Ireland U20s Six Nations hopes dealt a blow against the Welsh

Ireland's Six Nations championship dream is over for another year after Wales won this evening's encounter in Cardiff 22-9.

Berated for the poverty of their performance in Murrayfield two weeks ago, Rob Howley's players knew what was on the line.

"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.

They had lost their previous Six Nations clashes against Scotland and England and were in danger of slipping down the rankings but Howley said they had been determined not to make it three defeats in a row.

Jonny Sexton returned from injury to play against the French and, after a slow start, marshalled the game well.

The hosts came into the game on the back of a mixed bag of a Six Nations campaign to date, but they played like a team with a point to prove for the first 40 minutes.

"There was a lot to take from this performance against a very good Wales side and we were very close to taking the lead with 10 minutes to go that would have forced them to chase the game".

"It was disappointing, and I was just thankful to get a chance (against Ireland) to put it right and get back into some form".

"Wales played really well - their set-piece and defence was strong, and they attacked well - and we weren't accurate enough".

He said: "We're bitterly disappointed to come away from here without the win, but now we're all looking forward to getting home and delivering a performance in-front of our home fans".

North's try double was the sixth time he has achieved that feat in his 68-cap Test career as Wales claimed a biggest victory over Ireland since 1983, while it also made a major statement to British and Irish Lions head coach Warren Gatland ahead of New Zealand tour selection next month. The last two weeks have been hard - we haven't played out best, certainly against England and Scotland. Little offloads, discipline, those sorts of things throughout the 80 minutes that we could control, and we did that today.

The game kicked off at 6.30 p.m. and Ireland quickly fell 3-0 behind.

Ireland captain Rory Best spoke of the "silly little mental errors" that cost the team - a second-half knock-on by prop Tadhg Furlong with the line in sight, a botched catch-and-drive from a lineout just when Wales was hanging on, that late driving maul that Henshaw needlessly interfered with.

"You don't become a bad team overnight".

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