Ireland hit back after last week’s drubbing with a narrow victory over Wales at the Principality Stadium.
Two tries from Jacob Stockdale and a penalty try guided Ireland into a 22-3 lead before Wales mounted a fightback.
Jack Carty and Jarrod Evans traded early penalties while Jacob Stockdale opened the try scoring account with a try on eight minutes.
Dave Kilcoyne powered through a Josh Navidi tackle to provide the momentum for Ireland. Taking the ball flat from the next phase, Jack Carty put Andrew Conway through the gap who found the Lurgan man for an easy run in at the corner.
Stockdale grabbed a second try shortly before the half hour mark after pouncing on a poor pass from Aaron Shingler.
Leading 15-3 at the break, Ireland certainly had the better half of the sides. Defensively, Ireland were much more organised than last weekend, and also had another edge to attack with Bundee Aki, Jacob Stockdale and Dave Kilcoyne making dangerous line breaks.
With a 12 point lead Ireland seemed to be in pole position to kick on and clinch top spot in the world rankings, however the introduction of Rhys Patchell and Tomos Williams at half backs, changed the complexion of the game.
Ireland held out an early barrage of Welsh attack at the start of the second half to return to the opposition 22. Leon Brown was sent to the sin bin before Andrew Conway thought he’d touched down for Ireland’s third try but play was brought back for a forward pass.
Wales’ ill-discipline was made to pay as they committed an infringement too many at scrum time and Romain Poite marched under the sticks to award a penalty try.
Twenty-five minutes of Welsh pressure ensued. They began to take the ball at pace off nine, preventing Ireland from increasing the linespeed in defence.
Debutant Owen Lane crashed over for Wales’ first try and a Rhys Patchell conversion, brought Ireland’s lead to 12 points. A try saving tackle from Luke McGrath forced a knock on from Elliot Dee with 12 minutes to go however Rhys Patchell crossed to make it a five point game with six minutes to go.
Ireland had another try disallowed Bundee Aki tackled James Davies in the air after jumping to catch a poor pass from Jake Ball. Poite’s explanation was clear and concise as he came to the logical decision.
Ireland held on to record their second win in the World Cup warm up games with a much better performance. It’s still a way off where they hoped they would be this time last year but several fringe players impressed and will pose a few headaches for Joe Schmidt as he submits his final 31-man squad to World Rugby tomorrow.
Wales travel to the Aviva Stadium in the final of Ireland’s warm up games next week.
Dave Kilcoyne, Bundee Aki and Will Addison were Ireland's stand out players yesterday. Kilcoyne was excellent in the loose by providing the spark for Stockdale's opening try and also locked down a super scrum. Addison provided some creativity which Ireland have been lacking in recent games, while Aki was a huge threat to Wales with ball in hand.
Other players that impressed and are in with a shout of getting a seat on the plane to Japan include Andrew Conway, John Ryan, Kieran Marmion and Jack Carty. The half backs in particular controlled proceedings well with a varied range of attacking styles.
- Dave Kilcoyne
- Niall Scannell
- John Ryan
- Iain Henderson
- James Ryan
- Tadhg Beirne
- Peter O'Mahony
- Jack Conan
- Kieran Marmion
- Jack Carty
- Jacob Stockdale
- Bundee Aki
- Chris Farrell
- Andrew Conway
- Will Addison
- Rory Best
- Andrew Porter
- Tadhg Furlong
- Devin Toner
- Jordi Murphy
- Luke McGrath
- Garry Ringrose
- Dave Kearney