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'Absolutely pathetic' - Pundits go in for Wales after drubbing in Dublin

By Ian Cameron
PA

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Guinness Six Nations afternoons don’t come much tougher – especially when you’re reigning champions. Ireland eased past Wales 29-7 in the opening game of the Six Nations championship in Dublin with their new Australian recruit Mack Hansen enjoying a flying start to his Test career.

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The Irish picked up where they left off in November with a comfortable victory on Saturday and Hansen, who qualified for them through having an Irish mother, helped set them on their way by making the first try.

Ireland looked every inch one of the tournament favourites when they roared out of the blocks in the same manner that toppled New Zealand three months ago but still needed a second half burst to put the injury-hit visitors out of sight.

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Wales barely fired a shot, and the talking heads didn’t hold back in their assessment. Former Wales star turned pundit Jonathan Davies said he struggled to find anything positive to say about the performance.

“Disappointing performance. Looking desperately for positive points but struggling. No go forward, no confidence to beat a man and cupboard looking bare with players coming through. Huge game next week,” he wrote.

The XV journalist Owain Jones noted it was hardly much of a surprise given the form of the Welsh regions in Europe and in their native URC. “This isn’t even a surprise. Ireland a class above Wales domestically, and just transferring that quality to the Test arena. Questions have to be asked. Drifting into mediocrity.”

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Comedic Welsh account Dai Lama quipped: “When I say I liked the 90s I mean Britpop, a Labour government, grunge and the WWF. Not Wales playing like this.”

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Many noted the apparent failure of British & Irish Lions winger Josh Adams playing at outside centre, a channel Ireland mercilessly exploited.

Journalist Paul Eddison wrote: “Owen Watkin to the wing while Josh Adams stays at outside centre? Surely it’s ok to accept that a tactic hasn’t worked.”

Wales Online scribe Matthew Southcombe said that Wales’ failure to break the gainline had once again cost the men in red in Dublin. “Wales haven’t won the gainline in Dublin for a decade, which is why they haven’t won a competitive Test there in that time. This has been a re-run of the last 5 trips to the Aviva… only worse.”

Colleague Simon Thomas put the blame on a lack of Test caps. “This time last year, Wales fielded a record 874 caps in their Six Nations opener against Ireland. Today, the tally of caps in their starting line-up is down to 487, with Alun Wyn Jones, Justin Tipuric, Ken Owens, Taulupe Faletau and George North all injured.”

While professional pundits were measured, their civilian counterparts were putting the boot in: “Wales were absolutely pathetic. Worst we’ve played in a decade or more. Awful in attack, all over the place on defence. Selection of Adams at 13 and McNicholl on the wing was a disaster. Ireland were good, but Wales made it easy.”

“Well going to say it, Pivac and his coaching team need to go. No structure. This isn’t the Scarlets,” posted another.

Dai Lama humourously suggested that [once again] under pressure head coach Wayne Pivac sense of direction was lacking, using some fruity language.

“I’d say Pivac out but the **** would probably miss the exit”

– additional reporting AAP

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