Ireland were deservedly defeated on home soil by Wales on 29 August, as the Welsh raced to a 16-10 victory at the Aviva Stadium, in what was a great chance for both sides to get some vital match practice in before the start of the Rugby Union World Cup.
Fullback Leigh Halfpenny smashed home three penalties, before converting home following a first half try from Justin Tipuric. That was enough to send the Welsh into the World Cup on the back of an impressive win, and performance to match.
There was worry for Ireland coach Joe Schmidt as he saw Keith Earls taken off on a stretcher in the second period following a head injury. But since then, Schmidt gave an update that the Irish fans would have hoped for.
“Keith just got caught with his head on the wrong side of the tackle,” said Schmidt.
“He was totally lucid in the changing rooms and remembered his involvements in the game. Those are promising signs and he will follow the concussion protocols.”
The match would be a chance for Ireland to get to send off Paul O’Connell in front of their own fans, as he played his final home match for the team. And he was so nearly part of the team’s almost perfect finish. Sean Cronin crossed with just seconds remaining, but found himself held up by the posts to deny him and his team.
Sports bookmaker Coral penned their thoughts ahead of the match, and had predicted that a short victory would be likely, and they weren’t far wrong. The experts at Coral had predicted an Ireland win by 1-5 points, with odds offered at 4/1.
Coral will be expecting plenty of pre-tournament bets on punters trying to predict the eventual winners of the 2015 Rugby World Cup.
Following the match, Wales announced their 31-man squad who will make the short journey to England for the Rugby World Cup.
Gareth Anscombe has found himself not selected after he suffered an ankle injury in training. Taking his place is Matthew Morgan, who is one of three fly halves in the squad along with Dan Biggar and Rhys Priestland.
Wales coach Warren Gatland admitted hard decisions have had to be made when it comes to his squad selection:
“It’s hard but you have to accept that’s the nature of sport.”
The World Cup kicks off in England on Friday September 18th, as the hosts take on Fiji at Twickenham.