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lotto luck How everything I predicted about Ireland v Wales last Sunday came to pass at the Aviva Stadium

I told you we’d be a bit cautious and cagey in the first half, but that the Boys in Green would open up in the second period and go hunting the try bonus point.

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Garry Ringrose and Andrew Conway both crossed over (Niall Carson/PA)

Garry Ringrose and Andrew Conway both crossed over (Niall Carson/PA)

Garry Ringrose and Andrew Conway both crossed over (Niall Carson/PA)

I think I’ll do the Lotto on Wednesday. Because I’m getting seriously good at predicting the future.

Everything that I told you about Ireland v Wales in these pages last Sunday came to pass at the Aviva Stadium yesterday.

I told you we’d be a bit cautious and cagey in the first half, but that the Boys in Green would open up in the second period and go hunting the try bonus point.

We were much the better team, from start to finish, and only that late mistake at the end prevented Wales going through the game scoreless.

Coach Andy Farrell will be delighted by so much of what he saw.

I think he sensed that Wales were not going to have much to beat us with in the running game, so the Irish boss called for discipline.

‘Don’t give Wales the penalty kicks with which to do damage on the scoreboard’, were his instructions.

Ireland didn’t concede a penalty yesterday until after the hour mark. That is astonishing, remarkable, in Test rugby.

It shows two things, the Irish players are listening to their coach and Wales were putting Ireland under no pressure.

If you want to nit-pick, you could argue that Ireland ought to have won this game much more easily.

That there were 50 points there for the taking, if we’d been a bit more clinical.

Certainly, if the All Blacks had got their hands on this Wales XV, they’d probably have scored 70 points.

But I think you have to allow for the wind and the rain yesterday, the conditions were not conducive to good rugby, but Ireland got on with it and made the best of the circumstances.

The other side of that argument, that we ought to have won by more, is that this was not a one-off match.

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We’re playing France in Paris next Saturday and Andy Farrell had to keep an eye on that huge contest.

Barring some mayhem, France will beat Italy today in Paris, and bag a bonus point, too. It sets it all up for a showdown.

And so, as soon as the bonus point was secured against the Welsh, off came Tadhg Furlong, Andrew Porter and James Ryan, the men we need for the trenches in that game.

He also got Johnny Sexton off a few minutes later.

Johnny was superb yesterday. He’s playing more like a Director of Operations now than he used to – and he’s doing it brilliantly.

When I was in my 20s, I was a better rugby player than I was in my mid-30s.

But in my mid-30s I was of more use to my team than I had been ten years earlier. That’s where Johnny is now – the leader, the commander, the guy pulling the strings.

He’s the guy we cannot do without.

I was delighted for Mack Hansen, who was voted Man of the Match on the day of his first cap.

It tells every Irish rugby player - ‘there is no closed shop here’.

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Ireland's Mack Hansen thrilled fans on his debut. Photo: John Dickson/Sportsfile

Ireland's Mack Hansen thrilled fans on his debut. Photo: John Dickson/Sportsfile

Ireland's Mack Hansen thrilled fans on his debut. Photo: John Dickson/Sportsfile

Mack was a development player, training with the Irish team last November.

For the Six Nations he got a call into the full squad, and, by all accounts, was so impressive out in the training camp in Portugal last week, that Mack played his way into the team.

Giving the scoring pass for Bundee Aki’s try after just two minutes was a dream way to start your international career.

And ‘Mack the Knife’ just kicked on from there, gaining yard after yard every time he touched the ball.

Another thing I told you last week was that Welsh rugby is in big trouble.

Where do I start? Their teams didn’t win a single match in the Heineken Cup this season.

Wales would not have scored in the Aviva in this one, but for Tadhg Beirne passing the ball in error to one of their players.

Think about it, Wales had not troubled the scoreboard after 70 minutes.

Some of the best Welsh players of the time are getting on and succumbing to injury.

Top men like Alun Wyn Jones and Justin Tipuric were missing through injury yesterday and there does not seem to be a lot coming through.

The Welsh Under-20s were hammered by their Irish counterparts in Cork on Friday night. The basics of the game seemed beyond the young men in Red.

Both senior and under-age teams had something in common – Wales are producing big rugby players with no mobility.

They lumber around the pitch until they are run off their feet by the opposition.

Yesterday just confirmed my long-held suspicion that Wales’ players get it going in World Cup year and in the campaign of a Lions Tour.

The other years, well, the Dragons don’t breathe any fire.

But I fear it will all be costly to us next year. I’ve mentioned here in the past that Ireland will surely have to beat either New Zealand or France in the World Cup quarter-final next year.

In order to get to the last four of the competition – the place we’ve never got to.

The reason for that is that Wales were seeded ahead of both France and ourselves when the World Cup draw was made. Madness!

We’ve given them a bonus-point beating yesterday and I can see France doing it to them later in the Six Nations.

But no, because Wales stirred themselves to play well for a while there 18 months ago, South Africa, Ireland, New Zealand and France are all on the same side of the World Cup draw.

That’s for the future. For now, players like Keith Earls, Robbie Henshaw and Iain Henderson must be wondering about their Ireland future.

Barring any injuries that nobody had heard of last night, Andy Farrell will keep the same team and bench for Paris.

He’ll make changes for Italy in Dublin on February 27 for sure.

But those changes won’t be to call back those great warriors, it will be to give some lads like Michael Lowry, Robert Baloucoune, James Hume, Joey Carbery, Ryan Baird, Nick Timoney, Gavin Coombes and Cian Prendergast a Six Nations start.

If those guys are going to help us do really well at a World Cup, they have to be good enough to help us beat Italy at home.

That leaves the likes of Keith, Robbie, Iain, James Lowe and Jordan Larmour out in the cold until mid-March when England at Twickenham comes onto the horizon.

That’s the cruel cut for these lads.

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