Sam Warburton
Sam Warburton leads Wales against Paul O'Connell's Ireland. Reuters

Where to Watch Live

Kick-off at 2.30pm and is live on BBC One, BBC One HD, BBC Radio 5 live sports extra and online on Saturday 8 February.


Sam Warburton and Paul O'Connell will lead their teams out at the Aviva Stadium on Saturday in a keenly anticipated clash of red and green.

This week sees the return of the captains in what is being labelled the grudge match of the championship after Ireland stole victory from the Welsh in their opening match last year, ending their Grand Slam hopes in one fell swoop.

Both Wales and Ireland still have work to do after recording convincing, yet at times shaky, wins over Italy and Scotland respectively as Wales defend not only the championship title but an unbeaten away run since 2011.

Warburton blew away the cobwebs in a second half appearance in round one, his first since recovering from a shoulder injury and O'Connell is reinstated after a chest infection forced him to withdraw at the last-minute against Scotland.

An extra dimension to the contest has been added by Brian O'Driscoll coming face-to-face with Warren Gatland after the Ireland centre was omitted from the British and Irish Lions team for the third Test against Australia last summer.

But it's the head-to-head clashes which really gets the heart racing as the giants of northern hemisphere rugby line up to overcome their opposite numbers in what is sure to be the most epic of Six Nations battles.


Ireland: Rob Kearney, Andrew Trimble, Brian O'Driscoll, Gordon D'Arcy, Dave Kearney, Jonathan Sexton, Conor Murray, Cian Healy, Rory Best, Mike Ross, Devin Toner, Paul O'Connell, Peter O'Mahony, Chris Henry, Jamie Heaslip.

Replacements: Sean Cronin, Jack McGrath, Martin Moore, Dan Tuohy, Tommy O'Donnell, Isaac Boss , Paddy Jackson, Fergus McFadden.

Wales: Leigh Halfpenny, Alex Cuthbert, Scott Williams, Jamie Roberts, George North, Rhys Priestland, Mike Phillips, Gethin Jenkins, Richard Hibbard, Adam Jones, Andrew Coombs, Alun Wyn Jones, Dan Lydiate, Sam Warburton, Taulupe Faletau.

Replacements: Ken Owens, Paul James, Rhodri Jones, Jake Ball, Justin Tipuric, Rhys Webb, James Hook, Liam Williams.

What the coaches say:

Joe Schmidt: "Man for man they are a very big side and we are going to have to be fairly smart about the way we play," observed Schmidt.

"There are one or two things we will try to implement on Saturday but we'll have to assess post-match whether they have worked or not.

"We have a six-day turnaround so we trained for an hour on Tuesday, for an hour on Thursday, and we have the captain's run on Friday.

"The first three days after the Scotland match were largely used for recovery as the match was played at a reasonably high tempo, so we've just been keeping a lid on things training-wise.

"I know they've been outspoken about some scrum decisions and that's one of the things they will look to strengthen."

Warren Gatland: "There is no team we fear, and it's great to go away from home and have that confidence that you can win, and even sometimes you have to grind out the ugly win - that's very important, too.

"I think if you look back at the last World Cup, we were absolutely outstanding (against Ireland in the quarter-final).

"We put in a superb display that day, but Saturday is going to be tough."