Rugby Sports Digest: Last minute penalty seals Welsh win
Wales 23 Ireland 21
“We had to defend for 60%-plus of the game, and if you do that then you are going to ask for trouble.There are different aspects of the game I know we can improve on.
“They managed to put the ball wide on us, and we need to scan a bit better than we have been doing. We’re a lot better than that.”
A delighted Wales coach Warren Gatland said, “We were reasonably lucky. I don’t think we played as well as we could.
“To come here, be under a bit of pressure and down to 14 men, I think we showed a lot of character.
That’s the pleasing thing. The displeasing thing was a lack of discipline which could have cost us on another day. We got out of jail.”
Ireland: R. Kearney; Bowe, McFadden, D’Arcy, Trimble; Sexton, Murray; Healy, Best, Ross, O’Callaghan, O’Connell, Ferris, O'Brien, Heaslip. Replacements: Ryan for O’Callaghan (63 mins), O’Gara for Sexton (74 mins), Reddan for Murray (77 mins).
STEPHEN Ferris could be in more trouble after his Aviva Stadium altercation with Wales forward Ian Evans last Sunday.
The big Ulsterman has been cited for the last minute incident that effectively cost Ireland the game.
Welsh lock Bradley Davies has also been cited by the match commissioner for his spear tackle on Irish sub Donnacha Ryan, and both players now face lengthy suspensions if found guilty.
Wales scored the match winning points from the Leigh Halfpenny penalty that followed the Ferris indiscretion.
But Ireland captain Paul O’Connell refused to blame Ferris for the defeat.
“Stephen hasn’t said a lot but I wouldn’t blame him,” said O’Connell after the game on Sunday.
“I was right beside it, and I didn’t think there was a problem straightaway, but I haven’t seen it on video. I don’t think that was the winning and losing of the game.
“I missed a tackle myself for their try. If you leave a game down to one decision and one player you’re not operating well as a team.”
Wales captain Sam Warburton, sent off in the World Cup semifinal for a spear tackle on Vincent Clerc, defended Ferris. He said, “We know he’s not a malicious player.
“He’s an aggressive tackler. It’s unfortunate because he didn’t mean it. I can sympathize with him a bit. But both he and Bradley Davies received yellow cards so at leas there’s some consistency there.”
IRELAND coach Declan Kidney refuses to give up on the championship despite defeat to Wales last Sunday.
Ireland must beat France in Paris on Saturday night to have any chance of Six Nations glory.
That looks like a long shot after the inadequacies of the Welsh performance while France were well worth their opening day win over Italy.
But Kidney remains optimistic. “Three teams have had their Grand Slams ended this weekend and three teams are still in it,” he said.
“That is the nature of it, but there is a championship still to be won. We will take a good look at what we can solve ourselves. There are different aspects of the game I know we can improve on.
“It is just a case now of getting ready for the next match in Paris.”
Captain Paul O’Connell believes Ireland can turn things around ahead of Paris on Saturday.
“We have plenty of experience in the group, and we will recover to the best of our ability. We need to be patient and trust our defense,” he said.
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