Ireland 26 Wales 3 match report: Irish book Triple Crown showdown

Easy win over Wales sets up Joe Schmidt’s men for decisive England clash at Twickenham in two weeks

Aviva Stadium

After a surprisingly comfortable win over Six Nations champions Wales in Dublin yesterday, Ireland captain Paul O’Connell insisted a Triple Crown win at Twickenham in two weeks will require a huge step up in intensity.

“A win in Twickenham is massive, it doesn’t matter how many times you’ve done it before,” said the Ireland captain after yesterday’s victory, which follows last week’s defeat of Scotland. “ They’re an incredibly physical side, their line speed is very impressive and they put a lot of pressure on teams with that and they’re growing in confidence all the time. The competition gets a whole lot harder from here and going to Twickenham is going to be a massive step up.”

For all the talk about Wales’ superior fitness and hulking supermen it was O’Connell and his team-mates who donned the capes here yesterday, strangling a Welsh side that lacked the brains when their brawn failed to do the trick.

The Irish dominated this game from start to finish thanks to their own practical game plan and an ill-disciplined performance from  Warren Gatland’s team, who coughed up 15 penalties - “ unacceptable” according to the coach afterwards.

The pre-match build-up also centred on some bloke called Brian whose package holiday to Australia last summer ended in bitter-sweet fashion, but with 20 Lions tourists shared between the starting XVs this was always going to be a game rich with sub-plots.

However, the battle lines were drawn in green paint. Jamie Heaslip, Connor Murray and O’Connell were edging their opposite numbers, with Toby Faletau’s aimless running typifying Wales’s limitations, while Mike Phillips, frustrated at the lack of quality supply to work with, became increasingly tetchy as his team lurched towards the inevitable defeat.

But the game’s first try was borne out of the compelling duel between full-backs Rob Kearney and Leigh Halfpenny. With the score at 6-0 to Ireland after Jonathan Sexton had punished visiting transgressions, a line-out steal by Devin Toner led to Kearney launching a Garryowen towards Halfpenny.

Both men attacked the dropping ball at its highest point, but by the time they had hit the deck Kearney had ripped the ball away, leaving Sexton to prod a ball into the Welsh corner where Rhys Priestland had no option but to carry it into touch. From the line-out and a series of mauls, Chris Henry scored to give Ireland a 13-0 half-time lead.

Indeed the Irish line-out would prove near perfect as they reclaimed 16 of 17 while stealing two of Hibbard’s darts, and when Cian Healy was taken out early in the second half while supporting a lifter, Sexton chalked up another penalty for a 16-0 lead on 43 minutes.

Sexton (14 points, five kicks from six) then extended Ireland’s lead to 19-3 shortly after Halfpenny had struck his side’s only points.

Prior to this game the Principality were optimistic that they could run their hosts off the park, but using a measured kicking game from Joe Schmidt’s men cut off the power at source by playing tight and mauling Welsh legs into jelly. There were eight line-out mauls in total (which would account for 20 points), the final one allowing Paddy Jackson to scoot in for a late try.

Wherever Wales turned they found an aggressive green jersey waiting for them, and while Alun Wyn Jones was correct when he proclaimed during the week that Dublin was not Syria, Ireland still dominated the combat areas, forcing the visitors to commit more numbers to the ruck, and from there they lost their structure.

Irish back-row Peter O’Mahony got the nod as man of the match and while Murray’s ability to control the throttle of a game’s tempo is crucial, it is the input from new coach Schmidt that may prove decisive by the end of the championship.

He and Gatland share three Heineken Cups, two Challenge Cups and four domestic titles. The Wales coach may have the upper hand in the Test arena, claiming a Lions series win and two Grand Slams, but Schmidt’s ability to outwit “Warrenball” suggests he may even the score in the coming seasons having yesterday put a spoke in Welsh hopes of a championship hat-trick.

Line-ups:

Ireland: R Kearney, A Trimble (F McFadden, 61), B O’Driscoll, G D’Arcy, D Kearney, J Sexton (P Jackson, 75), C Murray; C Healy (J McGrath, 66), R Best (S Cronin, 73), M Ross (M Moore, 55), D Toner, P O’Connell (capt; D Tuohy, 55; T O’Donnell, 65), P O’Mahony, C Henry, J Heaslip.

Wales: L Halfpenny, A Cuthbert, S Williams (L Williams, 17), J Roberts, G North, Rhys Priestland, M Phillips; G Jenkins (P James, 70), R Hibbard (K Owens, 61), A Jones (R Jones, 61), A Coombs, A W Jones (J Ball, 70), D Lydiate (J Tipuric, 70), S Warburton (capt), T Faletau.

Referee: Wayne Barnes (RFU).

