Andy Farrell’s side get their campaign off to a winning start in Dublin
James Lowe scores for Ireland in Autumn Nations Cup win over Wales
A James Lowe try in the final minute added the finishing touch to Ireland’s 32-9 victory over Wales in the first game of the Autumn Nations Cup at the Aviva Stadium in Dublin.
The New Zealand-born Leinster wing was making his debut for Ireland having qualified on residency and had already impressed throughout the game, both with ball in hand and in defence.
Then from the last play of the game, Player of the Match Caelan Doris broke from the back of a scrum deep in the Wales’ 22 and fed the ball to his Leinster team-mate, who made it to the line with power and pace.
You can watch Lowe’s first Test try here…
Ireland had dominated the first half and could have been further than 16-6 ahead – Quinn Roux with their try – but for some spirited scramble defence from the Welsh. This statistic illustrates their efforts: after 36 minutes, Wales had made 96 tackles to Ireland’s 21!
The visitors showed more impetus after the break and began to secure turnovers at the breakdown, but couldn’t get significant points on the board. Then their ill-discipline (Wales conceded 18 penalties to Ireland’s 13), coupled with a malfunctioning set-piece, returned and Ireland were able to pull away.
Here’s some post-match reaction from social media…
Ireland’s performance, which has piled more pressure on Wales coach Wayne Pivac, was all the more impressive when you consider that they lost both fly-halves to injury during the course of the match.
Johnny Sexton left the field within half an hour with what looked like a hamstring injury. Ulster No 10 Billy Burns then took the field to win his first cap but he was forced off with an injury in the second period. So scrum-half Conor Murray came on in the playmaker role and kicked for goal, slotting two penalties and converting Lowe’s try.
Ireland have got their Autumn Nations Cup campaign off to a winning start but are likely to face a sterner test against England at Twickenham next weekend, while Wales will be desperate to arrest the run of six straight defeats when they host Georgia at Parc y Scarlets.
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