Wales vs Ireland – Six Nations 2017 – Round 4

So much pressure was Ireland for this encounter against Wales. If they lost, their hopes of winning the RBS Six Nations this year would be shattered. On the other hand, Wales were playing for pride and passion. It was Ireland who started brightest with Johnny Sexton banging over a penalty to give Ireland a 3-0 lead. It was short lived…

Scott Williams made a half break but managed to offload to Rhys Webb who was in support. Ireland’s scramble defence was then in panick when the scrum half floated a lovely pass to Leigh Halfpenny. Halfpenny then passed to George North who, with a lot of work to do, managed to get over the whitewash! What a sensational score! Halfpenny conversion flew wide however.

Things were not going to plan for the Irish and when Johnny Sexton and Connor Murray went off for a HIA (Head Injury Assessment) Wales began to wreak havoc. Paddy Jackson did hit a penalty but the Welsh would not stop attacking. Rhys Webb spotted a gap in behind so dinked ahead for Liam Williams. The winger collected the ball but was tackled by Sexton who returning after he passed the HIA. The fly half, who had made the tackle, did not roll away and it was deemed by Wayne Barnes that it was cynical. Barnes pulled out the yellow card and Ireland were down to 14 men.  Halfpenny kicked the resulting penalty through the posts to give Wales a halftime lead.

Just minutes into the second half Wales used their man advantage. All of Irish enfringments meant that the Welsh were permanently in the attacking 22. Rhys Webb had been magnificent as this time he supplied the killer pass to set up a score. He took it down the shortside from a maul and found George North who duly dived in sending the Prinicpality Stadium into mania! Halfpenny converted as well.

Ireland were falling apart and despite another Sexton penalty, they could not get a foothold in the match. They were beginning to struggle and it was Sexton who showed off his nerves. His clearance kick was charged down by Toby Faletau. They bouncing ball then found Jamie Roberts who powered past Sexton and scored to put the contest to bed.

The pressure seemed to have got to Ireland and any hope they had was gone. They had lost and it was all up to England; if they beat Scotland, the championship would be theirs…

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