Six Nations 2020: Ireland 24-14 Wales

By Sports Desk February 08, 2020

Ireland handed Wales a first Six Nations defeat in nine matches as they ran in four tries for an impressive 24-14 bonus-point victory in Dublin on Saturday.

Andy Farrell's side were laboured in their win over Scotland on the opening week, but this time tries from Jordan Larmour, Tadhg Furlong, Josh van der Flier and Andrew Conway secured a morale-boosting triumph.

Ireland have now won 17 of their last 18 Tests at the Aviva Stadium and will travel to play England – the only team to beat them in that marvellous run - on matchday three with a 100 per cent record in this year's tournament.

Wales' hopes of winning back-to-back Grand Slams and equalling their best-ever run in the competition, a run of nine victories that ended in 1973, were ended as new head coach Wayne Pivac suffered his first defeat.

Tomos Williams and Justin Tipuric scored a try in each half for the defending champions, but Wales have still not enjoyed a Six Nations win in Ireland since 2012.

Ireland made the early running and while a gutsy decision to go for the corner with a penalty did not pay off, the hosts did get a 19th-minute breakthrough.

After the forwards made impressive ground, Larmour seized an opening as he cut inside and fought his way past Nick Tompkins before powering over, although Johnny Sexton shanked a dreadful conversion wide.

A frustrating start for Wales got worse when in-form wing Josh Adams was lost to injury, though they struck out of the blue after 27 minutes when Williams went over after capitalising on a superb exchange between Dan Biggar and Alun Wyn Jones.

But Williams made a costly knock-on just four minutes later to present Ireland with an attacking scrum and Furlong forced his way across the line, with Sexton this time adding the extras to give his side a 12-7 half-time lead.

A stolen lineout gave Ireland momentum just after the restart and, after they kicked a penalty into touch, Van der Flier rolled over the line as part of a driving maul, with Sexton extending the advantage to 12 points.

Hadleigh Parkes was inches away from getting Wales back into it, but the TMO ruled he had just lost control of the ball with a powerful reach forward to the try-line.

Another big chance went begging when Ireland forced a scrum collapse under their own goalposts, a pivotal moment the home forwards celebrated like a match-winning try.

Conway made sure of the victory and a bonus point five minutes from time as he charged in down the right after being released by Larmour, with Tipuric's late stretch over the line at the other end only proving a consolation.

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    England have won 42 of their 54 games (78 per cent) since Jones' appointment was confirmed in 2015.

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    HIGH - A 2016 GRAND SLAM

    Jones' first tournament was a resounding success as England beat Scotland, crushed Italy and then edged past Ireland and Wales in the Six Nations.

    A 31-21 triumph over France delivered the Six Nations and a first Grand Slam in 13 years.

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    LOW - FIVE-GAME LOSING STREAK

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    LOW - FALLING FLAT IN THE FINAL

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    "Well, guys, can you just send my best wishes to Warren to make sure he enjoys the third and fourth place play-off."

    Jones' response when Wales coach Warren Gatland, who saw his team defeated by South Africa in the last four, suggested England could have already played their World Cup final when they beat New Zealand in the semis.

    “I think the term 'world class' is used lightly. To be world class, you've got to be an automatic selection in a world XV. We don’t have any of those players. Now, we've got a lot of good players and a lot of players who want to get better. So to say we don't have world class players is not a criticism of the players and not a criticism of the team. It's just the reality of it."

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    "We've played 23 Tests and we've only lost one Test to the scummy Irish. I'm still dirty about that game but we'll get that back, don't worry."

    England were hoping to deny Ireland the Grand Slam in their final 2018 Six Nations game and Jones was out for revenge after they inflicted the first defeat of his tenure. He later apologised for the comment and Ireland triumphed 24-15 at Twickenham.

    "If he was Sexton then we'd be able to complain about him. But because he's Owen Farrell he's allowed to be hit late. He's tough so he gets up and he plays. He's a tough rooster, a warrior. He takes the ball to the line, he puts his body on the line, he doesn't play in a dinner suit."

    Jones suggested Owen Farrell's determination to play through pain led to him getting less protection from referees than Ireland fly-half Johnny Sexton.

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