Ireland fend off Wales in Cardiff


Ireland fend off Wales in Cardiff

Ireland bounced back from defeat against England to beat a much-changed Wales 22-17 in Cardiff.

A first-half Jacob Stockdale double was enough to see Joe Schmidt’s side over the line despite a second-half fightback from Wales.

Warren Gatland’s team looked much improved when fly-half Rhys Patchell entered the fold at half-time and got a try for his efforts in the latter stages but Wales came up just short to suffer defeat at home for the first time in 11 games.

Jack Carty got the scoreboard ticking over with a well-struck penalty before Jarrod Evans levelled the scores up at 3-3.

It was the men in green who produced the first real moment of quality when Andrew Conway went on a mazy jinking run through the Welsh defence, working his way towards Stockdale before releasing the pacy winger for an easy score.

Evans then spurned the chance cut Ireland’s lead by three and Stockdale made him pay for it.

He did so by hacking on Aaron Shingler’s attempted offload and beating everyone for pace to collect the ball as it bounced up favourably for his second try.

As expected, Patchell emerged for the second half in the fly-half role as Gatland continues to weigh up his options for Japan and changed the game.

Not instantly though as Ireland continued to look ominous in attack and were awarded a penalty try just before the hour mark after a string of scrums.

Schmidt then introduced two British & Irish front row forwards in the form of Rory Best and Tadhg Furlong.

But Wales began to grow into the game and Patchell’s influence manifested through an Owen Lane debut try which the No.10 converted to keep Wales in the tie.

And with five minutes to play Patchell had a try of his own stepping inside after numerous pick and gos inside the five-metre line to bring his side within a try of turning things around.

But time ran out for Gatland’s side, on the British & Irish Lions coach’s final home game in charge of Wales, and Ireland saw out the win.

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