Monday, February 06, 2012
Leigh Halfpenny was the man of the hour for Wales on the weekend, slotting a last minute penalty to snatch a thrilling 23-21 win over Ireland in a dramatic Six Nations match in Dublin on Sunday.
In what was a passionate encounter, tempers were clearly at the fore for each side as the home team looked to avenge their defeat to the Welsh in the world cup last year.
Yet Wales played with an energy that Ireland failed to match, and two tries by centre Jonathon Davies and one from George North provided the platform for this impressive result.
Both sides exchanged scores in the first half, but Wales were made to rue fly-half Rhy Priestland’s wayward goal kicking as he missed several attempts at the sticks, allowing the Irish to go in at half time 10-3 up, courtesy of a try from hooker Rory Best and 5 points from Johnny Sexton.
Wales returned after the interval without their talismanic captain Sam Warburton - who picked up a dead leg – but showed strength and power in attack, typified through the impressive North who set-up another score for Davies.
However, Ireland found some spark of their own through Tommy Bowe who scored in the corner and at 21-15 with five minutes on the clock, looked to have the match; however, the Welsh had other plans and cut the lead to one-point with a try from North.
Stephen Ferris was then sin-binned for a dangerous tackle on Ian Evans and Halfpenny held his nerve to slot over the last-gasp penalty and condemn the Irish to their first defeat in the opening game of the Six Nations for eight years.
Following the match, Ireland Coach Declan Kidney was left to rue his side’s missed chances:
"It is extremely disappointing. We had a lead early in the second half but we did not build on it. When we do press ahead we have to go for the jugular. We are going to have to look at being more ruthless," he said.
It was a classic match with many talking points, so feel free to discuss below.