Ireland keep grand slam dream alive by beating Wales

Chris Farrell during Ireland rugby squad training at Carton House in Maynooth Co Kildare

Chris Farrell during Ireland rugby squad training at Carton House in Maynooth Co Kildare

He was sitting down and we were talking all week. "It is very exciting and we need to use it in the right direction". Being able to talk and instill confidence in all your players. They were second best in all facets and struggled to retain possession long enough to break down the green wall or create chances.

It has been an eventful season to date for Porter, who only made his Ireland debut against the United States of America last June.

"And it won't be too hard to put any other thoughts aside when we look back on last year's defeat to Scotland".

Wales are building an impressive squad and, having previously stated that only England and Ireland of the European nations could win next year's World Cup, I'm beginning to think Wales may feature very prominently as well. But with the more games I'm getting, the more experience I get.

Asked about his own rapid rise to the worldwide scene, he said: "Yeah, it's been a bit up-and-down from the very beginning but I think with the more games we're getting and the more experience I get - It's really helping me out, especially getting my first start here at the Aviva", he added. "It's really helping me with my development".

Dan Leavy, Keith Earls and Chris Farrell all shone brightly as Ireland coped manfully without key injured trio Tadhg Furlong, Iain Henderson and Robbie Henshaw.

The bonus point winmoves Ireland top of the Six Nations table but it was a game in the balance right up until Stockdale's second of the day with the last play. "I'll keep working on it".

"Me and Johnny do a lot of work together, we've played together for quite a while now and there's a good understanding there, but the link we have between forwards and backs, in the first-half especially, our momentum was really good", said the Munster man. With more and more scrums, it's obviously a lot different from the loosehead side.

With England facing Scotland later today, the tantalising possibility of a Grand Slam decider in Twickenham between Ireland and the back-to-back champions remains on. Yet, whereas the Scotland clash on Saturday week represents another step on the road to glory, it is clear that Joe Schmidt's men are just as eager to atone for their first round loss to the Scots in 2017.

Andrew Porter during Ireland rugby squad training at Carton House in Maynooth Co Kildare
Andrew Porter during Ireland rugby squad training at Carton House in Maynooth Co Kildare

Schmidt was sanguine about Gatland's post-match comments on Saturday - and praised the way Wales went about the game.

"When you get young guys in there no matter what the score is they want to carry on and edge us back into the game". Halfpenny made no mistake with the conversion and sprinted back to the halfway line so that the game could restart.

"We can't be looking ahead to a Grand Slam, but that's obviously the ultimate goal".

Ireland head coach Schmidt finally admitted this week that he has expanded his side's style in the intervening two years - and Gatland quipped that he owed the former Leinster boss an apology for prior criticism.

"We owe them one from a year ago", said Porter, of Ireland's loss to Scotland in Edinburgh in 2017.

"I think ultimately we got that bonus point".

Frustration then for Wales, but something to build on when they welcome Italy to Principality Stadium in a fortnight's time in what represents one of the most high-profile women's games the Welsh capital has seen.

"There's no doubt in my mind about Andrew Porter. Great to get 70-odd minutes in the previous game against Italy", explained Lancaster, who was speaking at the 'Aviva Fan Studio' event yesterday.

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