Wales v Ireland report: Roof closed for pivotal clash

Tabitha Dunn
March 11, 2017

After a disappointing performance to Scotland which resulted in a loss, tomorrow's Six Nations clash against Ireland will define this Wales Women's team.

McBryde argued that there was more pressure on Ireland as they remain in the hunt for the championship, but he added that Wales needed to perform, with World Rugby ranking points to be garnered before the draw for the 2019 World Cup.

The Welsh have come in for some stinging criticism following their second-half collapse against Scotland, which followed a home defeat to England, and a backlash is expected when championship-chasing Ireland visit Cardiff.

Defeat under the Principality Stadium floodlights would see Wales suffer three successive Six Nations reverses in one campaign for the first time since 2007.

The Wales starting XV owe Rob Howley a performance on Friday night.

They took their chances clinically to score twice through George North, kicked for posts when it was the right options and corners to build pressure, and even when Dan Biggar saw a drop-goal hit the upright, it was the right call, just lacked execution.

Wales secured the win with a try through replacement Jamie Roberts, converted by Halfpenny. Joe Schmidt says Ireland won't be targeting the Northampton man but after his struggles against Scotland, North can expect high balls to rain down on top of him during the early exchanges.

Ireland huffed and puffed in the final stages but couldn't make any real headway despite Sexton trying every pass in the book to unlock the Wales defence.

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The breakdown was also a source of Irish frustration, with Barnes penalising the visitors with regularity in the opening 20 minutes as Wales raced into a 12-0 lead, before then changing his stance.

"Perhaps this is a new experience for this squad of players, but they've got to come through it, they've got to knuckle down". We're going to be battered and bruised afterwards and that's what the games against Ireland are like.

Since then Ireland have lost nine of the 13 games Barnes has officiated and left many Irish fans scratching their heads over any number of contentious decisions.

New Zealander Schmidt announced his side on Wednesday with the only change on the bench as Ulster wing Andrew Trimble was ruled out of the remainder of the tournament with a hand injury and is replaced by club mate Tommy Bowe.

Openside flanker Justin Tipuric will win his 50th cap. Scott Williams broke the Irish defensive line, scrumhalf Rhys Webb took the ball on before fullback Leigh Halfpenny fed North.

Replacements: S Baldwin (Ospreys), N Smith (Ospreys), S Lee (Scarlets), L Charteris (Bath), T Faletau (Bath), G Davies (Scarlets), S Davies (Ospreys), J Roberts (Harlequins).

Ireland: Rob Kearney, Keith Earls, Garry Ringrose, Robbie Henshaw, Simon Zebo, Jonathan Sexton, Conor Murray; Jamie Heaslip, Sean O'Brien, CJ Stander, Devin Toner, Donnacha Ryan, Tadhg Furlong, Rory Best (captain), Jack McGrath.

Other reports by Guamnewswatch

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