SIX NATIONS: Ireland's championship hopes dented after loss to Wales

Toni Houston
March 11, 2017

While the Irish could still be in the hunt for the Six Nations title, even if they fail to get the better of Wales on Friday, it will be out of their hands, with Ireland needing Scotland to beat England on Saturday.

"We've shown faith in them as coaches that we feel there is a lot more to come, they are deserving of that opportunity and this is their shot at it".

Three minutes before half time, Ireland suffered a blow as Sexton was sin-binned by Barnes, with the referee deeming that the out-half "clearly killed the ball on the line" as Wales nearly got in for a try.

Ireland put the pressure on inside the Wales '22 as the game ticked into the final quarter but the Welsh survived the first wave of attack.

Ireland head coach Joe Schmidt: "Some of what we didn't do so well against France, we must do better against Wales".

"This is a good team and we've got the opportunity to go out in front of our home supporters and deliver a performance the players are proud of and it's equally important for the supporters to support that".

Slow starts have hampered Ireland in this year's championship: while it ultimately didn't cost us against France, it did in the opening game against Scotland, and it would seem that Wales are planning on ensuring Ireland start slowly once again.

Ireland surprised Wales by agreeing to close the roof and they were equally caught out when they came out for the warm-up and found themselves wading on a wet surface.

Wales secured the win with a try through replacement Jamie Roberts, converted by Halfpenny.

"Obviously, I know things have been said in the week about some players' performance".

Ireland has won four of its last six matches in Cardiff, but its Grand Slam hopes foundered in a loss in the Welsh capital two years ago.

Sexton gave the Irish the lead on a rare foray out of their half but the Welsh pressure told eventually.

When Ireland transgressed on their line, Sexton had to go to the sin-bin for killing the ball, and Barnes promptly produced the yellow card.

He made two linebreaks with his 14 carries against Scotland, one of them involving a powerful fend after a clever dummy pass to Paddy Jackson as the out-half ran a loop play. We're going to be battered and bruised afterwards and that's what the games against Ireland are like.

Ireland regrouped, and Jackson stroked over a penalty, just as Sexton readied for a return to the fray. Countless times they turned down kicked at goal to go for the corner.

Open-side flanker Justin Tipuric will win his 50th Wales cap.

Forwards: Rob Evans; Ken Owens; Tomas Francis; Jake Ball; Alun Wyn Jones; Sam Warburton; Justin Tipuric; Ross Moriarty.

Replacements: Baldwin, Smith, Lee, Charteris, Faletau, G Davies, S Davies, Roberts.

Ireland: Rob Kearney, Keith Earls, Garry Ringrose, Robbie Henshaw, Simon Zebo, Jonathan Sexton, Conor Murray; Jamie Heaslip, Sean O'Brien, CJ Stander, Devin Toner, Donnacha Ryan, Tadhg Furlong, Rory Best (captain), Jack McGrath.

Other reports by Ligue1talk

Discuss This Article