Ireland emphatically outclass Wales in Six Nations

Ireland ended Wales’ chances of a Grand Slam when they beat the Six Nations Champions 26-3 at the Aviva Stadium in Dublin Ireland on Saturday.

Ireland scored the only try of the match in the first half and although Wales came close to scoring on a couple of occasions they were unable to breach the Irish defence.

Wales are bidding for a third straight title but lacked an edge against Italy last week but against Ireland they were generally poor and were unable to gain any advantage over Ireland.

Warren Gatland’s Wales team simply never got close to the hosts, who tactically outmanoeuvred
the giants in red, and boasted raw strength and aggression to complete the rout.

Ireland have not begun a Six Nations with back-to-back victories since the
Grand Slam year of 2009, and this comprehensive result will have them dreaming
in Dublin.

Jonny Sexton’s boot dominated the game, but the performances of Peter O’Mahony,
Paul O’Connell, Andrew Trimble and Rob Kearney will give England boss Stuart
Lancaster plenty to ponder ahead of the mammoth clash in Twickenham in two week’s

Ireland were already in confident mood following their 28-6 opening day win
over Scotland, reflected in Joe Schmidt’s decision to make just two changes
to the starting line-up.

Ireland captain O’Connell, who withdrew on the morning of the Scotland game
with a chest infection, returned, while Gordon D’Arcy resumed his record breaking
midfield partnership with Brian O’Driscoll, making what’s likely to be his penultimate
Ireland appearance on home soil.

Wales were boosted by the return to fitness of their own skipper, Sam Warburton,
who was one of three changes in the forward line, alongside Gethin Jenkins and
Andrew Coombs.

Ireland were the only team to beat Wales in 11 Six Nations clashes, but the
hype surrounding this game was not about the theme of Welsh revenge, but an
altogether different grudge match, pitting the ‘coldhearted’ Lions boss Gatland
v ‘scorned’ centre O’Driscoll and Ireland’s eight Lions v Wales’ 12.

But the real edge to this game was that the winner could automatically become
title favourites.

Perhaps it was that possibility that led to a scrappy first half that was largely
devoid of rhythm or skill, but the home fans weren’t complaining with their
13-0 lead at the break.

It wasn’t quite the 27 point half-time lead they enjoyed last year, but it
was merited, with O’Connell, O’Mahony and Trimble outstanding for the boys in

Ireland weathered a strong start by Wales, before Sexton racked up six points
with two straightforward penalties before the 20th minute.

In between, the entire stadium took a deep breath as O’Driscoll was downed
by a bone shaking tackled by Scott Williams, but the centre is going to go out
on his terms this season and made it to the final whistle.

The ball was often in the air, with Sexton clearly intent on turning the Welsh
on their heels, and it was one of those kicks that led to the opening try.

The execution was training ground perfection, with Devin Toner collecting the
lineout and feeding Chris Henry, who was bundled over the line for his first
international try.

Sexton added the extras, and then notched a key penalty after the break to
put more than two converted tries between the sides.

Halfpenny finally got Wales on the scoreboard with a penalty on 56 minutes,
but Sexton responded four minutes later to restore the 16 point gap.

Wales pounded the Irish defence, only to see Rhodri Jones’s ‘try’ disallowed
for a double movement in the build up, and the visitor’s comeback efforts drifted
away as the rain showers did.

Paddy Jackson, on the field just four minutes, did what Wales couldn’t do in
80, and touched dow

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