Six Nations global: Wales v Ireland

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George North silenced his critics with a brace of tries that saw Wales run out 22-9 winners over Ireland in Cardiff on Friday to end the visitors' hopes of a tilt at the Six Nations title.

They are now facing the prospect of a worst Six Nations showing since 2007, back to back defeats in Cardiff for the first time in 14 years and dropping out of the top 8 of the World rankings, just before the 2019 World Cup draw is made.

"As coaches we discussed possibly giving the side a chance to redeem themselves for the second half performance [against Scotland]".

"When we actually look at the games (England and Scotland), if we were getting completely outplayed, I would be a little bit anxious".

McBryde, who played hooker for Wales alongside Howley and assistant coach Neil Jenkins, added: "We're in a goldfish bowl in Wales and you're aware of it".

"We felt it was important the same group of players had the opportunity to go out and perform on Friday so we have named an unchanged matchday squad", Wales coach Rob Howley said.

Ireland made a strong start, not only going in front through Sexton's sixth-minute penalty, but forcing Wales back through through the sheer ferocity of their attacking game.

No sooner had the replacement come on then Wales sprang from a line-out.

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"As far as I am concerned, when you are taking part in global rugby as a player, as a coach, you are under constant pressure". His calls left many Irish players visibly fuming on the pitch, and led the normally calm Joe Schmidt to bemoan "some very, very stringent refereeing of the tackle area".

In a general observation, Schmidt said: "We play off more scrums than anyone else in the championship, and it's incredibly infuriating when teams that don't tend to play off scrums get rewarded for the way they approach the scrum". Early in the second half they set up camp in the Welsh 22, going through 32 and then a further 13 phases, yet failed to trouble the scoreboard.

But just as Ireland looked to be fading, they found more energy and redoubled their efforts, trailing 15-6. Indeed, of the eight games the English whistle blower took charge of during the Corkman's time in the hot seat, Ireland only recorded one win.

New Zealander Schmidt announced his side on Wednesday with the only change on the bench as Ulster wing Andrew Trimble was ruled out of the remainder of the tournament with a hand injury and is replaced by club mate Tommy Bowe. "We've got to go at them right from the word go".

Openside flanker Justin Tipuric will win his 50th cap, packing down alongside back-row colleagues Sam Warburton and Ross Moriarty. Smart play from Scott Williams and Rhys Webb, with a lovely wide pass to Leigh Halfpenny, meant that the Irish defensive line was back-peddling by the time North got his hands on the ball.

Baldwin, Smith, Lee, Charteris, Faletau, G Davies, S Davies, Roberts.

Forwards: Jack McGrath, Rory Best, Tadhg Furlong, Donnacha Ryan, Devin Toner, CJ Stander, Sean O'Brien, Jamie Heaslip.

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