Tuesday 12 December 2017

Video: Tries from Jamie Heaslip, Darren Cave and Keith Earls have Ireland well in front

Jamie Heaslip, Ireland, runs in his side's first try of the game. Rugby World Cup Warm-Up Match, Wales v Ireland, Millennium Stadium, Cardiff, Wales. Picture credit: Brendan Moran / SPORTSFILE
Jamie Heaslip, Ireland, runs in his side's first try of the game. Rugby World Cup Warm-Up Match, Wales v Ireland, Millennium Stadium, Cardiff, Wales. Picture credit: Brendan Moran / SPORTSFILE
Independent.ie Newsdesk

Independent.ie Newsdesk

Keith Earls' first Test try for three-and-a-half years helped push his World Cup selection claims and sent Ireland to a 25-7 half-time head over Wales in Cardiff.

Munster centre Earls, captain Jamie Heaslip and Darren Cave crossed for Ireland with Wales struggling for any rhythm or intensity in the opening World Cup warm-up clash.

Richard Hibbard crossed just before the break, but Ireland were still in control, with Earls to the fore with his first score since February 2012.

Gloucester flanker Ross Moriarty made his Test debut as Wales faced Ireland in a World Cup warm-up clash in Cardiff.

Tyler Morgan, Eli Walker and Dominic Day also won international recognition for the first time in a Wales side showing 14 changes from the 61-20 closing RBS 6 Nations victory in Italy.

Keith Earls and Donnacha Ryan both ended 29 months without Test rugby as captain Jamie Heaslip became Ireland's most-capped back-row forward at the Millennium Stadium.

Ireland shrugged off 13 changes from their 40-10 RBS 6 Nations-clinching victory in Scotland to produce the far stronger start, skipper Heaslip crossing for the first score.

Fly-half Paddy Jackson - battling hard for a spot in Ireland's final 31-man World Cup squad - fluffed the seemingly regulation conversion to sum up a mixed opening.

The Ulster playmaker kicked well out of hand but was turned over more than once in the opening exchanges.

Fergus McFadden, Earls and Felix Jones all produced neat breaks as the visitors dominated the breakdown, exuding the usual scientific phase play associated with Joe Schmidt's side.

Jackson posted a penalty to extend Ireland's advantage to 8-0, before hooker Richardt Strauss took a heavy blow to the head and was temporarily replaced by Rory Best.

Earls outfoxed Wales' defence leaving Richard Hibbard and Hallam Amos to deny the resurgent Munster centre a score. But from the scrum Darren Cave eased home for Ireland's second try, with Jackson adding the conversion.

James Hook indicated why his World Cup place is on the line by throwing a horrible hospital pass that left Walker a sitting target for the onrushing Andrew Trimble.

The Ulster wing duly thundered through debutant Walker, allowing Earls to race home for Ireland's third try.

Full-back Jones almost set Trimble clear, but Ireland's right wing could not quite sneak in, though Jackson quickly slotted his second penalty to extend Ireland's lead to 25-0.

Wales finally troubled the scorers when Justin Tipuric sent Hibbard over from a lineout front peel, Hook converting from the touchline.

Buoyed by that try, Wales turned Ireland's defence thanks to Amos' grubber, but Walker failed to ground the ball and the try was chalked off.

Ross Moriarty compounded Wales' miserable day with a brainless yellow card for swinging an arm into Simon Zebo's head.

The Gloucester back-rower blotted his debut copybook and was perhaps fortunate not to receive a red card.

No sooner had Moriarty departed for 10 minutes in the bin than Ireland scored again, Zebo popping over from close range.

Donnacha Ryan then left the fray to be replaced by Dan Tuohy, the Munster lock impressing on his long-awaited return to the Test arena.

Jones ghosted in for Ireland's fifth try to extend the lead to 35-7, Wales losing further ground with Moriarty in the sin-bin.

Chris Henry was then hit with a yellow card for Ireland, less than five minutes after joining the action, for killing the ball.

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