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Ireland captain Rory Best: We can still charge ahead in Six Nations

By Jonathan Bradley

Published 08/02/2016

On the run: Rory Best tries makes strides for Ireland in the draw against Wales
On the run: Rory Best tries makes strides for Ireland in the draw against Wales
Rory Best with the Ireland mascots
DUBLIN, IRELAND - FEBRUARY 07: George North of Wales looks on during the RBS Six Nations match between Ireland and Wales at the Aviva Stadium on February 7, 2016 in Dublin, Ireland. (Photo by David Rogers/Getty Images)
DUBLIN, IRELAND - FEBRUARY 07: Devin Toner of Ireland is tackled by Samson Lee and Gethin Jenkins of Wales during the RBS Six Nations match between Ireland and Wales at the Aviva Stadium at Aviva Stadium on February 7, 2016 in Dublin, Ireland. (Photo by Stu Forster/Getty Images)
DUBLIN, IRELAND - FEBRUARY 07: Devin Toner of Ireland is tackled by Samson Lee and Gethin Jenkins of Wales during the RBS Six Nations match between Ireland and Wales at the Aviva Stadium at Aviva Stadium on February 7, 2016 in Dublin, Ireland. (Photo by Stu Forster/Getty Images)
DUBLIN, IRELAND - FEBRUARY 07: Devin Toner of Ireland wins lineout ball under pressure from Alun Wyn Jones of Wales during the RBS Six Nations match between Ireland and Wales at the Aviva Stadium on February 7, 2016 in Dublin, Ireland. (Photo by David Rogers/Getty Images)
DUBLIN, IRELAND - FEBRUARY 07: Andrew Trimble of Ireland (l) and Liam Williams of Wales battle for the ball during the RBS Six Nations match between Ireland and Wales at the Aviva Stadium at Aviva Stadium on February 7, 2016 in Dublin, Ireland. (Photo by Stu Forster/Getty Images)
DUBLIN, IRELAND - FEBRUARY 07: Rhys Priestland of Wales kicks a penalty during the RBS Six Nations match between Ireland and Wales at the Aviva Stadium at Aviva Stadium on February 7, 2016 in Dublin, Ireland. (Photo by Stu Forster/Getty Images)
DUBLIN, IRELAND - FEBRUARY 07: Devin Toner of Ireland wins lineout ball under pressure from Alun Wyn Jones of Wales during the RBS Six Nations match between Ireland and Wales at the Aviva Stadium at Aviva Stadium on February 7, 2016 in Dublin, Ireland. (Photo by Stu Forster/Getty Images)
Ireland's Jonathan Sexton prepares to kick a penalty during the 2016 RBS Six Nations match at the Aviva Stadium, Dublin. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Picture date: Sunday February 7, 2016. See PA story RUGBYU Ireland. Photo credit should read: Brian Lawless/PA Wire. RESTRICTIONS APPLY: Editorial use only. No commercial or promotional use without prior consent from IRFU. No alterations or doctoring. For further information please call +44 (0)115 8447447.
Ireland's Jonathan Sexton kicks a penalty during the 2016 RBS Six Nations match at the Aviva Stadium, Dublin. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Picture date: Sunday February 7, 2016. See PA story RUGBYU Ireland. Photo credit should read: Brian Lawless/PA Wire. RESTRICTIONS APPLY: Editorial use only. No commercial or promotional use without prior consent from IRFU. No alterations or doctoring. For further information please call +44 (0)115 8447447.
Ireland's Dave Kearney (left) and Wales' George North compete for a high ball during the 2016 RBS Six Nations match at the Aviva Stadium, Dublin. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Picture date: Sunday February 7, 2016. See PA story RUGBYU Ireland. Photo credit should read: Brian Lawless/PA Wire. RESTRICTIONS APPLY: Editorial use only. No commercial or promotional use without prior consent from IRFU. No alterations or doctoring. For further information please call +44 (0)115 8447447.
DUBLIN, IRELAND - FEBRUARY 07: George North of Wales is tackled by Ian Madigan (l) and Robbie Henshaw of Ireland during the RBS Six Nations match between Ireland and Wales at the Aviva Stadium at Aviva Stadium on February 7, 2016 in Dublin, Ireland. (Photo by Stu Forster/Getty Images)
Wales' Lloyd Williams (L) passes the ball during the Six Nations international rugby union match between Ireland and Wales at the Aviva Stadium in Dublin, Ireland, on February 7, 2016. / AFP / PAUL FAITHPAUL FAITH/AFP/Getty Images
Wales' Lloyd Williams passes the ball during the Six Nations international rugby union match between Ireland and Wales at the Aviva Stadium in Dublin, Ireland, on February 7, 2016. / AFP / PAUL FAITHPAUL FAITH/AFP/Getty Images
DUBLIN, IRELAND - FEBRUARY 07: Jonathan Sexton of Ireland in action during the RBS Six Nations match between Ireland and Wales at the Aviva Stadium at Aviva Stadium on February 7, 2016 in Dublin, Ireland. (Photo by Stu Forster/Getty Images)
DUBLIN, IRELAND - FEBRUARY 07: Simon Zebo of Ireland breaks through the tackles from Jamie Roberts and Alun Wyn Jones of Wales during the RBS Six Nations match between Ireland and Wales at the Aviva Stadium on February 7, 2016 in Dublin, Ireland. (Photo by David Rogers/Getty Images)
DUBLIN, IRELAND - FEBRUARY 07: Tom James of Wales in action during the RBS Six Nations match between Ireland and Wales at the Aviva Stadium at Aviva Stadium on February 7, 2016 in Dublin, Ireland. (Photo by Stu Forster/Getty Images)
Ireland's prop Jack McGrath (L) tackles Wales' Bradley Davies during the Six Nations international rugby union match between Ireland and Wales at the Aviva Stadium in Dublin, Ireland, on February 7, 2016. / AFP / PAUL FAITHPAUL FAITH/AFP/Getty Images
DUBLIN, IRELAND - FEBRUARY 07: Jonathan Sexton of Ireland in action during the RBS Six Nations match between Ireland and Wales at the Aviva Stadium at Aviva Stadium on February 7, 2016 in Dublin, Ireland. (Photo by Stu Forster/Getty Images)
DUBLIN, IRELAND - FEBRUARY 07: Simon Zebo of Ireland takes on Jonathan Davies of Wales during the RBS Six Nations match between Ireland and Wales at the Aviva Stadium on February 7, 2016 in Dublin, Ireland. (Photo by David Rogers/Getty Images)
DUBLIN, IRELAND - FEBRUARY 07: Jonathan Sexton of Ireland in action during the RBS Six Nations match between Ireland and Wales at the Aviva Stadium at Aviva Stadium on February 7, 2016 in Dublin, Ireland. (Photo by Stu Forster/Getty Images)
DUBLIN, IRELAND - FEBRUARY 07: Andrew Trimble of Ireland looks to pass as George North of Wales closes in during the RBS Six Nations match between Ireland and Wales at the Aviva Stadium on February 7, 2016 in Dublin, Ireland. (Photo by David Rogers/Getty Images)

