Jacob Stockdale grabbed a brace as Ireland held on for a 22-17 win over Wales in a World Cup warm-up in Cardiff on Saturday. DYLAN JACK reports.
The Test was a final opportunity for players to impress both coaches before they name their respective squads this week for the upcoming World Cup.
Both Warren Gatland and Joe Schmidt fielded largely second-string starting linueps without many of their big-name players. However, it will be Schmidt who walks away from this match the happier as his side showed a much-improved defensive intensity and took their chances when it mattered to bounce back from their humiliating record loss to England last weekend.
There were still positives for Wales despite the fact that they lost their number one status to New Zealand. There was a second-half fightback led by Rhys Patchell, who made a fantastic impact after coming on at half time.
After an even start to the match just a single penalty from Jack Carty separated the two sides, despite promising attacks from both. Jarrod Evans momentarily levelled the scores with a penalty before Andrew Conway cut through the Welsh defence and passed on his outside to allow Jacob Stockdale to score the game’s opening try.
After a period of Welsh pressure, Stockdale went over for his second as he took advantage of a sloppy pass, booting the ball ahead and regathering to score and put Ireland 15-3 up at the break.
After a few messy scrums, referee Romain Poite lost his patience and sent Welsh loosehead Leon Brown to the sin bin shortly into the second half. Ireland brought on both Rory Best and Tadhg Furlong, which paid dividends as they won a penalty try.
Wales were able to hit back when, after another sustained period of pressure, debutant wing Owen Lane went over for his first Test try. A nailbiting final 10 minutes ensued as Ireland’s potential match-winning try was ruled out for a dangerous tackle in the buildup. Rhys Patchell then made it a five-point game with a self-converted try with just four minutes on the clock. However, Ireland were able to hold on for the win.
After naming their squads, the two nations are set for a rematch in Dublin next Saturday – their final Test before the World Cup.
Wales – Try: Owen Lane, Rhys Patchell. Conversions: Patchell (2). Penalty: Jarrod Evans.
Ireland –Try: Jacob Stockdale (2), penalty try. Conversions: Jack Carty. Penalty: Carty.
Wales – 15 Hallam Amos, 14 Owen Lane, 13 Owen Watkin, 12 Scott Williams, 11 Steff Evans, 10 Jarrod Evans, 9 Aled Davies, 8 Josh Navidi (c), 7 James Davis, 6 Aaron Shingler, 5 Adam Beard, 4 Bradley Davies, 3 Samson Lee, 2 Ryan Elias, 1 Rhys Carre.
Subs: 16 Elliot Dee, 17 Rob Evans, 18 Leon Brown, 19 Jake Ball, 20 Ross Moriarty, 21 Thomos Williams, 22 Rhys Patchell, 23 Jonah Holmes.
Ireland – 15 Will Addison, 14 Andrew Conway, 13 Chris Farrell, 12 Bundee Aki, 11 Jacob Stockdale, 10 Jack Carty, 9 Kieran Marmion, 8 Jack Conan, 7 Peter O’Mahony, 6 Tadhg Beirne, 5 James Ryan, 4 Iain Henderson, 3 John Ryan, 2 Niall Scannell, 1 Dave Kilcoyne.
Subs: 16 Rory Best, 17 Andrew Porter, 18 Tadhg Furlong, 19 Devin Toner, 20 Jordi Murphy, 21 Luke McGrath, 22 Garry Ringrose, 23 Dave Kearney.
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