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North double ends Ireland's Six Nations hopes

North double ends Ireland's Six Nations hopes

Howley said his side could have tried to hide after the last two defeats but instead they stood up to be counted.

"We felt it was important the same group of players had the opportunity to go out and perform on Friday, so we have named an unchanged matchday squad", said Howley.

"Wales were matching us, and slowly but surely the Welsh started to get on top of the game".

A yellow card for Peat allowed Wales get a grip of the game and a try from Shona Powell-Hughes tied it up at 7-7.

If Wales lose on Friday it will be the first time since 2007 that they have suffered three successive defeats in one Six Nations campaign, and damages their hopes of being second seeds for May's 2019 World Cup draw.

Wales failed to score a point in the second half in Scotland and managed only three against England.

But Ireland coach Schmidt insisted his team would not be targeting the giant Northampton flyer.

Irish out-half Bill Johnston landed a pair of penalties towards the end of the first period to cut the gap to only four points, before Williams went over for Wales' third try to make it 24-13 at the break.

However, Ireland dug deep and engineered an unconverted try from Hannah Tyrrell that proved to be a match victor.

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However, some Irish fans had no issue with Barnes' decision.

'For me, I am just happy to be back playing with a bit of confidence and a bit of form now, and hopefully we can carry it forward into France, individually and as a team.

It will be interesting to see if they opt for more of the same if awarded a penalty inside Johnny Sexton's range during the opening stages in Cardiff.

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 ended New Zealand's 18-game winning run in Chicago and the English could be on the same streak when they arrive in Dublin.

Ireland started brightly and were unlucky not to have a try when CJ Standar was just held short of the line.

Webb broke into midfield and found Halfpenny with a long pass, the Toulon full-back fed North who stepped inside Keith Earls and rode Zebo's tackle for a fine try.

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.


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