GARETH DUNCAN watched Mike Phillips score a controversial try which proved to be the deciding moment in Wales’ 19-13 win over Ireland in Cardiff on Saturday.
The Wales scrumhalf received a quick line-out throw and darted 35m down the left touchline to score in the corner. However, the replays showed the ball he received was not the same one kicked out into touch, meaning the try should have not been allowed. Referee Jonathan Kaplan asked his assistant Peter Allan to confirm if it was the correct ball, and he wrongfully did. Ireland had the opporunity to score a match-winning try at the death as they only trailed by six points, but the Welsh defence managed to restrict the visitors and held on for a tight win.
It was Ireland who started the game strongly as skipper Brian O’Driscoll latched on to a pass from wing Tommy Bowe to cross the whitewash in the second minute. Flyhalf Ronan O’Gara added the extras before opposite number and Man of the Match James Hook kicked two penalties. O’Gara then traded penalties with wing Leigh Halfpenny for a 13-9 lead at the break.
Midway through the third quarter, Phillips dotted down in the corner for the controversial moment of the encounter and Hook extended Wales’ lead to six points with a conversion and penalty.
Ireland spent most of the closing stages in Wales’ red zone but they couldn’t reach the chalk before the final whistle. The win keeps Wales’ slim Six Nations crown hopes alive as they will have to beat France by a big margin in their last fixture next weekend and will need log leaders England to lose one of their last two games against Scotland or Ireland.