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Ireland deserved their 22-17 victory based on the first 60-minutes of the World Cup warm-up match at the Principality stadium but head coach Joe Schmidt will be a little concerned at the manner in which the intensity and physicality tapered off in the final 20 minutes, allowing an experimental Wales team a shot at nicking the result.
Will Addison and Andrew Conway offered very persuasive arguments as to which they should be on the plane to Japan, as did Dave Kilcoyne, who had a thunderous game. Bundee Aki produced an exceptional performance, there was much to admire in some of Jack Carty’s attacking play, Iain Henderson’s work-rate was voracious while James Ryan, in his first outing of the season, emphatically proved that he is a remarkable rugby player.
Andrew Porter and Luke McGrath made standout contributions off the bench but overall fresh legs and minds didn’t have a galvanising effect in those final 20 minutes. There’s no doubt that Rhys Patchell made a big difference to Wales attacking shape when introduced as a half-time replacement but he was given a little too much latitude by a tiring Ireland.
Lines of communication
After last week’s shenanigans against England, the lineout functioned smoothly, with Ireland winning six of their seven set-pieces. The only one that went astray was when Aaron Shingler picked off Niall Scannell’s slightly flat throw intended for Peter O’Mahony.
Ireland simplified the calls with three of the six thrown to James Ryan standing at two in the lineout and another was a trick play; quickly thrown to prop Dave Kilcoyne at the front. Scannell did well, while Rory Best hit Henderson at four with his first throw. In should be noted too that Ireland’s captain made 12 tackles in his 28-minutes on the pitch – more than any Welsh player and the second highest on the Irish team.
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