Wales Women thwarted by Ireland

Thursday, 01 Mar, 2018

True to form, Schmidt will be more anxious about the game-on-game leak of tries than excited about the eight posted against Italy and the five against Wales. Take maximum points at home to Scotland - as, for example, Wales did, the team they took maximum points against here - and England would need to do the same against them at Twickenham in the final round just to stand a chance. It made the speed of the defensive line in red an irrelevance and Stockdale had a clear run for the line from five metres out to score his seventh try in seven Tests.

As we all tried to catch our breath in the dramatic endgame of Ireland/Wales, the joy and relief were tempered somewhat by an image of Johnny Sexton picking himself gingerly off the bench to congratulate teammates and bask in the glow of victory.

Ireland fly-half Harry Byrne kicked a penalty to get his team on the scoreboard after 15 minutes, but the visitors extended their advantage soon after when James Botham crossed the white wash in his first global appearance since returning from injury.

Ireland scrumhalf Conor Murray, taking over kicking duties from a limping Sexton, appeared to have settled it again with a penalty five minutes from time but another try from Steff Evans frayed some Irish nerves, settled by Stockdale's interception.

Gareth Davies soon put his side back in control on the score board when he touched down for a five-pointer (20 minute). Halfpenny's second successful kick gave the visitors a 10-5 advantage before another well-taken effort from the Welsh kicker extended his side's advantage to 13-5.

Evans looked to have made sure of the win with a 71st-minute penalty but a try from Tommy O'Brien, converted by Stewart, kept Ireland in it. They launched another and, as the clocked ticked into the 42nd minute of the half, center Bundee Aki reached out to score.

Niamh Briggs kicked between the posts for the first of her three conversions, full-back Kim Flood adding the extras to the final two Irish tries after Briggs was replaced.

The out-half puts Ireland deep into Welsh territory with a penalty, later plays a lovely inside pass for Cian Healy, then a trademark loop with Chris Farrell and strong carry before Aki's try.

He found his groove towards the end of the half, slotting a penalty and a conversion to give Ireland that 15-13 lead.

Ireland loosehead Linsday Peat was sin-binned for a high tackle in the process of Harries' try, but unfortunately for the visitors it was the hosts who regained the momentum: extending their lead to nine points after 50 minutes thanks to a well-taken try by centre Sene Naoupu, which Briggs converted to make it 21-12. "He finished the game, he ran fully, changed angles fully".

With Warren Gatland's side having to go for a try, a long pass out was intercepted by the alert Ulster winger Jacob Stockdale, allowing him score his second try on the day, his eight to date at global level.

"But we've got a lot of confidence in Joey Carbery".

Round three of the NatWest Six Nations saw Scotland shock England, Ireland overpower Wales, and France get their first win of the tournament.