Published: Mon, March 13, 2017
Life&Culture | By Ted Wilson

Ireland's Joe Schmidt concedes Six Nations title after defeat in Wales

Ireland's Joe Schmidt concedes Six Nations title after defeat in Wales

George North has admitted that a return to his barn-storming best with a two-try showing in Wales' thrilling Six Nations victory over Ireland was due to moving up a gear after a brutally honest week of introspection.

Ireland would have a mathematical chance of winning the championship if Scotland defeat England at Twickenham and then lost at home to Italy, but Schmidt is focusing on finishing in the top half of the table.

Wales overcame the Italians before slumping to defeats by England and Scotland, and find themselves contemplating a third consecutive Six Nations loss for the first time since 2007.

"Friday is an opportunity for us". Until the rout of Scotland, England had failed to scale the heights witnessed a year ago and the 18th consecutive triumph was a glorious return to form.

Wales came back strongly in the second-half and thanks partly to a try from Shona Powerll-Hughes they got back on level terms.

Ireland coach Schmidt said Barnes had made the right call at the Principality Stadium on Friday.

Ireland continued to batter the Welsh defence and though they had a try on the 69th minute when Rory Best crossed over when the Irish maul drove of the Welsh line, but the try was disallowed after the referee judged that Jamie Heaslip offside in the build up.

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"Everyone has been writing us off week in and week out but we don't become a bad team overnight so this is just the start", he said.

The returned Sexton orchestrated an Irish fightback, Wales withstanding a remarkable 26-phase of attack before Dan Biggar was harshly penalised for a high tackle, Sexton pulling back three points. Ireland did take the lead when Johnny Sexton slotted between the posts.

Coverage: Live on BBC One Wales & S4C, BBC Radio Wales, BBC Radio Cymru & BBC Sport website and BBC Sport app, plus live text commentary.

Ireland might have been about to score without Henshaw's arrival, and a conversion would have put them ahead with 10 minutes left.

Ireland chased the game valiantly but it was Wales who delivered the final blow when Jack Pope helped push a maul over the line against tiring green shirts.

Wales: 15 Leigh Halfpenny, 14 George North, 13 Jonathan Davies, 12 Scott Williams, 11 Liam Williams, 10 Dan Biggar, 9 Rhys Webb; 1 Rob Evans, 2 Ken Owens, 3 Tomas Francis, 4 Jake Ball, 5 Alun Wyn Jones (c), 6 Sam Warburton, 7 Justin Tipuric, 8 Ross Moriarty.

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