Ireland were comprehensively outclassed by a Warren Gatland-led Wales side as they clinched the Grand Slam for the first time since 2012.

Wales were in control for all of the game with Jordan Larmour adding a consolation try for Ireland on the final whistle.

Signs were ominous when Jacob Stockdale was bundled into touch from the kick off by George North after Gareth Anscombe landed the kick on a six pence. Wales won the lineout and, with a penalty advantage, Anscombe dinked a ball over the top for Hadleigh Parkes to gather and score the first try of the game with just two minutes played.

It was excellent vision from the Cardiff player to spot that Ireland had no sweeper in behind with both Rob Kearney and Conor Murray providing numbers in defence.

The decision from Ireland to keep the roof open proved fruitless, as Wales were happy to defend, giving Ireland 60% possession and 62% territory. The home side put in a massive shift, making 140 tackles to Ireland’s 73 with the visitors never looking like troubling the Welsh line. In the opening stages of the match, Ireland made numerous handling errors which could be argued to have been down to slippery conditions.

Ireland had a chance foiled by a magnificent tackle from Hadleigh Parkes. Johnny Sexton found Stockdale with a cross kick but the Scarlets player stopped a certain try and forced the Ulsterman into a knock on.

Wales were excellent at neutralizing all of Ireland’s attacking threat and forced Ireland into conceding penalties. Eight were conceded in the first half in comparison to round four where they conceded seven in the whole match.

The opening stages were frenetic and Ireland did cause a few problems but the Welsh scramble defence was exceptional. The boot of Gareth Anscombe kept the scoreboard ticking and took Wales out of sight shortly into the second half.

The defence was on top in this match and was testament to how Wales have played throughout the tournament. Ireland had a multitude of opportunities inside the Welsh 22, but handling errors and stupid mistakes let the home side off the hook. Unusual for Ireland, they had made four handling errors in the opening 12 minutes and coupled with back to back penalties, gave the hosts the territory and, crucially, the momentum which they converted into points.

It wasn’t until the last play of the game that Ireland got on the board. Inside the 22m line, Ireland kept the ball tight before releasing Jordan Larmour who stepped the final Welsh defender and dotted down.

5.2 Performance

The ill-discipline from Ireland was uncharacteristic and ultimately was their downfall. Neither Conor Murray or Johnny Sexton had a particularly great game and it was disappointing to see Joe reluctant to replace them until late on.
Leadership was an issue yesterday, too many big players failed to step up and it was hard to see what the Irish game plan was, instead they were relying on individual brilliance which was few and far between.
Ireland have used 36 players in this tournament but still the lack of trust in the back up half backs is an issue which could prove costly in the World Cup. With Kieran Marmion and Joey Carbery getting a shot in the Autumn, I thought this issue was resolved, however there is plenty of time for Murray and Sexton to find form before September.

  • Cian Healy 5
  • Rory Best 5
  • Tadhg Furlong 5
  • Tadhg Beirne 6
  • James Ryan 4
  • Peter O'Mahony 6
  • Sean O'Brien 5
  • CJ Stander 4
  • Conor Murray 4
  • Johnny Sexton 4
  • Jacob Stockdale 5
  • Bundee Aki 5
  • Garry Ringrose 5
  • Keith Earls 5
  • Rob Kearney 5
  • Niall Scannell 6
  • Dave Kilcoyne 6
  • Andrew Porter 6
  • Quinn Roux 6
  • Jack Conan 6
  • Kieran Marmion N/A
  • Jack Carty N/A
  • Jordan Larmour 6
  • User Ratings (2 Votes) 3.5

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