Wales end courageous Irish fightback as U20 title hopes die


A try by Jamie Roberts then put the result to bed as Ireland were made to pay for their mistakes with ball in hand. He's gone through the HIA (head injury assessment) process but wasn't able to train Saturday and Sunday.

Wales overcame the Italians before slumping to defeats by England and Scotland, and find themselves contemplating a third consecutive Six Nations loss for the first time since 2007.

Ireland knew that a converted try would at least keep them in contention heading into the final day, but instead it was Wales replacement prop Chris Coleman who found his way over to seal the win. In a moment to make Irish eyes water, Sexton went in to tackle Jonathan Davies in the first half, and the fly-half's head collided with the rampaging centre's knee.

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.

Biggar had never stood flatter for Wales and if it led to some interceptions, it also took Wales over the gainline.

George North crossed in either half as the hosts' defence stoically repelled wave after wave from Ireland in the second half. Sexton made six tackles in that opening quarter alone.

Wales winger George North experienced perhaps his worst game for his country against Scotland, when the Welsh shipped 20 unanswered points in a woeful second-half showing.

McBryde, who played hooker for Wales alongside Howley and assistant coach Neil Jenkins, added: "We're in a goldfish bowl in Wales and you're aware of it".

The biggest takeaway for most people watching the first half, however, was the sheer physicality of it, with Jonathan Sexton (who was sin-binned at the end of the half) and Conor Murray amongst those on the receiving end of some truly ferocious hits.

That's life. Rob, Neil Jenkins (Wales skills coach) and myself, anybody involved in Welsh rugby in the Nineties, we know what it's like.

Ireland continue to pressurise but a failure to execute in attack continued to haunt them and when that problem manifested itself as a charged-down clearance, Roberts was the beneficiary to deny Ireland even a losing bonus point.

North was at it again after 45 minutes.

It is a sign of how much Schmidt's side rely on their halfbacks that both he and Sexton remained on for so long.

They said: "Unfortunately there are no laws banning the sale of tickets above face value, but the IRFU is encouraged that there are proposals at government level to address this area, as we believe that a crackdown on the practice will only be effective if legislation is developed, and we support all efforts in this regard", he said.

He would do well to be more circumspect in his answers this time around, but it is a dilemma that is sure to dominate Schmidt's thoughts enough as it is.



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