Wales 9 – Ireland 19

Much more robust in the second half than the first, Ireland will need to allay the nerves before next week’s historic match against France in Croke Park and start playing their game from the beginning (a long term feature of O’Sullivan’s teams). Still starting as a favourite has to be got over sooner rather than later. His new additions of the last few seasons now playing their way into the team (not least Ulster’s Andy Trimble!!), and sterling performances from some of the ‘oul wans’. Good to see what is, in parts, becoming an ageing scrum holding up well into the dying seconds of the game, though they will no doubt face tougher tests. Let’s not fold against Laporte’ Bleus like last time, and that we are still in the hunt by the time a rejuvenated England come to Dublin.

  • Henry94

    It was a great match to watch. In fairness to Wales they threw everything at us. Not conceding a try was a positive but yes, must do better.

  • graduate

    It was better than either of yesterday’s matches but I don’t think it was a grand slam winning start.
    Ireland are going to have to start being much quicker out of the blocks although Rory Best was certainly showing the way. We also tend to sit back after a try and for God’s sake will someone please send Jonny Wilkinson over to show O’Gara how to kick!!
    I feel that we would have been better served by Murphy in the starting line-up and Hickie on the bench. No criticism of hickie, he’s still a bloody good player.
    All in all a fair result but the lads are going to have to start showing some consistent hard work and while lineouts are better we’re still giving away daft penalties.Looking forward to France as I think as it’s the match that will show us the eventual winners.
    Let’s also start enjoying the tag of favourites rather than panicking- we have some absolutely great players if they just get on with it!!

  • I thought Wales looked really exciting at times and we often looked flat and dull. Although Easterby didn’t have a bad match, I still think his was a shocking selection. Neil Best would have given us so much more impact in the loose, where Wales’ back row played us off the park until they sort of collapsed with exhaustion in the last 10-15 minutes.

    On the other hand, we buried our chances, had great defence in our own 22, and the back 6 tackled like trojans all afternoon. They always say the sign of a real winning team is that they win even when they don’t play all that well. You can’t complain with three tries to nil. Wales were always going to be tough; France looked sharp against Italy yesterday, also very clinical at completing chances, and while I still don’t rate England, Wilkinson adds so, so, much to them and kicked a few belters yesterday.

    Other thing – only one kickable penalty given away by either side in the second half; incredible discipline by both sides.

  • pete Whitcroft

    Wales should have been awarded a penalty try.
    Tackling a man without the ball on the try line is almost sin-binable.
    It could have turned. the game.

    Our backs were good and our forwards need to increase by a few gears to master the English and French.
    O’Gara is still blowing hot and cold.
    Serious blood from Hickie!

  • againstthehead

    very poor perrformance by ireland, but a good side can still when when playing poorly. No structure, or pattern of play to our game, but it usually takes a game or two to get into our stride. ROG had his poor game for the tournament – expect to see him dictate territory this weekend.
    The 2 Ulster players performed very well and should keep their places. Neil will struggle to displace easterby though.

  • moochin photoman

    I thought that Stringer had a poor game and his distribution and decision making wasn’t up to scratch. That said the Welsh came out with all guns firing and played it tight and close to the base of the advantage line trying to take chances whenever possible.
    The second half must have been physically draining for all the players with Ireland setting their stall out very early on and playing the game as Wales had in the first half. Half an hours play with no score or penalties (i think) is a testament to the skills and commitment of both teams but without doubt we deserved the win.
    Still on course for the slam i think but we should be wary of the French, i don’t think we should worry too much about England one man doesn’t make a team. Still an impressive return to International rugby by Wilkinson tho, amzingly so (even tho it wasn’t a try).

  • Greenflag

    Ireland just about deserved to win and had the Welsh crossed the line early on it would have been curtains for the men in green . This BTW is the 6th/7th win against Wales in the last 8 games . If England go down at Croker it will the fourth win for Ireland against the Sassenachs in four years:)

    Shane Horgan was missed yesterday. Neil Best should be given a run against the French .

