Monday 22 January 2018

The game at a glance

Hugh farrelly

Star turn

Tomas O'Leary

Two-try hero Keith Earls had a pretty special day but O'Leary was pure class. The scrum-half still has not got credit for the role he has played in Ireland's successes over the past 16 months but his detractors should be surely thinning out now.

Magic moment

A few to choose from, including the soccer trap-and-gather from Earls and O'Leary's surge up the left for his try. But David Wallace's Phil Bennett-esque side-step around Martyn Williams and that charge after Ireland ran the ball in their 22 gets the nod.

Ref watch

Craig Joubert's whistle was busy throughout but the majority of his calls were consistent with the laws and neither coach had a problem with the South African afterwards.

Crowd watch

A decent atmosphere, with Brian O'Driscoll admitting to being more emotionally affected than he expected by the reception he received when he ran out for the 100th time for his country.

Turning point

Indisputably the turnover just after half-time when the score was 16-6 to Ireland but the Welsh had the momentum. Wales had just buried Ireland with a drive and opted to use the subsequent penalty to go for the set-piece again. It looked ominous but Hayes, Best and Healy knuckled down and Heaslip pounced to win the ball.

They said

"We haven't learnt our lesson from what happened against England. That's extremely frustrating." -- Wales coach Warren Gatland.

"I came up through decades when we didn't win anything in rugby. The GAA has been incredibly supportive and we want to show our respect for that." -- Ireland coach Declan Kidney.

What's next

Saturday, March 20: Ireland v Scotland, Croke Park, 5.0.

Irish Independent

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