Ireland shared the spoils with Wales on the opening day of the Six Nations
Ireland opened their second Six Nations title defence with a draw against Wales which produced a potentially worrying statistic for head coach Joe Schmidt.
After a promising start, Ireland surged into a 13-0 lead inside the first 30 minutes of the game and dominated the possession game on home sod. But inexperience in the scrum coupled with some misuse of the ball, culminated in Wales not only reviving to level the game, but they actually went three points in front through a Rhys Priestland penalty.
Johnny Sexton responded for Ireland and barely squeezed a penalty kick between the posts inside the last few minutes to prevent a dreaded defeat. But while Ireland came away from this bruising encounter with something to put on the board, it also condemned us to a potentially treacherous path for the rest of the tournament.
During the post-match media conference, Schmidt was informed that no team who has drawn a Six Nations test game has gone on to win the championship. In his response, Schmidt said:
''It's one of a number of worrying things that we've got to overcome. The statistics won't affect our recovery and it won't affect our preparation for France but to have half an hour less than a six day turnaround for the game against France and compete with the athletes they have is going to be a monumental task.''
''I can see why that stat exists because this is such a competitive competition and you've got to turn around and compete with another really good team so it's always tough.''
Schmidt went on to comment on the likelihood of Rob Kearney and Sean O'Brien being fit for next weekend's away clash against France.
''Sean could potentially have gone on to the pitch today but we also know that that would have been an exacerbated risk and you know you're going to have to go five games and you're hoping you can get through without some of your leaders on the pitch but I thought the guys who stepped in did incredibly well. We'd be very confident that we'll have both of those players for next week.''