Sunday, 30 April, 2017

Ireland ladies continue 100% record in Six Nations

Ireland dug deep to keep their Six Nations hopes alive with victory over France in Dublin Ireland dug deep to keep their Six Nations hopes alive with victory over France in Dublin
Edmund Wade | 13 March, 2017, 00:21

Ireland would have a mathematical chance of winning the championship if Scotland defeat England at Twickenham and then lost at home to Italy, but Schmidt is focusing on finishing in the top half of the table.

Jack Kelly, Colm Hogan and Charlie Connolly of Dublin University Football Club (DUFC) all represented Ireland under 20s in their encounter with Wales in the penultimate round of the Under 20 Six Nations Championship.

Ireland coach Joe Schmidt had predicted before the match that players can bounce back from a poor display with a much-improved one, and so it proved to be for North, heavily criticised in Wales' capitulation to Scotland.

Sexton, who also spent time in the first half off with yet another head injury, returned to the fray and slotted another penalty but Ireland couldn't get over the line.

An unchanged Wales side upped the pressure as half time approached and were rewarded by a successful Leigh Halfpenny kick two minutes before the break, moments after Sexton was sent to the sin bin.

Wales centre Kieran Williams crossed for a pair of tries to lead his men to a 41-27 triumph.

Both teams are unchanged for the Friday night fixture at the Principality Stadium, Rob Howley's decision not to blood some younger Welsh players in place of more experienced but underperforming stars raising eyebrows.

A penalty from Sexton brought Ireland within a converted try but backs-to-the-wall defense kept Wales ahead, and replacement Jamie Roberts collected his own charge-down to clinch victory with a 79th-minute try.

"George is a world-class global player", said Howley.

England's task is rather simple now: if they emerge victorious against Scotland, they win the title.

Ireland started brightly and were unlucky not to have a try when CJ Standar was just held short of the line.

Howley said his side could have tried to hide after the last two defeats but instead they stood up to be counted. Joseph's game has morphed since he first became a regular in 2015, the blazing flurry of dynamic tries that marked his early caps replaced by his growing stature as a forceful defender with an opportunistic streak.

In November, New Zealand looked to make it 19 in Chicago only to lose to Ireland. Dan Biggar and Rhys Webb have a tough ask to try to contain Sexton and Murray.

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