Six Nations: Wales beat 14-man Eire 21-16 in tense opener

Six Nations: Wales beat 14-man Eire 21-16 in tense opener

Wales: (6) 21
Tries: North, Rees-Zammit Cons: Halfpenny Pens: Halfpenny 3
Eire: (13) 16
Tries: Beirne Cons: Sexton Pens: Sexton 2, Burns

Wales took benefit of Peter O’Mahony’s 14th minute purple card to beat Eire of their Six Nations opener.

Flanker O’Mahony grew to become the primary Irishman to be despatched off within the Six Nations following a reckless elbow to the pinnacle of prop Tomas Francis.

Eire bounced again to guide 13-6 at half-time by way of a Tadhg Beirne attempt to Johnny Sexton’s boot.

Tries from George North and Louis Rees-Zammit and 11 factors from Leigh Halfpenny sealed success for Wales.

It was a fourth win for Wales coach Wayne Pivac in 11 aggressive matches and the primary in opposition to a number one nation following earlier successes in opposition to Italy and Georgia.

Eire are nonetheless to win an away sport beneath Andy Farrell regardless of the 14 males of Eire loved territory and possession benefit whereas Wales’ forwards dominated the deal with charts.

Reduction was the principle emotion for the house aspect in a frantic finale.

After enjoying the autumn collection at Parc y Scarlets, Wales returned to their Principality Stadium house after the enduring floor had been used as a coronavirus hospital in 2020. The eerie Cardiff metropolis centre environment belied what the Welsh capital would often be like on worldwide day.

After a interval of experimentation, Pivac returned to some tried-and-tested males by choosing probably the most skilled Wales beginning aspect in historical past.

Captain Alun Wyn Jones performed his first sport for 2 months after recovering from a knee damage and was sporting a black eye following an altercation in coaching with Jake Ball, who was not named within the squad.

Wales had already been disrupted by suspended duo Liam Williams and Josh Adams, the latter resulting from a Covid-19 breach.

A cagey begin noticed Leigh Halfpenny open the scoring earlier than his reverse quantity Hugo Keenan demonstrated his attacking skills with an incisive break.

Dan Lydiate’s first worldwide match for greater than two years was reduce quick after his proper leg buckled beneath him, forcing the flanker off to get replaced by Josh Navidi.

The sport’s controversial second got here within the 14th minute when O’Mahony was purple carded for a reckless arm to the pinnacle of Francis when making an attempt to filter a ruck.

Referee Wayne Barnes confirmed the Munster man a deserved purple and it appeared as if the sport’s complexion would change.

Irish indiscipline continued with a excessive deal with from Sexton on Johnny Williams permitting Halfpenny to double the lead.

Wales centre Williams and Eire lock James Ryan had been each pressured off with head accidents earlier than Sexton opened the Eire account with two penalties to stage the scores.

Wales’ line-out woes continued and one other failure arrange the platform for Robbie Henshaw to burst by way of a missed Justin Tipuric deal with to launch Josh van der Flier with Tadhg Beirne following as much as dive over.

Sexton transformed as Eire deservedly led 13-6 at half-time, at which level Wales misplaced scrum-half Tomos Williams to a hamstring damage to the ultimate transfer of the half.

It was a masterful first-half efficiency of sport administration orchestrated by Sexton as Wales had been starved of possession and compelled to make thrice as many tackles because the guests.

Substitute scrum-half Gareth Davies entered the fray earlier than North crossed for Wales’ opening strive with a superb break for his forty second Wales strive in his 99th worldwide. Halfpenny missed the conversion as Wales trailed by two factors.

The hosts regained the lead with a incredible end from Rees-Zammit within the right-hand nook with Halfpenny changing.

Man of the Match

Wyn Jones
Unfastened-head prop Wyn Jones epitomised Wales’ efforts in opposition to a relentless Eire aspect

A thunderous cost from CJ Stander bounced Faletau on his bottom earlier than a Halfpenny penalty gave Wales an eight-point benefit.

Wales rung the modifications which included a serious backline reshuffle with substitute fly-half Callum Sheedy approaching for wing Amos. The alterations included Biggar shifting to full-back and Halfpenny switching to the wing.

Eire misplaced Sexton after his head caught the left knee of Tipuric earlier than his substitute Burns diminished the deficit to 5 factors with a penalty.

In a frantic finale, Gareth Davies needlessly kicked the ball away with 10 seconds left earlier than Tipuric produced a beautiful deal with on Garry Ringrose as Eire battered away on the Wales defence.

Eire had a closing probability, however Burns inexplicably kicked the ball lifeless from a penalty as a relieved Wales secured victory.

Line-ups

Wales: Leigh Halfpenny; Louis Rees-Zammit, George North, Johnny Williams, Hallam Amos; Dan Biggar, Tomos Williams; Wyn Jones, Ken Owens, Tomas Francis, Adam Beard, Alun Wyn Jones (capt), Dan Lydiate, Justin Tipuric, Taulupe Faletau.

Replacements: Elliot Dee, Rhodri Jones, Leon Brown, Will Rowlands, Josh Navidi, Gareth Davies, Callum Sheedy, Nick Tompkins.

Eire: Hugo Keenan; Keith Earls, Garry Ringrose, Robbie Henshaw, James Lowe; Johnny Sexton (capt), Conor Murray; Cian Healy, Rob Herring, Andrew Porter, Tadhg Beirne, James Ryan, Peter O’Mahony, Josh van der Flier, CJ Stander.

Replacements: Ronan Kelleher, Dave Kilcoyne, Tadhg Furlong, Iain Henderson, Will Connors, Jamison Gibson Park, Billy Burns, Jordan Larmour.

Match officers

Referee: Wayne Barnes (England)

Contact judges: Luke Pearce (England) & Alex Ruiz (France)

TMO: Tom Foley (England)

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