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Wales have been crowned 2019 Six Nations Grand Slam champions after dominating a dire Ireland 25-7 in Cardiff.
In a very one-sided affair, Wales kept the Irish scoreless until injury time, when Jordan Lamour dived over.
The home team’s victory was never in doubt after they raced to an impressive 16-0 half-time lead.
Wales were in front from the second minute when Hadley Parkes scored off Gareth Anscombe’s perfect chip kick.
They pressured Ireland with great defence, while the visitors’ usually reliable scrum and lineout let them down.
Ireland gave away penalty after penalty, which Anscombe duly nailed when given the chance.
The fly-half was perfect with the boot to take Warren Gatland’s men into a commanding lead at the break.
Jonny Sexton had one of his worst performances in the driving rain, while Connor Murray was also below par.
Wales’ dominance continued in the second half as Anscombe snapped up for more penalty goals.
The Irish could not keep hold of the ball and the hosts’ defence was unrelenting.
They had some 50-50 calls go against them, but had no answer for Wales’ powerful work in the middle of the field.
Ireland finally got on the scoreboard in the 82nd minute, but it mattered little.
Wales are the champions of Europe and have emerged as real contenders for this year’s World Cup.
Wales play host to Ireland with the 2019 Six Nations title on the line. Join The Roar for live scores and a blog from 1:45am AEDT.
After four rounds it has all come down to this, a juicy clash between Celtic rivals. Wales are the only undefeated team in the competition with four wins from four.
They are on top of the table with 16 points. Victory in this decider would see the Welsh claim their third Grand Slam under coach Warren Gatland.
England are second on the table with 15 points, after three wins and a loss. They will be hoping for an Irish win and that they then batter Scotland.
And then there’s Ireland, who still have a slim hope of a Six Nations title. They arrive in Cardiff ready to spoil the party.
Wales have named an unchanged match-day squad for Saturday, with Liam Williams shrugging off injury to start at fullback.
Joe Schmidt’s team have made three changes for a game that is supposed to be hit by heavy rain and wind. There is little between these two sides, and the last time they met Ireland prevailed 37-27.
Wales are on a winning spree of 13 games and will be confident at home.
Wales have been impressive in the past six months and seem to go from strength to strength. 2019 is their year to strike as Gatland bows out after the World Cup.
Wales to win by 3 points.
When: 1.45am AEDT
Where: Principality Stadium
TV: beIN Sports
Betting: Wales $1.83, Draw $25, Ireland $1.25
L Williams; G North, J Davies, H Parkes, J Adams; G Anscombe, G Davies; R Evans, K Owens, T Francis, A Beard, AW Jones (capt), J Navidi, R Moriarty, J Tipuric. Replacements: E Dee, N Smith, D Lewis, J Ball, A Wainwright, A Davies, D Biggar, O Watkin.
Rob Kearney, Keith Earls, Garry Ringrose, Bundee Aki, Jacob Stockdale, Jonathan Sexton, Conor Murray, Cian Healy, Rory Best (capt), Tadhg Furlong, Tadhg Beirne, James Ryan, Peter O’Mahony, CJ Stander, Sean O’Brien. Replacements: Niall Scannell, Dave Kilcoyne, Andrew Porter, Quinn Roux, Jack Conan, Kieran Marmion, Jack Carty, Jordan Larmour.