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Match Reaction: Ireland 31 Wales 5

Match Reaction: Ireland 31 Wales 5

Click here for quotes from the respective coaches, captains and players after Ireland’s RBS 6 Nations defeat of Wales on Sunday.

…Shane Horgan goes over for his try, four minutes into the second half…

IRELAND COACH EDDIE O’SULLIVAN: “I’m very pleased with the performance. It was very solid and workmanlike.”We have to take it one game at a time but it’s great to be in a situation where we are the authors of our own destiny in the championship.”

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“Any notions that Wales weren’t going to play were blown away fairly early on. They got possession and held on to it. They ran us hard and made us work. They scored an early try which threw the gauntlet down at us but we responded very well. Over the 80 minutes we deserved to win the game and played the better rugby. The most pleasing aspect was our defence – we defended superbly.”

“The reason we weren’t in the game in the first 15 minutes is that we didn’t have the football. Wales held on to it and came at us and came at us and came at us. We didn’t have any attacking opportunities.

“The key for us was to defend well and make Wales work for every yard they got. They did get a try, but it was one of those lucky bounces. It bounced away from Andrew Trimble and Mark Jones did well to get on the end of it. But I was happy even at that stage. Our defence was working very well and we just needed to get our hands on the football, establish a field position and convert it into a score, which is what we did and that got us into the game.”

“It was only 11-5 at the break and we turned into a pretty stiff breeze and whoever scored first in the second half was going to have a pretty big say in the outcome. So it was very important that we rolled up our sleeves and got straight into it at the start of the second half and we did that really well.

“We got straight into the game and held onto the football and got a crucial score after half-time (from Shane Horgan) that set us on our way.”

IRELAND CAPTAIN BRIAN O’DRISCOLL: “When you get to the third game (of the championship) there is often one team who have won all three, which isn’t the case this time around, so it’s still wide open – there for the taking – for the team that puts their hand up. But all you can do is play as well as you can. Thankfully we put in a good performance today.

“I thought it was a very solid, consistent performance. For the first 15 minutes I thought we defended well, apart from the try. I’d like to think we have something else to kick into when asked upon us. Fingers crossed, the confidence we take from that result today will enable us to do that.”

IRELAND WINGER SHANE HORGAN (RBS MAN OF THE MATCH): “Wales came out very strongly, as we knew they would, and we didn’t get a lot of first-phase ball. We played a little better rugby in the second half, had a strong base and started to play a little bit more of the rugby we saw in Paris.”

IRELAND FLANKER DAVID WALLACE: “You can’t argue with the facts. Our defence was awesome in the second half and we had a lot of pressure on them and that’s why they gave away the penalties.

Eddie O’Sullivan has always being keeping us on top of our game in defence and as a result we’ve a lot of confidence in it. We would have been disappointed with the first 15-20 minutes but on the whole, it was a good display with regards to the defence.”

“Denis (Leamy) had a run for a try just before that and he got a bit battered. So I relieved him and had a go myself from number eight. He just shouted at me “Have a go, Have a go.” So I took the ball on, managed to stay on my feet and Mal (O’Kelly) got behind me and shoved me over.”

IRELAND WINGER ANDREW TRIMBLE: “The championship is wide open now and everyone can win it, apart from Italy. I thought It was an efficient win – a win which we needed. We are looking at it like cup rugby now.

“It was an unfortunate bounce (for the Welsh try) and perhaps I should have anticipated the chip though better. I didn’t want the try to affect me and I didn’t want to look out of place, so I just worked hard to get into the game and was happy to play my part.”

…Wales caretaker coach Scott Johnson watches on at Lansdowne Road…

WALES CARETAKER COACH SCOTT JOHNSON: “We don’t make excuses, and while I am in charge we will continue not to make them – Ireland were the better side, simple as that.

“From our point of view, the best-laid plans do not always work out. So I suppose, that as coach, I have to look at myself.

“It (Our performance) was not good today and I hate this place (Lansdowne Road). Every time I come here I seem to be on the wrong end of the scoreboard. (But) it’s not about me, it’s about us as a team. We set ourselves high standards and the game we play is one that demands high skill levels.

“We were a little bit out on too many occasions and it cost us. Our kicking out of hand on occasion counted against us. But Gavin Henson was not supposed to come on as early as he did (after 19 minutes) – we planned to bring him on in the second half. But he did as well as we could have expected under the circumstances.”

WALES STAND-IN CAPTAIN MICHAEL OWEN: “In the first 20 minutes we really showed we could create problems but we just didn’t manage to sustain it. We didn’t finish off the movements we put together and credit to Ireland, they came at us in the second half.

“There’s not much between winning and losing at this level even if the score did not reflect very well on us.We were under pressure for too many periods of the game, in the end. When that happens you are always going to concede points to a team like Ireland.”

WALES PROP ADAM JONES: “I hope people realise that we gave 110 percent – every one of us – but Ireland were the better side. We played for our country and gave maximum effort. It’s just disappointing it wasn’t enough.”

“He (Gavin Henson) gets it (booing) wherever he goes but he’s very thick-skinned. Obviously it is hard for him, but it is water off a duck’s back to him as well.”

WALES LOCK IAN GOUGH: “We were absolutely gutted to concede that last try to (Peter) Stringer. We were really gritting our teeth at the time, despite the fact that the game had gone from us.

“It is irrelevant what has gone on, we barely mentioned any off-the-field business all week and we had a great week of training. That showed in the first 20 minutes when I thought we were electric and really on the front foot.

“But in fairness to Ireland, after that, they came at us and put us under a lot of pressure.”

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