dublin two years ago.

Related items

  • Coronavirus: Ewels denies Bath player revolt over pay cuts Coronavirus: Ewels denies Bath player revolt over pay cuts

    Bath captain Charlie Ewels has slammed reports suggesting the club's players revolted after being asked to take a pay cut due to financial pressures caused by the coronavirus pandemic.

    Earlier this week, chief executive Tarquin McDonald announced Bath had asked players and staff to take a 25 per cent cut, with several other Premiership sides taking similar measures.

    Sunday's edition of The Rugby Paper suggested Bath players were planning to reject the request, something England lock Ewels rejected.

    "You might have seen the front page of The Rugby Paper today and if you did, given what we are all experiencing at this time, it would be fair if you felt a sense of disbelief or even disgrace at the headline which reads 'Bath stars revolt over pay cuts'," Ewels wrote in an open letter to Bath supporters.

    "As captain of our club, I can categorically say that these reports are not true, and as a playing group, we are not in revolt against our club. In fact, it's quite the opposite, we wish to work with the club through this extremely challenging time so we can get back to where we all want to be, playing rugby at the Rec again.  

    "Everyone at Bath Rugby is committed to working through this together, and the players within the squad that I am fortunate enough to serve as captain are no different. We play rugby for a living and we understand that if we are not playing games, then there is no money coming in. It is a difficult time for everyone at the club, however, we are all on this journey together.

    "We as players understand everything happening across the globe is having a huge impact, and that impact is reaching far beyond us. I can say that I 100 per cent support the principle of the pay cuts, as do the majority of players at the club, believing they are what is right to guide the club through this tough period.

    "Like players at all other clubs, we have been guided by the advice of our union the RPA during this hugely uncertain time. We are seeking answers to some specific questions regarding players on lower salaries and players coming to the end of their contracts.

    "However, we are discussing these questions openly and transparently with Stuart [Hooper, director of rugby] and Tarquin and I know we will find the right answers in due course. We will do what is right for the future of our people, our club and our game." 

  • UFC dream fights vol.4: Jon Jones v Stipe Miocic UFC dream fights vol.4: Jon Jones v Stipe Miocic

    Jon Jones' name will forever be mentioned among the pantheon of MMA greats but the chance to cement his legacy by beating heavyweight champion Stipe Miocic is one that must be enticing.

    In a career that notes just one defeat, and even that has an asterisk next to it given it was a contentious disqualification loss to Matt Hamill back in December 2009, Jones has fair claims to call himself the greatest of all time.

    The UFC light heavyweight champion has defeated all before him in the division and many are now clamouring for him to step up in weight.

    That would present the intriguing possibility of a showdown with Miocic, a man who has forged his own reputation as a fearsome competitor in UFC.

    In the fourth edition of our UFC dream fights we would love to see series, we have profiled Jones and Miocic's records in the Octagon.


    WHY DO WE WANT TO SEE THIS FIGHT?

    Jones was not entirely convincing in his previous two title defences against Thiago Santos and Dominick Reyes and rematches with either man, particularly the latter, should not be discounted.

    But in truth there is little else for 'Bones' to accomplish at light heavyweight and if the opportunity to fight for a second belt arises it is one he should grasp.

    Miocic, 37, has wins over the likes of Daniel Cormier, Francis Ngannou and Junior Dos Santos on his resume and would be a mouth-watering opponent for Jones.


    GREATEST ACHIEVEMENTS

    Where do you even start with Jones' achievements? He has simply dominated at light heavyweight and holds UFC records in the division for most title defences, most wins, longest win streak and most submission wins. There is little wonder Jones' name is at the top of most people's pound-for-pound greatest.

    Miocic is a two-time UFC heavyweight champion, first winning the strap off Fabricio Werdum in May 2016 and defeating Cormier in a rematch for the belt last August. No other heavyweight has more consecutive title defences than Miocic's three.


    WHAT'S THEIR MMA RECORD (W-L-D)?

