News Worms
News Worms

Schmidt looks to 'fickle friend' to stay onside for Grand Slam bid

Schmidt looks to 'fickle friend' to stay onside for Grand Slam bid

Collectively Ireland made six line breaks and beat 14 defenders.

Ireland were finally home safe and remain on track for the Grand Slam. With each round they have shown us more. Ireland had to wonder how they were not much further in front.

Frustration then for Wales, but something to build on when they welcome Italy to Principality Stadium in a fortnight's time in what represents one of the most high-profile women's games the Welsh capital has seen. It was the flawless end to the first half for the home team, giving them a vital 15-13 lead. That they were not out of sight by then with the possession they had - and the quality thereof - might have infuriated a less patient side. They did so with considerable success, ripping ball from unsuspecting Irish carriers on several occasions. The scrum-half broke and stepped through the wandering Irish defence to score with Biggar adding the easy conversion after 21 minutes.

The pressure told when lineout ball was transferred into midfield where a wraparound between Naoupu, who was now stationed at out-half, and replacement Michelle Claffey unleashed Tyrrell to cruise through a gap and bag the bonus point on her return from Sevens duty. But Ireland - with their talisman Johnny Sexton leading the charge - took control of the game from the start of the second half.

Both were sweetly worked in different ways by Sexton. They created an overlap and went for a lob pass over the top, but Stockdale read the play and made the decision to come off his line.

The hooker said there were mixed feelings after the win against Wales, one that leaves Ireland with plenty to work on before Scotland come to town. Murray linked brilliantly with Earls and the impressive Chris Farrell to lay siege to the Welsh line again.

Johnny Sexton didn't get any points on the board until the 35 minute, missing three kicks at goal in succession for the first time since 2010, when he was off-target with four for Leinster against Scarlets (stat courtesy of Stuart Farmer!). Wales will be out for blood after that wrongly disallowed try in Twickenham two weeks ago.

After going through the motions for a short period, Wales sparked back to life and regained the lead with a 10-point haul via a converted try and a penalty.

Yet it wasn't just Sexton's kicking that made life hard for Ireland. They put themselves back in the frame with that win against France. By the end of the third quarter, they had the bonus point and a 27-13 lead.

A late intercept try added some gloss to Jacob Stockdale's performance and would have him here for many people, but Grosso was quietly excellent against Italy. Ireland seemed set for take-off. Wings Steff Evans and Liam Williams linked superbly down the left flank, and Shingler popped up on the opposite flank to take the scoring pass from back row partner Josh Navidi.

Wales - Tries: Gareth Davies, Aaron Shingler, Steff Evans.

Now the fitness they are so proud of had a chance to showcase itself, Wales off in search of a fourth try and the unlikeliest of victories.


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