 

 

Arts and Entertainment
Sheeran arrives at the 56th annual Grammy Awards earlier this year
musicYes, that would be Ed Sheeran, according to the BBC
Sport
Rio Ferdinand, Alan Shearer, Alan Hansen and Gary Lineker during Hansen's final broadcast
Sport
News
newsBear sweltering in zoo that reaches temperatures of 40 degrees
Arts and Entertainment
Brendan O'Carroll has brought out his female alter-ego Agnes Brown for Mrs Brown's Boys D'Movie
filmComedy holds its place at top of the UK box office
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
Ian Thorpe has thanked his supporters after the athlete said in an interview that he is gay
people
Arts and Entertainment
Professor Kathy Willis will showcase plants from the Royal Botanic Gardens at Kew
radioPlants: From Roots to Riches has been two years in the making
Arts and Entertainment
TV The follow-up documentary that has got locals worried
Arts and Entertainment
Eminem's daughter Hailie has graduated from high school
music
Arts and Entertainment
Original Netflix series such as Orange Is The New Black are to benefit from a 'substantial' increase in investment
TVHoax announcement had caused outrage
Life and Style
Swimsuit, £245, by Agent Provocateur
fashion

Diving in at the deep end is no excuse for shirking the style stakes

News
One Direction star Harry Styles who says he has no plans to follow his pal Cara Delevingne down the catwalk.
peopleManagement confirms rumours singer is going it alone are false
Arts and Entertainment
Curtain calls: Madani Younis
theatreMadani Younis wants the neighbourhood to follow his work as closely as his audiences do
Arts and Entertainment
'Deep Breath' is Peter Capaldi's first full-length adventure as the twelfth Doctor
TVFirst episode of new series has ended up on the internet
Life and Style
Douglas McMaster says the food industry is ‘traumatised’
food + drinkSilo in Brighton will have just six staple dishes on the menu every day, including one meat option, one fish, one vegan, and one 'wild card'
Sport
Mario Balotelli, Divock Origi, Loic Remy, Wilfried Bony and Karim Benzema
transfersBony, Benzema and the other transfer targets
Life and Style
Once a month, waistline watcher Suran steps into a 3D body scanner that maps his body shape and records measurements with pinpoint accuracy
techFrom heart rates to happiness, there is little this fast-growing, self-tracking community won't monitor
Caption competition
Caption competition
Daily World Cup Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services

Day In a Page

Iraq crisis: How Saudi Arabia helped Isis take over the north of the country

How Saudi Arabia helped Isis take over northern Iraq

A speech by an ex-MI6 boss hints at a plan going back over a decade. In some areas, being Shia is akin to being a Jew in Nazi Germany, says Patrick Cockburn
The evolution of Andy Serkis: First Gollum, then King Kong - now the actor is swinging through the trees in Dawn of the Planet of the Apes

The evolution of Andy Serkis

First Gollum, then King Kong - now the actor is swinging through the trees in Dawn of the Planet of the Apes
You thought 'Benefits Street' was controversial: Follow-up documentary 'Immigrant Street' has got locals worried

You thought 'Benefits Street' was controversial...

Follow-up documentary 'Immigrant Street' has got locals worried
Refugee children from Central America let down by Washington's high ideals

Refugee children let down by Washington's high ideals

Democrats and Republicans refuse to set aside their differences to cope with the influx of desperate Central Americas, says Rupert Cornwell
Children's books are too white, says Laureate

Children's books are too white, says Laureate

Malorie Blackman appeals for a better ethnic mix of authors and characters and the illustrator Quentin Blake comes to the rescue
Blackest is the new black: Scientists have developed a material so dark that you can't see it...

Blackest is the new black

Scientists have developed a material so dark that you can't see it...
Matthew Barzun: America's diplomatic dude

Matthew Barzun: America's diplomatic dude

The US Ambassador to London holds 'jeans and beer' gigs at his official residence – it's all part of the job, he tells Chris Green
Meet the Quantified Selfers: From heart rates to happiness, there is little this fast-growing, self-tracking community won't monitor

Meet the 'Quantified Selfers'

From heart rates to happiness, there is little this fast-growing, self-tracking community won't monitor
Madani Younis: Five-star reviews are just the opening act for British theatre's first non-white artistic director

Five-star reviews are just the opening act for British theatre's first non-white artistic director

Madani Younis wants the neighbourhood to follow his work as closely as his audiences do
Mrs Brown and her boys: are they having a laugh?

Mrs Brown and her boys: are they having a laugh?

When it comes to national stereotyping, the Irish – among others – know it can pay to play up to outsiders' expectations, says DJ Taylor
Gavin Maxwell's bitter legacy: Was the otter man the wildlife champion he appeared to be?

Otter man Gavin Maxwell's bitter legacy

The aristocrat's eccentric devotion to his pets inspired a generation. But our greatest living nature writer believes his legacy has been quite toxic
Joanna Rowsell: The World Champion cyclist on breaking her collarbone, shattering her teeth - and dealing with alopecia

Joanna Rowsell: 'I wear my wig to look normal'

The World Champion cyclist on breaking her collarbone, shattering her teeth - and dealing with alopecia
Bill Granger recipes: Our chef gives raw ingredients a lift with his quick marinades

Bill Granger's quick and delicious marinades

Our chef's marinades are great for weekend barbecuing, but are also a delicious way of injecting flavour into, and breaking the monotony of, weekday meals
Germany vs Argentina World Cup 2014 preview: Why Brazilians don't love their neighbours Argentina any more

Anyone but Argentina – why Brazilians don’t love their neighbours any more

The hosts will be supporting Germany in today's World Cup final, reports Alex Bellos
The Open 2014: Time again to ask that major question - can Lee Westwood win at last?

The Open 2014

Time again to ask that major question - can Lee Westwood win at last?