Home Rugby Wales Secure Grand Slam With Utterly Dominant Display Over Ireland

Wales Secure Grand Slam With Utterly Dominant Display Over Ireland

Wales 25 – 7 Ireland

Wales secured a first Grand Slam since 2012 and a first championship title since 2013 as they produced a dominant performance over Ireland at a rain-sodden Cardiff en route to a 25-7 win.

Wales raced into a first-half 16-0 lead thanks to the boot of the excellent Gareth Anscombe and a sucker-punch of a try from Hadleigh Parkes with barely a minute on the clock.

Ireland’s indiscipline, especially in the first half where they conceded eight penalties, cost them dearly as Anscombe continued to put boot to ball to keep the scoreboard ticking over.

In the second half, it didn’t get much better for Ireland as they kept getting penalised by referee Angus Gardner. Anscombe added two more penalties to give Wales a 22-0 lead at the midway point of the second half.

In the final 10 minutes, Anscombe notched another three points and with the clock in the red, Ireland managed to get their first points of the game when Jordan Larmour raced over for a try with the clock in the red.

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From the off, Wales looked possessed as they went through the phases from a lineout maul and with a penalty advantage, Gareth Anscombe put through a delightful chip for Hadleigh Parkes to collect and touch down. Anscombe added the conversion to give Wales a 7-0 lead with just over a minute played.

Wales Ireland Grand Slam Six Nations

Ireland responded by going through the phases on the Welsh 22 but Cian Healy knocked on to relieve the pressure for the home side.

Moments later, Johnny Sexton sent a superb crossfield kick to Jacob Stockdale. The Ulster winger collected and charged up the touchline only for a last-ditch tackle from Parkes to save his side.

Wales were dealt a blow when George North went off injured with a hand problem. He was replaced by Dan Biggar which saw Anscombe move to fullback. Immediately after, Alun Wyn Jones went down in considerable pain but after some attention and treatment to his knee, he was able to continue.

Wales Ireland Grand Slam Six Nations

Wales won a penalty when Cian Healy went in on the side of a maul and with the resulting possession in the Irish 22, Wales went through a whopping 17 phases until Tadhg Beirne came up with a stunning turnover to relieve the pressure for Ireland.

A Sexton infringement at the ruck allowed Anscombe a shot at goal from a long way out and the 27-year-old produced a superb kick to put his side 10-0 in front.

At the midway point of the first half, Ireland began to exude some pressure and they were awarded a penalty when Wales collapsed a maul. Ireland opted to put the ball in the corner and but they came away with nothing as an initial promising looking drive was stopped in its tracks by the Welsh forwards. The maul collapsed and with no sign of the ball emerging, a scrum was awarded to Wales.

Ireland Wales Grand Slam Six Nations

Ireland came right back at Wales and from a midfield scrum in the Welsh 22, Ireland were awarded a free kick but CJ Stander knocked on when he attempted to tap and go.

That period of pressure yielded no points for Ireland as the momentum swung back in Wales’ favour. An offside infringement from Tadhg Furlong gave Anscombe another shot at goal and he made a sweet connection to give his side a 13-0 lead with less than five minutes of the first half remaining.

Ireland woes at scrum time continued, after Furlong was at fault earlier in the half, this time it was Healy who fell to his knees due to tremendous pressure from his opposite man Tomas Francis. As a result, Anscombe kicked another three points to give Wales a 16-0 lead at halftime.

If Ireland had any hope of mounting an unlikely comeback they needed to score first in the second half but that went Wales’ way as Healy gave away a needless penalty to give Anscombe another kick at the posts which unsurprisingly, he put over the bar to give his side a 19-0 lead.

The errors continued to mount for Ireland as Sexton kicked the restart over the dead ball line to give Wales more territory.

Wales Ireland Grand Slam Six Nations

Anscombe made it 22-0 when Stander gave away a penalty after 52 minutes to compound the dreadful afternoon for Ireland.

Another penalty concession for Ireland with 10 minutes remaining saw Anscombe add another three points but Joe Schmidt’s side did manage a score when Jordan Larmour went over with the clock in the red.

Wales: Liam Williams; George North (Biggar 9′), Jonathan Davies, Hadleigh Parkes, Josh Adams; Gareth Anscombe, Gareth Davies (Davies 56′); Rob Evans (Smith 54′), Ken Owens (Dee 60′), Tomas Francis (Lewis 54′), Adam Beard (Ball 71′), Alun Wyn Jones (capt), Josh Navidi, Justin Tipuric, Ross Moriarty (Wainwright 71′).

Replacements: Elliot Dee; Nicky Smith; Dillon Lewis; Jake Ball; Aaron Wainwright; Aled Davies; Dan Biggar; Owen Watkin.

Ireland: Rob Kearney (Larmour 65′); Keith Earls, Garry Ringrose, Bundee Aki, Jacob Stockdale; Johnny Sexton (Carty 72′), Conor Murray (Marmion 70′); Cian Healy (Kilcoyne 60′), Rory Best (capt) (Scannell 64′), Tadhg Furlong (Porter 64′); Tadhg Beirne (Roux 58′), James Ryan; Peter O’Mahony, Sean O’Brien (Conan 52′), CJ Stander.

Replacements: Niall Scannell, Dave Kilcoyne, Andrew Porter, Quinn Roux, Jack Conan, Kieran Marmion, Jack Carty, Jordan Larmour.

About Sean McMahon

Sean is Head of Pundit Arena Rugby. Contact him on Twitter here: