Wales late brace not enough to beat Ireland

Club subplot to Ireland v Wales clash- Neil Best

Wales wing George North scores a try against Ireland Sharing Send Thanks Sorry there has been an error

"In retrospect he might have kicked the goal to gain the 10-point margin like Conor (Murray who went for goal a bit later to make it 30-20) but it was something he had said at half-time that the Welsh were turning their backs at penalties".

Wales attacked from the kickoff and was making ground on the wings until, with 80 1/2 minutes gone, Gareth Anscombe threw a floater out to the right wing and Ireland speedster Jacob Stockdale intercepted and ran 40 meters untouched to the posts to finally settle the result.

He found his groove towards the end of the half, slotting a penalty and a conversion to give Ireland that 15-13 lead. I thought we helped them to be exciting at times which isn't something we are trying to do at all. Head coach Schmidt's Ireland men face England at Twickenham on March 17 in a tournament-closing encounter.

Dan Leavy, Keith Earls and Chris Farrell all shone brightly as Ireland coped manfully without key injured trio Tadhg Furlong, Iain Henderson and Robbie Henshaw.

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But there was nothing wrong with Sexton's handling, and a sublime long pass left Halfpenny clutching at air, allowing Jacob Stockdale to race over for the opening try after just seven minutes.

Murray was required to step up and slot a 76th-minute penalty as Sexton was treated, and although Schmidt says the out-half could have played on, Ireland wanted to back Joey Carbery. They launched another and, as the clocked ticked into the 42nd minute of the half, center Bundee Aki reached out to score. It was the ideal end to the first half for the home team, giving them a vital 15-13 lead.

After conceding just two penalties in the whole match against England two weeks earlier, Wales had already fallen foul of New Zealand referee Glen Jackson three times by that stage.

At the break the stats showed that Ireland had a whopping 78% of possession and an imposing 84% of the territory. Flanker Dan Leavy ended 11 phases by barging over with a Sexton push.

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The Ireland fly-half may have been controlling matters with ball in hand but he didn't look all that comfortable when putting his boot to it, perhaps a symptom of the back injury that caused him to miss part of the captain's run the previous day. "And we will do better". Their inability to look after the ball in Wales' half saw several other opportunities wasted as the visitors were able to snaffle possession and clear pressure - or create pressure of their own.

Johnny Sexton had the nation fretting with a strangely indifferent kicking display that included four misses that cost his team 10 points.

WALES: L Halfpenny; L Williams, S Williams, H Parkes, S Evans; D Biggar, G Davies; R Evans, K Owens, S Lee; C Hill, AW Jones (c); A Shingler, J Navidi, R Moriarty. Halfpenny converted, the gap was cut to three, and Wales went all out. They created an overlap and went for a lob pass over the top, but Stockdale read the play and made the decision to come off his line.

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