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.
Wales (3) 17
TRY: Owen Lane, Rhys Patchell
CON: Rhys Patchell
PEN: Jarrod Evans, Rhys Patchell
Ireland (15) 22
TRY: Jacob Stockdale (2), Penalty Try
CON: Jack Carty, Penalty Try
PEN: Jack Carty
Jack Carty and Jarrod Evans traded early penalties while 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, 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, Stockdale and 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 line speed in defence.
Debutant Owen Lane crashed over for Wales’ first try and a 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 Patchell crossed to make it a five point game with six minutes to go.
Ireland had another try disallowed 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.
WALES: Hallam Amos, Owen Lane, Scott Williams, Owen Watkin, Steff Evans, Jarrod Evans, Aled Davies, Rhys Carre, Ryan Elias, Samson Lee, Adam Beard, Bradley Davies, Aaron Shingler, James Davies, Josh Navidi. Replacements: Elliot Dee, Rob Evans, Leon Brown, Jake Ball, Ross Moriarty, Tomos Williams, Rhys Patchell, Jonah Holmes
IRELAND: Will Addison, Andrew Conway, Chris Farrell, Bundee Aki, Jacob Stockdale, Jack Carty, Kieran Marmion, Dave Kilcoyne, Niall Scannell, John Ryan, Iain Henderson, James Ryan, Tadhg Beirne, Peter O’Mahony, Jack Conan. Replacements: Rory Best, Andrew Porter, Tadhg Furlong, Devin Toner, Jordi Murphy, Luke McGrath, Garry Ringrose, Dave Kearney.