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Rory Best scoring Ireland's opening try.
Inpho/Billy Stickland
Ireland Pass The First Test
2 February 2007, 11:27 am
By Pat Geraghty
An opening try from Rory Best and a closing one from Ronan O'Gara helped Ireland to a 19-9 victory over Wales in Cardiff this afternoon. In between there was a third try for captain Brian O'Driscoll that saw Ireland lead 12-9 at the break despite playing second fiddle for most of the opening half.
A three tries to nil scoreline away in the Millennium Stadium in the opening round of the Six Nations championship brokers little argument that they deserved their victory but nevertheless they will not be entirely happy with their own performance. Nor will the Welsh be too enamoured with the way the game was handled, perhaps feeling that most if not all of the 50/50 decisions went the way of the Irish.

Rory Best gave Ireland the lead after a mere 47 seconds when he picked up a Brian O'Driscoll blockdown of Stephen Jones' attempted clearance.

Penalties from Jones in the 8th, 17th and 24th minutes put the home side 9-5 in front before Ireland took the lead just before half time with a try from captain O'Driscoll.

It remained like that until the closing ten minutes when man of the match Gordon D'Arcy was stopped just inches from the line but from the ensuing ruck O'Gara mananged to extend an arm to get the crucial touchdown. He added the conversion just for good measure.

Ireland: G Dempsey; A Trimble, B O'Driscoll capt (G Murphy), G D'Arcy, D Hickie (G Murphy 24 min temp); R O'Gara, P Stringer; M Horan, R Best (J Flannery), J Hayes; D O'Callaghan, P O'Connell; S Easterby, D Wallace, D Leamy.

Wales: K Morgan; H Luscombe, J Robinson, J Hook, C Czekaj; S Jones capt, D Peel; G Jenkins, R Thomas, C Horsman; I Gough, A Wyn-Jones; A Popham, M Williams, R Jones.

Referee: Kelvin Deaker (New Zealand).

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