Wales v Ireland: Six Nations updates from Principality Stadium


Saturday, 16th March 2019, 1:25 pm
Updated Saturday, 16th March 2019, 4:51 pm
Welsh outhalf Gareth Anscombe punishes another Irish indiscretion

Wales launched their bid for a third Grand Slam under boss Warren Gatland by naming an unchanged match squad to host Ireland in Cardiff.

Liam Williams recovered from a stinger neck injury to start at the Principality Stadium, in head coach Gatland's last Guinness Six Nations match as Wales boss.

Tadhg Beirne made his Six Nations debut for Ireland, with Rob Kearney and Sean O'Brien slotting into Joe Schmidt's starting line-up.

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A dream start for Wales after just 70 seconds, Hadleigh Parkes runs in to gather outhalf Gareth Anscombe delightful chip. Anscombe converts for a 7-0 led.

After that sloppy start from Ireland, they still remained erratic, a dropped ball and then a wayward pass allowing the foot to come off the gas as they made some inroads.

A crossfield kick from outhalf Jonathan Sexton was superbly taken by winger Jacob Stockdale and the Irish trying scoring machine slipped the first tackle and looked to be away only for Parkes to come across and make a great try-saving tackle.

After nine minutes Wales lost winger George North, with Dan Bigger coming on to replace him.

Ireland winger Jacob Stockdale skins Welsh scrumhalf Gareth Davies

On 17 minutes, Anscombe nailed a 49m penalty from wide on the right, to push Wales into a 10-0 lead - Ireland still to really fire a shot.

A reversed penalty decision after Gareth Davies had dived in when Bundee Aki was on the ground with the ball saw Ireland begin to work their way forward.

A lineout in the corner on 22 minutes presented an opportunity, but the second drive went to ground, Wales held it up and the scrum went in their favour.

Wales though hurried their exit and the men in green began to come again, going through the phases and inching closer to the Welsh line.

Wales celebrate Hadleigh Parke's try after just 70 seconds against Ireland

A scrum 10m out in front of the posts provided a great attacking platform, Ireland got a free-kick, but CJ Stander going for the quick-tap, shinned it into his own players and a wonderful opportunity was blown after 28 minutes.

And the poor execution continued from the Irish, Wales putting pressure on at the lineout and Conor Murray knocks-on.

Wales crept further and further up the pitch but at the Irish '22' Ross Moriarity made good inroads, but his team mates go off their feet and Ireland are relieved. But from the penalty to touch Wales steal the lineout.

A cheap penalty giveaway presented Anscombe with another long range attempt - like the previous he sent it straight through the poles and the Welsh lead was now 13-0 after 35 minutes.

Rory Best and Alun Wyn Jones lead their teams out

A collapsed scrum by Ireland provided the chance for Anscombe to send Wales in at the break 16-0 ahead - the outhalf made no mistake.


Both teams returned unchanged for the second half.

The first scrum of the half sees Ireland put the Welsh under pressure, perhaps setting the tone after it was the red shirts who dominated the first half at the set pieces.

But the Welsh put the screw on Ireland at the scrum, the pressure tells and Sexton puts his kick out on the full.

Anscombe inched Wales closer to their Grand Slam with a 48th minute penalty from 33m, curling the ball inside the right hand post for a 19-0 lead.

Compounding that, Sexton's long restart goes dead.

Ireland's miserable afternoon continued as Anscombe punished yet another penalty giveaway, pushing the hosts 22-0 ahead after 53 minutes.

The frustrations continued for Ireland as they began to get on the front foot. From a lineout and backline move, Sexton tried to find Rob Kearney, but the fullback had not read the move. Conor Murray was held up short of the Welsh line.

Then a lineout and maul just could not find its legs, Ireland went through five phases before Beirne was turned over - it continued to sum up the afternoon.

Ireland captain Rory Best was replaced on 65 minutes - not the Irish performance he wanted to sign off his Six Nations Championship career on.

Some mishandling by Sexton inside his own half and winger Adams pounced making 30 yards before kicking ahead, but lucky for the Irish Earls and Kearney were back to cover.

Wales pressed again, they crossed into Irish territory, forced a penalty and with his seventh success of the afternoon, Anscombe started the party early in the Welsh capital, the hosts now 25-0 ahead with 10 minutes to play.

With the bench emptied Ireland pressed to the end, looking for a consolation score to at least take the bad look of the scoreline.

But the Welsh defence were in no mood to take their foot of the gas with the main business done.

Ireland were to finish on the front foot - replacement Jordan Larmour eventually going over in the 83rd minute, Jack Carty converting - but the Cardiff party had started much, much earlier.

This afternoon's line-ups

Wales: L Williams (Saracens); G North (Ospreys), J Davies (Scarlets), H Parkes (Scarlets), J Adams (Worcester); G Anscombe (Cardiff Blues), G Davies (Scarlets); R Evans (Scarlets), K Owens (Scarlets), T Francis (Exeter), A Beard (Ospreys), A W Jones (Ospreys, capt), J Navidi (Cardiff Blues), J Tipuric (Ospreys), R Moriarty (Dragons).

Replacements: E Dee (Dragons) for Owens (60), N Smith (Ospreys) for Evans 54, D Lewis (Cardiff Blues) for Francis (54), J Ball (Scarlets), A Wainwright (Dragons), A Davies (Ospreys), D Biggar (Northampton) for North (9), O Watkin (Ospreys).

Ireland: R Kearney (Leinster); K Earls (Munster), G Ringrose (Leinster), B Aki (Connacht), J Stockdale (Ulster); J Sexton (Leinster), C Murray (Munster); C Healy (Leinster), R Best (Ulster, capt), T Furlong (Leinster), T Beirne (Munster), J Ryan (Leinster), P O'Mahony (Munster), S O'Brien (Leinster), CJ Stander (Munster).

Replacements: N Scannell (Munster), D Kilcoyne (Munster) for Healy (58), A Porter (Leinster), Q Roux (Connacht) for Beirne (58), J Conan (Leinster) for O'Brien (51), K Marmion (Connacht), J Carty (Connacht), J Larmour (Leinster).

Referee: Angus Gardner (Australia).