Published: Sun, March 12, 2017
Sports | By Grace Becker

Wales reap rewards after 'emotional' showdown with Ireland

Wales reap rewards after 'emotional' showdown with Ireland

As a result England's win at Franklin's Gardens earned them overall victory with a round to go, matching their senior counterparts.

It came when he was caught under his left eye by Jonathan Davies' thigh. He's gone through the HIA (head injury assessment) process but wasn't able to train Saturday and Sunday.

Johnston kicked two penalties at the end of the first half to cut the deficit to only four points at half-time, but Kieran Williams sliced through in midfield and raced over for a third Welsh try to make it 24-13.

They can backfire as well, though, as his charged-down clearance for Jamie Roberts' game-clinching score proved.

Our attack has really been the big talking point.

The incident was referred to the television match official Ben Skeen but, rightly, no action was taken against the Welsh centre as it was purely accidental.

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The scrum-half fed the ball wide and North barrelled through Simon Zebo and Keith Earls from 15 metres out to score.

Wales drove the line-out towards the line but Ireland held-firm.

Englishman Barnes had been a major factor in Ireland's defeat on their last visit to Wales two years ago when he repeatedly penalised them at the breakdown for tacklers not rolling away. Sexton made six tackles in that opening quarter alone.

The hosts came out early before the second period to sharpen their skills with a mini warm-up, and the ploy worked five minutes into the half.

Full-back Leigh Halfpenny added a penalty and two conversions, while substitute centre Jamie Roberts touched down two minutes from time as Ireland played nearly a quarter of the match without their fly-half talisman Johnny Sexton, who went off for a head injury assessment and was later sin-binned.

The Munster man was visibly carrying his left arm and it seriously limited his ability to both tackle and pass.

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Jones added both sets of extras, but there was no let-up in the drama.

With the help of Lindsey Peat try and a Nora Stapleton conversion they led 7-0 at the break.

It could have been worse for Ireland had Dan Biggar been successful with a drop-goal attempt.

It is how Wales play then, when the anger and indignation have subsided, that will be instructive.

An energy-sapping 26 phases of play brought no reward but soon afterwards Sexton converted an easy penalty to leave Ireland within a converted try.

"I thought our line speed in the first 20 minutes put them under real pressure and created opportunities for us and, as I said before, I thought we were a bit unlucky not to get something more from them when we did get in behind them".

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