Ireland were brilliant and brave in Cardiff this afternoon as they opened their RBS Six Nations campaign with a 30-22 win over Wales.
Tries from Simon Zebo
and Cian Healy
helped them to a 23-3 interval lead and it was the outstanding Brian O'Driscoll's
try early in the second half that was to prove crucial as the Welsh came roaring back in the final quarter.
Alex Cuthbert scored their opening try on 47 minutes as Wales finally started to click after a dismal first half performance. Leigh Halfpenny was next to get over in the right hand corner despite the efforts of Zebo and Jamie Heaslip.
Despite looking out on their feet Ireland, led by that man O'Driscoll, threw themselves bravely into tackle after tackle. They were perhaps fortunate, after Conor Murray was binned, that Davies ignored Cuthbert on his outside but by the time replacement Craig Mitchell finally managed to crash over the home side had run out of time in the face of magnificent Irish defence.
Ireland: R Kearney; C Gilroy, B O'Driscoll, G D'Arcy (K Earls), S Zebo; J Sexton, C Murray; C Healy (D Kilcoyne), R Best, M Ross; D Ryan, M McCarthy (D O'Callaghan); P O'Mahony (C Henry), S O'Brien, J Heaslip capt.
Wales: L Halfpenny; G North, J Davies, J Roberts, A Cuthbert; D Biggar, M Phillips; G Jenkins, M Rees, A Jones; I Evans, A Coombs; A Shingler, S Warburton capt, T Faletau.
Referee: Romain Poite.