It is unlikely that any of the possible scenarios Rory Best thought up ahead of his first Test since succeeding Paul O'Connell as captain saw the game end in a draw, but the hooker admitted that his side were happy to see their Six Nations opener conclude with honours even against Wales yesterday.

The 33-year-old became the first Ulsterman since Paddy Johns in the 1990s to lead Ireland on a permanent basis when he was announced as O'Connell's successor and his reign got off to the best possible start with the hosts racing into a 13-point lead at the Aviva Stadium after just under half an hour.

They were pegged back though, and trailed in the final 10 minutes when Rhys Priestland knocked over the third penalty of his substitute appearance, only for Jonathan Sexton to ensure that Ireland avoided opening their title defence with a defeat thanks to a shot at the posts of his own in the dying minutes to seal a 16-16 draw.

Often seen as an unsatisfactory outcome for both sides in such a short championship, Best described himself as "reasonably happy" with the result.

"I think it's a strange result. Usually no one is happy with a draw but at 16-13 you look at the Welsh defence and we're probably reasonably happy with the draw," said Best who made way for Sean Cronin after 75 minutes.

"For us, it's about concentrating on bits of the performance we're very happy with and then there are bits we know we can do better.

"One thing we talked about and wanted to concentrate on was our start. I think we started very, very well.

"The flip side of that is we're obviously disappointed with the last 10 minutes of that (first) half. We let them back in when we had a good firm hold of things.

"A draw keeps us in it, keeps us in the championship and it's a lot better than a loss."

While the defence from Joe Schmidt's side was admirable, especially in the absence of a specialised coach after Les Kiss departed for Ulster following the World Cup, there was one prominent area of concern - the scrum.

