Ireland fall short as Wales power to Cardiff win

Ireland fall short as Wales power to Cardiff win

Wales interim head coach Rob Howley: "There were too many unforced errors in our game [v Scotland] from 40 to 55 minutes, after a really dominant first half on the back of one of the best games in the Six Nations against England".

McBryde argued that there was more pressure on Ireland as they remain in the hunt for the championship, but he added that Wales needed to perform, with World Rugby ranking points to be garnered before the draw for the 2019 World Cup.

The Ospreys star will bring up his half century when he runs out against Ireland at Principality Stadium on Friday night.

Ireland head coach Joe Schmidt: "Some of what we didn't do so well against France, we must do better against Wales".

Ireland surprised Wales by agreeing to close the roof and they were equally caught out when they came out for the warm-up and found themselves wading on a wet surface.

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He said: "When you ask kickers and throwers do they want to run the risk of being wet and windy or do they want to take all of that out of the equation and make sure it's dry with minimal wind, well I wouldn't say it was an easy decision but that was the real reason for us as players".

George North - singled out for particular criticism in the wake of the defeat to Scotland - roared over the line on 21 minutes after excellent combination play between Rhy Webb and Jonathan Williams.

No sooner had the replacement come on then Wales sprang from a line-out. "I've got a terrible voice and there's only one song I really know and that's "My Girl" from Temptations", said the 27-year-old.

North has scored 28 tries for Wales in 67 Tests and needs a big game, but he would not be alone from a Welsh perspective as they strive to avoid suffering three successive Six Nations defeats for the first time since 2007.

Ireland were foundering without their half-backs, desperately trying to stay in a game where some of Wales's experienced players who had been muted in the previous two rounds were determined to impress Gatland.

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"Ireland are more than happy to go with it being closed". We're going to be battered and bruised afterwards and that's what the games against Ireland are like.

Sexton returned to fray after that kick.

Ireland barely resembled the team that had defeated New Zealand in November, hustled into mistakes and even struggling on their own throw.

Halfpenny, North, Davies, S William s, L Williams; Biggar, Webb; Evans, Owens, Francis, Ball, AW Jones (capt), Warburton, Tipuric, Moriarty.

Ireland: 15 Rob Kearney, 14 Keith Earls, 13 Garry Ringrose, 12 Robbie Henshaw, 11 Simon Zebo, 10 Johnny Sexton, 9 Conor Murray; 1 Jack McGrath, 2 Rory Best (c), 3 Tadhg Furlong, 4 Donnacha Ryan, 5 Devin Toner, 6 CJ Stander, 7 Sean O'Brien, 8 Jamie Heaslip.

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Replacements: N Scannell (Munster), C Healy (Leinster), J Ryan (Munster), I Henderson (Ulster), P O'Mahony (Munster), K Marmion (Connacht), P Jackson, T Bowe (both Ulster).

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