CARDIFF – Wales beat an Ireland aspect that performed with 14 males for over an hour 21-16 in a gripping Six Nations contest in Cardiff on Sunday.
Irish flanker Peter O’Mahony was proven a straight pink by referee Wayne Barnes after he elbowed Tomas Francis in the head.
O’Mahony gains the unwanted tag of being the first Irish participant to be despatched off in a Six Nations match.
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Victory however might be welcome for Wales coach Wayne Pivac who got here into the match below immense strain following a disappointing first year in cost.
“We just had to win today. It’s key to start with a bang and keep momentum going so we are happy,” Wales prop Wyn Jones informed the BBC.
“Sometimes it is tough to play against 14 men because they front up.”
Ireland skipper Johnny Sexton added: “I think a couple of decisions at the end went against us, but Wales are a very good side and we only have ourselves to blame.”
Leigh Halfpenny put the Welsh 3-0 forward in the fifth minute after O’Mahony was penalised.
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Dan Lydiate’s return to Test motion for the first time since 2018 lasted barely 12 minutes earlier than the Welsh flanker limped off with a knee damage.
However, it was O’Mahony’s departure that proved pivotal.
Barnes had no choice however to brandish the pink card at O’Mahony saying: “It is the head Peter”.
O’Mahony scratched his head as he left the pitch, head coach Andy Farrell’s expression hidden by the masks masking on account of Covid-19 protocols.
Wales centre Johnny Williams was maybe lucky to not obtain a card of some color shortly afterwards when his head linked with ball service Garry Ringrose.
forty second attempt for North
Halfpenny added one other penalty to make it 6-0 after Sexton infringed however the Irish gathered themselves and loved a honest quantity of possession.
However, being a man down, they wanted to grab their alternatives.
They let one go abegging after they lost a line-out metres from the Welsh tryline — moments after key jumper James Ryan had departed groggily for a Head Injury Assessment.
He was to not return.
Farrell had a uncommon second to applaud when Sexton landed a penalty simply earlier than the half hour mark to make it 6-3.
Sexton levelled the match 5 minutes from the break.
Astonishingly the Irish had been forward quickly afterwards with the opening coming due to a huge clearance to the touch by James Lowe.
The Welsh lost the lineout and Robbie Henshaw made nice floor earlier than offloading to Josh van der Flier.
He was introduced down wanting the line however managed to get the ball to Tadhg Berine who touched down — Sexton transformed for 13-6.
The hosts although acquired inside two factors after George North broke by way of to the touch down after a beautiful back-hand move by Josh Navidi for his forty second attempt in his 99th Test.
Halfpenny despatched his conversion extensive to go away the Irish 13-11 up with half an hour remaining.
The Welsh went in entrance simply earlier than the hour mark as younger wing Louis Rees-Zammit did brilliantly to the touch down in the nook. Halfpenny transformed for 18-13.
The veteran full-back made it 21-13 with quarter-hour remaining leaving Ireland requiring two scores to win.
Sexton missed the likelihood to place the Irish in nice subject position when he inexplicably failed to seek out contact.
The Irish playmaker was left susceptible on the floor a minute later when his head linked with Justin Tipuric’s knee.
The ever aggressive Sexton shook his head in frustration as he went off for an evaluation.
His substitute Billy Burns slotted over a penalty to make it 21-16 and arrange a nervy final 10 minutes for the hosts.
The Irish stored the strain on however in time added on, Burns missed a golden alternative to seek out contact and have a lineout metres from the hosts’ line.
As he dropped to his knees in despair the Welsh raised their arms in celebration and Pivac puffed out his cheeks with aid.