Classy Ireland too strong for Wales

first_imgRampant Ireland will go for the Triple Crown against England at Twickenham in two weeks’ time after leaving Welsh hopes of achieving an unprecedented RBS 6 Nations title hat-trick hanging by a thread. Ireland’s emphatic 26-3 success leaves them with a 100 per cent record after two games, and Wales could have no complaints after being horribly outclassed in every key department. Flanker Chris Henry’s first-half try, plus 14 points from the boot of Jonathan Sexton and a late Paddy Jackson touchdown that he also converted, meant midfield talisman Brian O’Driscoll could enjoy a sweet victory against Warren Gatland-coached Wales. Press Association Williams’ exit meant wing George North was switched into midfield – the centre position he filled to great effect when Northampton stunned Heineken Cup rivals Leinster at the same ground in December – with Liam Williams going on as a replacement. Ireland enjoyed the better of the close-quarter exchanges, with O’Mahony prominent, and wing Andrew Trimble almost broke the try deadlock 12 minutes before half-time through a weaving run that Wales frantically, but successfully, defended. The action was fast and furious, yet Wales’ set-piece struggles had to have an impact at some stage, and Ireland duly punished them through a 32nd-minute try. Lock Devin Toner won a close-range lineout, and an irresistable drive ended with Henry claiming his first Test try. Sexton added the conversion, and Wales found themselves in a considerable state of strife, desperately needing half-time to arrive so they could regroup. There was no sign of Ireland letting up, though, as they continued to win most 50-50 scraps for the ball, leaving Wales facing an uphill second half struggle against a side that were the only team to defeat them in last season’s Six Nations. Sexton got the second half scoreboard moving through an angled penalty, leaving Wales 16 points adrift and in dire need of inspiration as they faced a first Six Nations away defeat since March 2011. Munster forward O’Mahony continued to be the game’s dominant figure, outplaying Wales and Lions captain Sam Warburton at the breakdown, and Ireland’s forwards followed his stirring example. Halfpenny opened Wales’ account with his first shot at goal after 56 minutes, yet that was quickly cancelled out through another Sexton strike which ensured Ireland maintained a comfortable advantage entering the final quarter. Wales, traditionally strong finishers, rallied as the clock ticked down, and substitute prop Rhodri Jones went close to scoring before Ireland gained a penalty and cleared the danger. Ireland then spent closing the stages in Wales’ half, their job done as they confirmed outstanding Six Nations title credentials with Jackson’s converted 79th-minute touchdown. It was seven months ago that 2013 British and Irish Lions boss Gatland controversially dropped O’Driscoll for a Test series decider against Australia in Sydney. The Lions won 41-16, but there was no dream script for Gatland this time. His ineffective team never threatened Irish dominance, with Leigh Halfpenny’s second-half penalty their only scoring contribution on an afternoon when the Irish forwards built an imposing victory platform. Wales, despite fielding several of Gatland’s Test Lions, showed poor technical discipline and they had no answer to Ireland’s workaholic flanker Peter O’Mahony, who emphatically bossed the breakdown. Ireland’s control probably deserved an even bigger margin of victory, and there is no doubt that new coach Joe Schmidt has already made his mark with players who look refreshed and reinvigorated. But while England now stand between Ireland and a Triple Crown, it is back to the drawing board for Wales ahead of hosting France in 13 days’ time, when a win would keep them in the title mix, but a loss leaving them staring at mid-table mediocrity. Wales suffered an immediate injury scare when prop Gethin Jenkins, recalled to the team for his 102nd cap, needed treatment inside two minutes, but the visitors soon settled and shaded early possession. Ireland, though, went ahead through an eighth-minute Sexton penalty as the breakdown area lived up to expectations with both teams contesting it fiercely, but it proved just as physical in midfield, with O’Driscoll laid low by a crunching Scott Williams tackle. A winded O’Driscoll resumed following a short delay, yet Williams was not so fortunate, departing after 17 minutes with shoulder trouble just before Sexton kicked his second penalty for a 6-0 advantage. last_img read more

