Leigh Halfpenny kicked a 79th-minute penalty to give Wales a 23-21 win against Ireland in the opening round of matches in rugby’s Six Nations.
“It was end-to-end stuff and an exciting game and all credit to Ireland,” Halfpenny told the British Broadcasting Corp. “They came out and gave us a tough game. I’m really pleased to have been part of the game.”
Ireland’s Stephen Ferris had been yellow-carded for a dangerous tackle to give Halfpenny the opportunity to snatch the win in Dublin. Halfpenny had been unable to score from a difficult conversion chance two minutes earlier.
Wales, which beat Ireland in the quarterfinals of the World Cup last year, trailed 10-5 at halftime and had to play 10 minutes of the second half with 14 men after Bradley Davies was sent to the sin-bin.
Jonathan Davies got a try in each half, while George North crossed in the corner late on to bring the visitors within a point of Ireland. Halfpenny finished with eight points.
Rory Best and Tommy Bowe were the try scorers for Ireland, with Jonathan Sexton kicking 11 points. It was Ireland’s first loss at home to Wales since 2008.
Yesterday, defending champion England beat Scotland 13-6 and France defeated Italy 30-12.
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