8 Oct 2011

Wales beats Ireland for place in semi-finals

10:51 pm on 8 October 2011

Wales have beaten Ireland 22-10 in Wellington to reach their first Rugby World Cup semi-finals since the inaugural tournament in 1987.

The Welsh scored a total of three tries to one and led 10-3 at halftime in the quarter-final match.

Centre Jonathan Davies scored an opportunistic try with 15 minutes left to help the Welsh win.

Davies' try gave the Welsh a 12 point lead they never relinquished after winger Shane Williams and half back Mike Phillips had scored earlier tries.

First five eighth Rhys Priestland added two conversions and fullback Leigh Halfpenny kicked a mammoth penalty from more than 50 metres.

Winger Keith Earls grabbed an early try in the second half for Ireland, though they failed to capitalise on territory and possession and were constantly knocked over behind the advantage line by Welsh defenders.

Ronan O'Gara added a penalty and conversion for Ireland, who had high hopes of making their first World Cup semi-final but failed to take advantage of a blustery southerly wind in the first half and appeared to lack the focus that had seen them top their pool.

Wales coach Warren Gatland said. "I don't think any other team in the World Cup has worked as hard as we have."

To get his squad in shape for the World Cup, Gatland put his players through a grueling six-month boot camp.

They rose at 0500 to train in bad weather and were made to work and run until they threw up with exhaustion.

"These guys went through some pain, but when you do that, you galvanise as a team," Gatland said.

Ireland's coach Declan Kidney described the dressing room as "very quiet" after the match.

Both he and the team's captain Brian O'Driscoll admitted they had been simply outplayed by a Wales side who took what opportunities they had and constantly drove the Irish back behind the advantage line when defending.

Wales made 141 tackles to Ireland's 93.

"We had high hopes coming into the game and we got outplayed on the day," O'Driscoll said.

"We made too many unforced errors and coughed up some very soft tries and at the business end of World Cup when you get to knockout stage you can't afford to play below par and we did that and paid the price".

Wales will meet France in the semi-finals next weekend.


Wales: Tries: Shane Williams, Mike Phillips, Jonathan Davies. Conversions: Rhys Priestland (2). Penalties: Leigh Halfpenny.

Ireland: Tries: Keith Earls. Conversions: Ronan O'Gara. Penalties: O'Gara.

Referee: Craig Joubert (South Africa)