Copa Del Rey Watch: Madrid Survive Fuenlabrada Scare; Leganes And Malaga Experience Contrasting Fortunes

first_imgReal Madrid have qualified for the Round of 16 but they had to do it the hard way after the European champions suffered a scare against Segunda B side Fuenlabrada in their Spanish Copa Del Rey last 32 second leg clash.The visitors took a 1-0 first half lead courtesy Luis Milla’s strike to pull the aggregate score back to 2-1 as goals from Marco Asensio (penalty) and Lucas Vazquez (penalty) had earlier given Real Madrid a 2-0 lead in the first leg.Fuenlabrada held on till the 63rd minute before two Borja Mayoral goals in seven minutes gave a second string Madrid team a 2-1 lead on the night however the lowly team didn’t go down without a fight and they deservedly equalised through Portilla to earn a respectable 2-2 draw against their continental city rivals at the Estadio Santiago Bernebeu on Tuesday and a 4-2 aggregate loss over two legs.The other two Spanish La Liga sides in action on Tuesday, Leganes and Malaga, experienced contrasting fortunes after respective aggregate scoreline against lower oppositions.Leganes defeated Real Valladolid 1-0 at home courtesy Tito’s 34th minute strike to secure a 3-1 aggregate win thereby qualifying for the Round of 16.Malaga, on the other hand, have been eliminated after they drew 1-1 with Numancia at home to fall to a 3-2 aggregate loss to their less fancied opponents.RelatedSpanish Copa Del Rey Latest: Vazquez Double Takes Madrid Into Quarters; Leganes And Alaves Are Also ThroughJanuary 11, 2018In “Europe”Lowly Leganes Stun Real Madrid Out Of Copa Del ReyJanuary 25, 2018In “Europe”Copa Del Rey Recap: Sevilla Beat Giantkillers Leganes To Book Final SpotFebruary 8, 2018In “Europe”last_img read more

Peace River once again unfriendly hosts to Huskies

first_imgMcLean’s performance earned him the third star of the game honour.Fort St. John will have to wipe Friday’s trip to Peace River from their memory, and focus on their next task, a Saturday evening home game against the NWJHL’s last place team, the Beaverlodge Blades.  Tonight’s game at the North Peace Arena begins at 8 p.m. It was a tough start for the Huskies, who spent the first five minutes of the game pinned in their own zone, thanks to a heavy Navigators forecheck. Luckily, Fort St. John starting goaltender Travis McLean was up to the challenge, stopping numerous point blank shots, keeping the Navigators from building a quick lead.As the Navigators attack continued, the home team eventually slipped on past McLean at 7:44, with Brenden Szmata opening the scoring for the Navs.However, roughly after the ten minute mark of the first, the momentum began to shift as the Huskies started to build steam following a few good shifts. The effort paid off, as at 15:02, Kyle Norris scored on a nice shot low blocker from just inside the left face-off circle, beating a very talented North Peace goaltender, Patrick Earle.  – Advertisement -The second period began with the game tied at 1-1, but unfortunately, only one of the teams produced any offense for the remainder of the game.The North Peace Navigators scored twice in the second, and four times in the third, to conclude the game with the scoreboard reading 7-1 in favour of the Navs.It was a tough for the Huskies, who entered Peace River with only 13 skaters for the evening game and credit must be given to Huskies netminder Travis McLean, who faced 48 shots Friday, compared to the 21 the Huskies fired at Navigators Patrick Earle.Advertisementlast_img read more

Manchester United captain Wayne Rooney happy to be main marksman

first_img1 Wayne Rooney Wayne Rooney has no problem being Manchester United’s main striker next season.Rooney spent a large chunk of last season in midfield, but manager Louis van Gaal has told the 29-year-old he will be playing up front next term – Robin van Persie and Radamel Falcao have both left the club.The United captain scored 15 goals last season and insists he is not fazed by the prospect of having to match or better that tally next year.“It is a position where I think I can score goals,” Rooney said.“Hopefully I can do that. I am ready to take that mantle on and be the one who gets the goals for us.”Van Gaal endured a difficult start to his reign last season, picking up just 13 points from his first 10 matches.But the Dutchman guided United back into the Champions League and Rooney believes Van Gaal’s “philosophy” has sunk into the players’ minds and that will help United challenge for the title next season.“At the beginning of last season the manager told us it would take a while to adapt to the changes,” added the England skipper.“As a group of players you don’t think it will, but towards the end of the season, from Christmas, I felt we played some great football, understood exactly what the manager wanted from us and particularly in the big games we did really well.“We can take that as positives.“It was the games we expected to win where we disappointed ourselves. We know what is expected of us and what we have to do and are positive and excited for the season.”last_img read more