    Jones: 26-1-0

    Miocic: 19-3-0


    TALE OF THE TAPE

    Jones:

    Age: 32
    Height: 6'4" (193cm)
    Weight: 205lbs (93kg)
    Reach: 84"
    Leg Reach: 45"

    Miocic:

    Age: 37
    Height: 6'4" (193cm)
    Weight: 240lbs (109kg)
    Reach: 80"
    Leg Reach: 39"


    WHAT THEY'VE SAID ABOUT A POTENTIAL FIGHT

    Jones said in an interview with UFC in February: "If the UFC comes to me and offers me a big title fight against Stipe for big dollars, I'm obviously going to take that. I'm always getting thrown in with greatest fighters of all-time. I think the reason it's even an argument is because I haven't secured a second belt. Once I do that, it won't be much of an argument anymore."

    Miocic told FloCombat: "Listen, I'll fight anyone. If the UFC wants me to fight Jon, I'll fight him. I'm the baddest man on the planet for a reason. He can think what he wants, whatever. Listen, at the end of the day I am relevant."


    FIGHT STATS IN UFC

    Jones:

    - Jones has landed 1,463 of the 2,526 significant strikes he has attempted, giving him a success rate of 58 per cent.

    - The 32-year-old has attempted 95 takedowns, completing 44 per cent.

    - He has blocked a sensational 95 per cent of takedown attempts from his opponents, and guarded against 64 per cent of significant strikes.

    - Jones lands on average 4.3 significant strikes per minute and absorbs 2.22.

    Miocic:

    - Of the 1,621 significant strikes Miocic has attempted, 843 have landed (a 52 per cent success rate).

    - Miocic has defended 57 per cent of such strikes against him, and seen off 73 per cent of takedown attempts.

    - The majority of his strikes come from a standing position (576, 68 per cent).

    - In terms of grappling, Miocic has completed 25 of 66 takedowns.

  • Rennes star has time on his side – could Camavinga be Casemiro's deputy at Real Madrid? Rennes star has time on his side – could Camavinga be Casemiro's deputy at Real Madrid?

    With Real Madrid reportedly eyeing Eduardo Camavinga, could the Rennes midfielder prove a fine deputy to Casemiro?

    Camavinga, 17, is said to have attracted interest from Europe's biggest clubs, including Madrid.

    Marca reported on Sunday that the teenage midfielder was a preference for Madrid as coach Zinedine Zidane wants to avoid being too reliant on 28-year-old Casemiro.

    Camavinga would surely not be expected to match Casemiro immediately, but rather provide Zidane with a back-up option while learning from the 46-time Brazil international.

    Using Opta data, we take a look at how Camavinga and Casemiro compare in Ligue 1 and LaLiga respectively this season.

     

    Casemiro busy for busier Madrid

    Casemiro and Camavinga have each made 25 league appearances this season, although the former has played 108 more minutes.

    Yet, while Camavinga narrowly edges Casemiro for passing accuracy (87.7 to 83.8), including more notably in the opposition half (83.3 to 78.8), the Madridista has played 1,521 passes to the Angola-born midfielder's 975. That includes making 379 into the final third, compared to Camavinga's 141. Those numbers must also be put into perspective with Madrid averaging 58.2 per cent possession in LaLiga this season, while third-placed Rennes have averaged 49.7 per cent in Ligue 1.

    More to come from Camavinga in attack

    Goals from midfield are a bonus and Casemiro has struck three times in the league for Real Madrid this season, while Camavinga has netted once for a less prolific Rennes. Casemiro has also taken more shots (26 to 10) and had more 'big chances' (four to one), while creating two to Camavinga's one. Both players have provided two assists in the league this season.

    Plenty for Rennes' teenage star to learn

    Casemiro is widely regarded as one of the world's best midfielders, and Camavinga could learn plenty from the Brazilian. Casemiro has 218 recoveries in the league this season to Camavinga's 147, but Rennes man has a slight edge in duel success (57.5 to 55.7). Camavinga has won more tackles (64 to 55), Casemiro has a better success rate (66.3 to 61) and more interceptions (53 to 44), while neither has made an error leading to a shot this season. At 17, Camavinga is supremely talented, and he could thrive given the chance to develop alongside Casemiro.

© 2020 SportsMaxTV All Rights Reserved.