Ireland continued their winning start to the 2021 Six Nations with a 12 – 40 victory against their Welsh counterparts at Cardiff Arms Park.
Ulster’s Nathan Doak stole the show with a 20 point haul, from a try, 3 conversions and 3 penalties, with Cathal Forde, Chris Cosgrave, Daniel Okeke and Alex Kendellen also crossing in a second dominant performance from the Irish pack.
Wales (0) 12
TRY: Alex Mann, Carrick McDonough
CON: Sam Costelow
Ireland (17) 40
TRY: Cathal Forde, Chris Cosgrave, Nathan Doak, Daniel Okeke, Alex Kendellen
CON: Nathan Doak (3)
PEN: Nathan Doak (3)
It’s hard to say who the credit goes to for Ireland’s two opening performances in the Six Nations, the coaching of Richie Murphy, or whoever looked after the strength and conditioning of the forwards over the last 16 months. It’s certainly a pack of prime beef, and they picked up where they left off against Scotland with a dominant display against Wales.
Despite some crisp play from Doak, who kept everyone pointing in the right direction with his quick deliveries, it took Ireland 13 minutes to break through the Welsh defence, centre Forde picking a sweet line to brush off two wrong footed tackles to score under the posts. Doak converted to give Ireland a 0 – 7 lead.
Busy winger Cosgrave picked up Ireland’s second, coming inside off a well timed pass from Jamie Osborne which left a relatively clear run in on the 24th minute. Doak converted and added a penalty just short of the half hour mark to take the score to 0 – 17 in Ireland’s favour.
Ben Moxham looked like he was going to add to Ireland’s total before the break, jinking into space for a clear run at the line, but an excellent defensive tackle from Wales’ Dan John brought the run to an end and the teams turned round with Ireland leading by 17 points.
Doak opened up his second half performance with the try of the game down the left. Gathering a chip ahead his interchange with Osborne ended with Doak crossing out wide for an unconverted try to move the score along to 0 – 22.
Wales got on the scoreboard minutes later as Moxham failed to clear a Welsh kick to the corner and coughed up a 5m scrum. A few pick and goes later the Welsh skipper Alex Mann crashed over for an unconverted try to get the home side on the scoreboard. Captains Mann and Kendellen enjoying a good personal battle in the back row.
The game was definitely becoming more competitive in the second half though Doak kept Ireland firmly in front with a 56th minute penalty moving the score to 5 – 25 before a Welsh break saw Ireland’s Shane Jennings carded for slowing down the ruck. Wales took full advantage to send their extra man, Carrick McDonough, over in the corner, their slick passing too quick for the Irish defence. Sam Costelow added the conversion to take the score to 12 – 25.
It could have sparked a tasty finish but Wales coughed up a penalty on the restart which Doak converted to reinstate their three score lead and, with the replacements adding extra energy, Ireland went on to wrap up the game with tries from replacement Okeke and, Ireland captain, Kendellen. Doak converted the latter to take the final score to Wales 12 Ireland 40.
WALES: Jacob Beetham, Dan John, Ioan Evans, Joe Hawkins, Carrick McDonough, Sam Costelow, Harri Williams, Garyn Phillips, Efan Daniel, Nathan Evans, Joe Peard, Dafydd Jenkins, Alex Mann (C), Harri Deaves, Carwyn Tuipulotu. Replacements: Oliver Burrows, Theo Bevacqua, Lewys Jones, James Fender, Chris Tshiunza, Ethan Lloyd, Will Reed, Tom Florence, Morgan Richards, Eddie James, Rhys Thomas.
IRELAND: Jamie Osborne, Ben Moxham, Shane Jennings, Cathal Forde, Chris Cosgrave, Tim Corkery, Nathan Doak, Jack Boyle, Ronan Loughnane, Mark Donnelly, Alex Soroka, Harry Sheridan, Donnacha Byrne, Oisín McCormack, Alex Kendellen. Replacements: Eoin de Buitléar, George Saunderson, Sam Illo, Mark Morrissey, Reuban Crothers, Conor McKee, Ben Carson, Jude Postlethwaite, Fearghail O’Donoghue, Daniel Okeke, Conor Rankin.
We’ve included the stats for the individual Ulster players in the web story below which we’ll update after each round. You can link to the web story separately for future reference.
As for this game, Doak was the man of the Match with a bustling display. It’s a bit hard on Conor McKee after a good display last week, but Doak’s advantage is that he ties in the opposition back row with his 12 carries and 82 meters made. I still think we’ll see McKee and Doak at 9 and 10 together before this tournament is out.
Harry Sheridan continued his high level of performance in second row, the Ulster man topping the tackles made this week with 16, which is a bit jump up from 5 against Scotland. The only other starter in both games, Moxham, had a mixed game, a bustling first half run and strong defensive tackles overshadowed by his conceding a 5m scrum when tucking it up and blasting our a couple of yards was probably the answer.
Jude Postlethwaite and George Saunderson both got about 20 minutes and they looked busy enough, both catching the eye on occasion. However Ben Carson and Conor Rankin both got less than 10 minutes and struggled to make an impact in such a short space of time.
James Humphreys missed this one as he returns from a head injury and McKee and Rueben Crothers weren’t used in this one.
England joined Ireland at the top of the table as the only other undefeated side. this sets up Thursday’s game as a potential championship decider. The results in Round 2 as follows.
This leaves Ireland at the top of the table, on points difference, after Round 2.