Ireland's Jonathan Sexton leaves the field after being substituted during the 2016 RBS Six Nations match at the Aviva Stadium, Dublin against Dublin.
Ireland's Jonathan Sexton leaves the field after being substituted during the 2016 RBS Six Nations match at the Aviva Stadium, Dublin against Dublin.
Ireland's full back Simon Zebo (L) is tackled by Wales' centre Jamie Roberts during the Six Nations international rugby union match between Ireland and Wales at the Aviva Stadium in Dublin, Ireland, on February 7, 2016. / AFP / PAUL FAITHPAUL FAITH/AFP/Getty Images
Ireland's Sean Cronin (C) is tackled during the Six Nations international rugby union match between Ireland and Wales at the Aviva Stadium in Dublin, Ireland, on February 7, 2016. / AFP / PAUL FAITHPAUL FAITH/AFP/Getty Images
DUBLIN, IRELAND - FEBRUARY 07: Gareth Davies of Wales passes the ball during the RBS Six Nations match between Ireland and Wales at the Aviva Stadium on February 7, 2016 in Dublin, Ireland. (Photo by David Rogers/Getty Images)
DUBLIN, IRELAND - FEBRUARY 07: Tom James of Wales is tackled by Keith Earls and Jared Payne of Ireland during the RBS Six Nations match between Ireland and Wales at the Aviva Stadium on February 7, 2016 in Dublin, Ireland. (Photo by David Rogers/Getty Images)
DUBLIN, IRELAND - FEBRUARY 07: Tom James of Wales is tackled by Keith Earls and Jared Payne of Ireland during the RBS Six Nations match between Ireland and Wales at the Aviva Stadium on February 7, 2016 in Dublin, Ireland. (Photo by David Rogers/Getty Images)
DUBLIN, IRELAND - FEBRUARY 07: Tom James of Wales is tackled by Keith Earls and Jared Payne of Ireland during the RBS Six Nations match between Ireland and Wales at the Aviva Stadium on February 7, 2016 in Dublin, Ireland. (Photo by David Rogers/Getty Images)
DUBLIN, IRELAND - FEBRUARY 07: Rhys Priestland of Wales kicks at goal during the RBS Six Nations match between Ireland and Wales at the Aviva Stadium on February 7, 2016 in Dublin, Ireland. (Photo by Stu Forster/Getty Images)
DUBLIN, IRELAND - FEBRUARY 07: George North of Wales is tackled by Ian Madigan and Robbie Henshaw of Ireland during the RBS Six Nations match between Ireland and Wales at the Aviva Stadium on February 7, 2016 in Dublin, Ireland. (Photo by Stu Forster/Getty Images)
DUBLIN, IRELAND - FEBRUARY 07: George North of Wales charges upfield during the RBS Six Nations match between Ireland and Wales at the Aviva Stadium on February 7, 2016 in Dublin, Ireland. (Photo by Stu Forster/Getty Images)
DUBLIN, IRELAND - FEBRUARY 07: Joe Schmidt the head coach of Ireland watches over his team's pre match warm up during the RBS Six Nations match between Ireland and Wales at the Aviva Stadium on February 7, 2016 in Dublin, Ireland. (Photo by David Rogers/Getty Images)
DUBLIN, IRELAND - FEBRUARY 07: Joe Schmidt the head coach of Ireland watches over his team's pre match warm up during the RBS Six Nations match between Ireland and Wales at the Aviva Stadium on February 7, 2016 in Dublin, Ireland. (Photo by David Rogers/Getty Images)
DUBLIN, IRELAND - FEBRUARY 07: Jonathan Sexton of Ireland is tackled by Alun Wyn Jones and Rob Evans of Wales during the RBS Six Nations match between Ireland and Wales at the Aviva Stadium on February 7, 2016 in Dublin, Ireland. (Photo by David Rogers/Getty Images)
DUBLIN, IRELAND - FEBRUARY 07: Joe Schmidt the head coach of Ireland watches over his team's pre match warm up during the RBS Six Nations match between Ireland and Wales at the Aviva Stadium on February 7, 2016 in Dublin, Ireland. (Photo by David Rogers/Getty Images)
DUBLIN, IRELAND - FEBRUARY 07: Liam Williams of Wales makes a break during the RBS Six Nations match between Ireland and Wales at the Aviva Stadium on February 7, 2016 in Dublin, Ireland. (Photo by David Rogers/Getty Images)