    Wilkinson’s return seems to have ignited the English team so the Croker game should be a ‘sell out’ 🙂 2007 could be Ireland’s year yet 🙂

  • Droch_Bhuachaill

    Was really impressed by Andrew Trimble yesterday, especially with his defensive skills. The overall defensive performance was outstanding. Agree the Stringer had on of his poorer games

  • ATH – Easterby had a decent game yesterday, but don’t you think we missed something at the breakdown from the autumn internationals? Don’t you think that young, relatively inexperienced backs like Hook and Czekaj could have been isolated and destroyed by a few big hits from Neil? I’m glad Easterby is in the squad – he brings a cool head and experience – but he isn’t half the player Neil is; Eddie O’Sullivan is about the only person in Ireland who doesn’t realise that and even he admits he has a blind spot for Easterby.

    I agree at that one man doesn’t make a side but as well as his metronomic kicking, Wilkinson had the English three-quarter line taking the ball on the burst and moving forwards rather than sideways in a way they haven’t for a few years. England’s real find, however, was Harry Ellis. Can’t believe he wasn’t man of the match for them. I still think France are the more worrying prospect though, especially if Mignoni and Skrela can play like that when under more pressure.

  • Bill

    At the time I thought the Welsh player misplayed the ball when he was challenged but in the replay I did not see him touch the ball with his foot.

    Also how did they escpae the sinbinning.

  • Intelligence Insider

    Great game to watch, exciting rugby for the whole 80 mins. A sign of a truly great team is being able to beat a team playing well when you yourselves are not playing particularly good, this Ireland side has all the signs of being a truly great team. I stuck £50 each way on them last year for this years Rugby World Cup, at that time odds were an amazing 33/1!!! (And 1/3 the odds for a second place) I think they are now 9/1 joint 3d favourites along with Australia and behind the all Blacks and France, expect that to change after a magnificent Grand Slam win!

  • Intelligence Insider

    Current IRB World Rankings after this weekends matches;

    1st New Zealand
    2nd France
    3rd Australia
    4th Ireland
    5th South Africa
    6th Argentina
    7th England
    8th Wales
    9th Scotland
    10th Samoa

    A win over France this coming weekend would see Ireland jump to 2nd place in the world, their highest ever position.

  • Stillorgan Culchie

    All in all a very tight game, that could have gone Wales’ way. Have to remember though, it has been 12 weeks since they last played competively together. I think we can expect a much better performance next week.
    Not one of O’Gara’s better performances but I don’t think we’ll see a repeat for the rest of this tournatment.

    Also, great to see Wilkinson back. He had a lot to prove especially after Robinson’s comments on Saturday before the game.

  • Most enjoyable game (fair play to the Welsh – they should have had a penalty try!), but it left me a bit worried about facing the French. Caught the first half of their game against Italy, and think they will maybe be the ones to watch.

  • Mick Fealty

    II,

    Going into the World Cup, we’ve still got to learn not to ‘freak’ when playing the All Blacks second team… Though one thing I though noticeable was what looked like a considerable jump in the strength and fitness of the players… something O’Sullivan declared as a major objective about three/four years back…

    Mick

  • moochin photoman

    They may have started slowly but they finished strongly.
    What was once a failing of the Irish namely final quarter exhaustion, is no longer an issue for us which is down to the level of professionalism and the work that has been done by the Irish backroom boys.
    Long may it continue.

  • Intelligence Insider

    Mick,
    I have to say I think those days of fear and freaking out playing the All Blacks are gone, look at the 2006 results, although I know all games were just friendlies.

    In New Zealand in June they beat Ireland twice, 24 – 17 and 34 – 23, two pretty narrow victories.

    In England they beat the English 20 – 41, in France they beat the French 3 – 47 and in Wales beat the Welsh 10 – 45.

    3 pretty comprehensive away victories against England, France and Wales and 2 very narrow home wins against the boys in green. The team are looking well, we have the right blend of youth and experience and strength and fitness of every member of the squad looks great. Fingers crossed!

  • every member of the squad looks great

    Except for Peter Stringer… Isaac Boss solves some of Stringer’s problems (he’s stronger, more aggressive and if he has a back row who learn to work with him, is great at pounding through the ruck area and making gains). On the other hand, his pass is every bit as slow and erratic as Stringer’s, and that’s the main problem.

    Oh, and our pack aren’t great at scrummaging. Great at lots of other things, but really a bit weak at scrummaging. If I was England, that’s what I would focus on when they play us. They did last year, and it came within a last minute Horgan try in the corner of working.

    I think this is a great Irish side too, let’s just not get carried away.