Rugby: Wales topple Ireland in Six Nations

Wales' George North celebrates a try against Ireland. Photo / Getty
Wales' George North celebrates a try against Ireland. Photo / Getty

George North responded to criticism from his own coaches by scoring two tries for Wales in a 22-9 win over Ireland in the Six Nations on Friday, handing England the chance to clinch the title with a game to spare.

England, on a national-record run of 17 straight victories, will retain the championship by beating Scotland at Twickenham tomorrow.

North, the strapping right winger, crossed in each half under the Principality Stadium roof at the end of a week when he was given a "warning" by the Welsh management for a poor defensive display in the recent loss to Scotland.

His second try, in the 44th minute when Ireland flyhalf Jonathan Sexton was in the sin-bin, put Wales 15-6 ahead but the Irish dominated the final half-hour as they sought to keep alive realistic hopes of winning the title.

A penalty from Sexton brought Ireland within a converted try but backs-to-the-wall defense kept Wales ahead, and replacement Jamie Roberts collected his own charge-down to clinch victory with a 79th-minute try.

Wales rebounded from two straight losses that led to soul-searching in the country's national sport.

As for the Irish, they stayed in second place - three points behind England and a point ahead of Scotland.

Ireland conceded 10 points while Sexton was in the bin for killing the ball on his own try-line just before halftime. The flyhalf also went off with a head injury midway through the first half.

- AP

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