Wales unchanged for Six Nations decider vs. Ireland

Wales are unchanged for their Six Nations decider against defending champions Ireland. Jane Barlow/PA Images via Getty Images

Wales have named an unchanged team for their Six Nations decider against Ireland on Saturday, as they look to win their 12th Grand Slam and first since 2012.

Warren Gatland sticks with the same matchday squad that defeated Scotland 18-11 in their last match at Murrayfield, with fullback Liam Williams recovering from a shoulder knock that forced him off during the second half in Edinburgh.

"These players are on a very good run," Gatland said as the team was announced on Thursday. "They are a hugely impressive group and they deserve to be going into the final weekend with everything to play for.

"It is a great reward for them for the hard work they have put in and we are all looking forward of what is going to be a huge game.

"For a number of us as coaches this is our last Six Nations game and that fact it is in Cardiff is extra special. There is bound to be a bit of emotion on Saturday and that is something to embrace."

Meanwhile. Ireland will hand a Six Nations debut to Tadhg Beirne as one of three changes in their bid to upset Wales' Grand Slam hopes.

With one eye on the World Cup, Ireland coach Joe Schmidt is just focusing on the performance and named flanker Sean O'Brien as the other change in the pack from Sunday's win over France that saw the world's second-ranked side recover some form.

O'Brien replaces injured number seven Josh van der Flier while Beirne gets his chance after Iain Henderson was ruled out with a knee injury. Rob Kearney will also start after a knock forced him out of the France game at the last moment.

"It's one of those things where you'd love to go two weeks in a row with the same team," Schmidt, who like his opposite number Warren Gatland will take charge of his final Six Nations game as coach, told a news conference.

"We haven't really been afforded that luxury so it's just a case of slotting people in but as I've said all through the Six Nations, it's been a really positive challenge for us to try to mix and match players and still try to get some cohesion."

Wales are also looking to extend their record winning run to 14 games but defeat will open the door for England to secure their first Six Nations title since 2017. If Ireland win, England can wrap up the title with victory at home to Scotland in the 5:00 p.m. GMT kick off. Wales play Ireland at 2:15 p.m. GMT.

Wales XV:

15. Liam Williams, 14. George North, 13. Jonathan Davies, 12. Hadleigh Parkes, 11. Josh Adams, 10. Gareth Anscombe, 9. Gareth Davies; 1. Rob Evans, 2. Ken Owens, 3. Tomas Francis, 4. Adam Beard, 5. Alun Wyn Jones (c), 6. Josh Navidi, 7. Justin Tipuric, 8. Ross Moriarty

Replacements: 16. Elliot Dee, 17. Nicky Smith, 18. Dillon Lewis, 19. Jake Ball, 20. Aaron Wainwright, 21. Aled Davies, 22. Dan Biggar, 23. Owen Watkin

Ireland XV:

15. Rob Kearney, 14. Keith Earls, 13. Garry Ringrose, 12. Bundee Aki, 11. Jacob Stockdale, 10. Jonathan Sexton, 9. Conor Murray, 8. CJ Stander, 7. Sean O'Brien, 6. Peter O'Mahony, 5. James Ryan, 4. Tadhg Beirne, 3. Tadhg Furlong, 2. Rory Best (c), 1. Cian Healy

Replacements: 16. Niall Scannell, 17. Dave Kilcoyne, 18. Andrew Porter, 19. Quinn Roux, 20. Jack Conan, 21. Kieran Marmion, 22. Jack Carty, 23. Jordan Larmour.

Information from Reuters was used in this report.