Ireland's Six Nations dream is over after Wales defeat

Ireland's Six Nations dream is over after Wales defeat

Ireland's Six Nations dream is over after Wales defeat

If Wales lose on Friday it will be the first time since 2007 that they have suffered three successive defeats in one Six Nations campaign, and damages their hopes of being second seeds for May's 2019 World Cup draw.

The Northampton Saints back produced the flawless response on Friday night though, putting the home side on the scoreboard in Cardiff with his first try after 19 minutes before going over again four minutes after half-time.

But Ireland's games with Wales are notoriously close, and it would be a fearless person to rule out a Welsh team, albeit misfiring, playing at home with pressure on to assure a top-eight World Rugby ranking for the draw for the 2019 World Cup and also to shine in a bid to help guarantee spots on the British and Irish Lions tour to New Zealand in the summer. "We showed we backed the coaches and we got the result".

'For me, I am just happy to be back playing with a bit of confidence and a bit of form now, and hopefully we can carry it forward into France, individually and as a team.

But Ireland coach Schmidt insisted his team would not be targeting the giant Northampton flyer.

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Recent encounters between the Celtic cousins have been closely-fought affairs, and this attritional ding-dong was no different.

Sexton initially took a whack to his left eye in the 19th minute when Jonathan Davies' knee landed in his face.

Eddie Jones insists England will have "greatness" bestowed upon them if they complete back-to-back Grand Slams, an achievement managed on only five previous occasions. Joe Schmidt's men reduced the deficit on the 27th minute when Paddy Jackson in place for Sexton scored a penalty to leave it 9-6 at half time.

No sooner had the replacement come on then Wales sprang from a line-out.

Ireland gave as good as they got and went in at the break two points behind after George North crossed for the only try of the half, with Ireland leading 2-1 on the converted penalties count.

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The first was a typical crashing and bashing effort after Scott Williams and Rhys Webb had found the opening, and the scrum-half had zipped a wonderful long ball to the right side. Liam Williams is an attacking force.

"Wayne Barnes was on the spot, you can't join the maul in front of the ball", he said.

Wales made their numerical supremacy pay immediately into the second period, Halfpenny doing well to follow up a Webb chip and bundle the covering, obviously injured Connor Murray into touch.

George North goes in for a try. Halfpenny knocking over the extras.

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