Tuesday, 27 June, 2017

Brave Wales rise to the occasion for Howley

Ireland vs Wales: Six Nations preview Six Nations 2017: What time is Wales v Ireland on TV?
Damon Campbell | 13 March, 2017, 01:26

Wales haven't lost to England, Scotland and Ireland in the same RBS 6 Nations since 2003 and avoided that unwanted record with a spirited performance on Friday.

Wales had made no secret of their desire to make a statement against Ireland on Friday night, interim head coach Rob Howley used his programme notes to proclaim just that.

"Obviously, I know things have been said in the week about some players' performance".

"We feel we should have beaten England out here", he added of last month's 21-16 loss.

He returned for the loss against Scotland at Murrayfield and was among the players singled out by pundits, fans and coaches for criticism.

"So for them not to be in that position will certainly provide extra motivation for them". "To score three tries against a side as good as Ireland is an achievement, but so was not conceding one".

And North, now just three scores shy of Ieuan Evans who is third behind Shane Williams (58) and Gareth Thomas (40) on the all-time Wales scoring chart, was determined to come back into form.

That will have to wait however, as first they must upset the Welsh at home.

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"For us, we'll look at the performance more than the result and say, 'In the performance, the seven line breaks we did make, how did we create those?'"

"And I'm sure he's highly motivated to have a really good game, as are the rest of the Welsh XV". When they did cross the line and get the ball down, following a rolling maul, the try was disallowed because center Robbie Henshaw added his ballast to the drive illegally by joining at the last second in front of the ball carrier.

"The try down the short side in the second half was very smart play". It's about handling the pressure from one minute to 80 minutes.

With victories over Scotland, France and Italy Reilly and her colleagues hand reason to go into today's game in confident mood.

Still, it feels like the Irish have taken a step back from those heady days of last autumn, which earned them the tag of favorites heading into the Six Nations.

Ireland were also unsafe with ball in hand, and Calvin Nash, Tadgh McElroy and Paul Boyle scored tries as the visitors clawed their way back from 14 points down to set up that grandstand finish.

Halfpenny was on-target with the conversion to give Wales a 15-8 lead, 10 of those points coming while Sexton was off the pitch having been shown a yellow card for killing the ball on Ireland's try-line.

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