Cardiff - Irish Rugby's Fr...

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Cardiff - Irish Rugby's Friend or Foe?

TodayFM
TodayFM

11:24 AM - 7 Mar 2017



Cardiff has been the venue for some of Irish Rugby's greatest days. The Grand Slam win tops the list, but for all the highs there have been plenty of frustrating lows. Ireland play their first Friday Six Nations fixture this week and hopefully it will be a night to remember.

Few will forget the dramatic scenes at the end of the win in Wales in 2009, when a Ronan O'Gara drop goal and Stephen Jones missed penalty ended Ireland's 61 year wait for the Grand Slam.

Three years earlier on the same pitch Munster's quest for their Holy Grail finally came to an end when Anthony Foley lifted the Heineken Cup. The Red Army invaded the Welsh capital again in 2008, as the Southern Province recaptured the trophy  with an impressive win over their old foes Toulouse.

Leinster were also crowned European Champions at the Millennium Stadium.  Johnny Sexton put in a man of the match performance as his team overcame a 16 point half time deficit to beat Northampton in the 2011 Heineken Cup final.

In 2015, Irish fans celebrated late into the night after their team survived a brutal battle to beat France for the first time at the World Cup and avoid New Zealand in the last eight. Joe Schmidt's men returned to Cardiff a week later aiming to become the first Irish team to reach the World Cup semi finals, only to be dumped out of the competition by Argentina.

Earlier that year,  some controversial decisions from referee Wayne Barnes  led to Ireland's only defeat in the 2015 Six Nations. The Welsh held on for a 23-16 home victory. The officials were also to blame for Ireland's defeat at the Millennium Stadium in 2011. A Mike Phillips try was the difference between the two sides, but it should have been ruled out. 

Irish Rugby's first trip to Cardiff came in 1884. They have played Wales there on 43 occasions, winning  18 times. They lost 8 games on the bounce from 1969 until 1985, but didn't lose another match until 2005. Recent results have rotated in favour of the home and away teams. If that trend continues Ireland will win this week and keep on course for a title decider against England over St Patrick's weekend. 



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