Rob Howley praises George North as Wales dent Ireland's Six Nations hopes

Rachel Hardy
March 13, 2017

Leigh Halfpenny at full-back and George North on the wing also keep their places despite disappointing recent performances from two of Wales' biggest names.

"We owe a lot to the coaches, but they've backed our ability and we certainly showed what we can do and there's certainly a lot more to come from us".

"Everyone has been writing us off week in and week out but we don't become a bad team overnight so this is just the start", he said. In November, you get to play at home mostly and I guess as frustrating at it is, I still think there was some really positive things that we did (in Cardiff).

Despite being the team's first defeat, the loss in Colwyn Bay ended Ireland's championship hopes and handed the tournament to England.

Ireland dominated a frantic opening period, monopolising both possession and territory.

Johnny Sexton was then sin-binned, and Howley's men struck again when North crossed out wide five minutes after the interval, and Jamie Roberts finished the job with an opportunistic late score.

Wales came battering back, but the Irish defence held firm.

Wales took immediate advantage of the extra space, with Jones delivering a wonderfully flat skip pass to Williams, whose cracking line took him under the posts.

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Ross Moriarty made a half-break in midfield and offloaded to Rhys Webb, who delivered an inch ideal long pass to the oncoming Leigh Halfpenny.

Wales led by just two points at the break and took to the field early for the second half in order to focus minds and ensure there was no repeat of the capitulation in Scotland two weeks ago.

Ireland looked to have survived without incident until Webb found Liam Williams with a cross-kick.

The outside-half was shown yellow, and Halfpenny landed a simple three points to give Wales a narrow 8-6 at half-time.

Alun Wyn Jones rose to pluck the ball in the resulting line-out, the maul trundled forwards and Webb found North unmarked on his wing for a simple try, his 30th on the global stage.

The returned Sexton orchestrated an Irish fightback, Wales withstanding a remarkable 26-phase of attack before Dan Biggar was harshly penalised for a high tackle, Sexton pulling back three points. Sexton added a penalty to make the score 15-9 and set up an interesting last 20 minutes, but the Welsh stood firm.

However, Ireland dug deep and engineered an unconverted try from Hannah Tyrrell that proved to be a match victor.

Other reports by TheDailyFarc

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