ALL THINGS IRELAND: IRELAND GIVE AWAY LATE PENALTY TO GIVE WALES VICTORY
IRELAND BEAT NEW ZEALAND FOR THE 1ST TIME 40-29 IN HISTORIC WIN IN CHICAGO...

Sunday, February 5, 2012

IRELAND GIVE AWAY LATE PENALTY TO GIVE WALES VICTORY





Leigh Halfpenny's last-minute penalty gave Wales a 23-21 win over Ireland in an enthralling Six Nations see-saw battle in Dublin.

 
The match looked to have turned in Ireland's favour after Wales were reduced to 14 men with Bradley Davies penalised for a dangerous spear tackle on Donnacha Ryan. Ireland made their man advantage count as Tommy Bowe latched onto Rob Kearney's precise pass to go over in the corner for a 21-15 home lead going into the final five minutes.


But a late George North try reduced the deficit to one and then a yellow card in the final minute for Stephen Ferris saw Halfpenny stroke home the penalty and give Wales the victory in a pulsating match.


After an early Jonathan Sexton penalty for an infringement in the ruck, Wales looked like the side who beat Ireland so convincingly in the World Cup, dominating possession and territory.


Following a sniping run from Mike Phillips from the base of the ruck, Ryan Jones bulldozed his way over the line, only for the TMO to adjudge him to have been held up on the line.


Following yet more phase play, Wales had their reward in the 13th minute, Rhys Priestland feeding Jonathan Davies down the left wing and the centre going over in the corner. Wales should have been further ahead moments later but the usually reliable Priestland missed a penalty right in front of the posts to let Ireland off the hook.


Sexton followed suit, missing a penalty to put Ireland ahead after a late hit from Phillips on Bowe. But despite more Welsh pressure, the hosts went ahead somewhat against the run of play minutes before the break. Slick passing through the backs found Bowe, who released Rory Best to go over in the corner for a 10-5 interval lead.


Ireland put clear daylight between themselves and Wales early in the second half, Sexton stroking over another penalty for an infringement by Rhys Gill in the scrum. But a Wales penalty moments later was followed by the move that put them ahead for the first time, North offloading brilliantly to send Jonathan Davies over.


Paul O'Connell then failed to get the ball away with a gaping overlap to his right but a further penalty edged Ireland back ahead at 16-15. And Ireland's chances of victory further increased when Bradley Davies was lucky to avoid a red card for a horrendous spear tackle on Ryan, the replays suggesting the offence to be far worse that Sam Warbuton's fateful tackle on Vincent Clerc in the World Cup.


Ireland made their advantage tell only three minutes later as Bowe scored in the corner but Sexton missed the conversion to give Wales hope at 21-15.


Halfpenny's conversion miss should have been decisive but with the clock ticking down, Ferris saw yellow for a dangerous tackle on Ian Evans and this time the full-back did not miss.


The place-kick by Leigh Halfpenny gave Wales a narrow victory at the Aviva Stadium in Dublin


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