DUBLIN, IRELAND - FEBRUARY 07: Conor Murray of Ireland passes the ball during the RBS Six Nations match between Ireland and Wales at the Aviva Stadium on February 7, 2016 in Dublin, Ireland. (Photo by David Rogers/Getty Images)
DUBLIN, IRELAND - FEBRUARY 07: Gareth Davies of Wales passes the ball during the RBS Six Nations match between Ireland and Wales at the Aviva Stadium on February 7, 2016 in Dublin, Ireland. (Photo by David Rogers/Getty Images)
DUBLIN, IRELAND - FEBRUARY 07: Jonathan Davies of Wales is challenged by Jonathan Sexton of Ireland during the RBS Six Nations match between Ireland and Wales at the Aviva Stadium on February 7, 2016 in Dublin, Ireland. (Photo by David Rogers/Getty Images)
DUBLIN, IRELAND - FEBRUARY 07: Rhys Priestland of Wales clears the ball during the RBS Six Nations match between Ireland and Wales at the Aviva Stadium on February 7, 2016 in Dublin, Ireland. (Photo by David Rogers/Getty Images)
DUBLIN, IRELAND - FEBRUARY 07: Jamie Heaslip of Ireland charges upfield during the RBS Six Nations match between Ireland and Wales at the Aviva Stadium on February 7, 2016 in Dublin, Ireland. (Photo by David Rogers/Getty Images)
DUBLIN, IRELAND - FEBRUARY 07: George North of Wales looks on during the RBS Six Nations match between Ireland and Wales at the Aviva Stadium on February 7, 2016 in Dublin, Ireland. (Photo by David Rogers/Getty Images)
DUBLIN, IRELAND - FEBRUARY 07: Devin Toner of Ireland is tackled by Samson Lee and Gethin Jenkins of Wales during the RBS Six Nations match between Ireland and Wales at the Aviva Stadium at Aviva Stadium on February 7, 2016 in Dublin, Ireland. (Photo by Stu Forster/Getty Images)
DUBLIN, IRELAND - FEBRUARY 07: Devin Toner of Ireland is tackled by Samson Lee and Gethin Jenkins of Wales during the RBS Six Nations match between Ireland and Wales at the Aviva Stadium at Aviva Stadium on February 7, 2016 in Dublin, Ireland. (Photo by Stu Forster/Getty Images)
DUBLIN, IRELAND - FEBRUARY 07: Devin Toner of Ireland wins lineout ball under pressure from Alun Wyn Jones of Wales during the RBS Six Nations match between Ireland and Wales at the Aviva Stadium on February 7, 2016 in Dublin, Ireland. (Photo by David Rogers/Getty Images)
DUBLIN, IRELAND - FEBRUARY 07: Andrew Trimble of Ireland (l) and Liam Williams of Wales battle for the ball during the RBS Six Nations match between Ireland and Wales at the Aviva Stadium at Aviva Stadium on February 7, 2016 in Dublin, Ireland. (Photo by Stu Forster/Getty Images)
DUBLIN, IRELAND - FEBRUARY 07: Rhys Priestland of Wales kicks a penalty during the RBS Six Nations match between Ireland and Wales at the Aviva Stadium at Aviva Stadium on February 7, 2016 in Dublin, Ireland. (Photo by Stu Forster/Getty Images)
DUBLIN, IRELAND - FEBRUARY 07: Devin Toner of Ireland wins lineout ball under pressure from Alun Wyn Jones of Wales during the RBS Six Nations match between Ireland and Wales at the Aviva Stadium at Aviva Stadium on February 7, 2016 in Dublin, Ireland. (Photo by Stu Forster/Getty Images)
Ireland's Jonathan Sexton prepares to kick a penalty during the 2016 RBS Six Nations match at the Aviva Stadium, Dublin. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Picture date: Sunday February 7, 2016. See PA story RUGBYU Ireland. Photo credit should read: Brian Lawless/PA Wire. RESTRICTIONS APPLY: Editorial use only. No commercial or promotional use without prior consent from IRFU. No alterations or doctoring. For further information please call +44 (0)115 8447447.
Ireland's Jonathan Sexton kicks a penalty during the 2016 RBS Six Nations match at the Aviva Stadium, Dublin. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Picture date: Sunday February 7, 2016. See PA story RUGBYU Ireland. Photo credit should read: Brian Lawless/PA Wire. RESTRICTIONS APPLY: Editorial use only. No commercial or promotional use without prior consent from IRFU. No alterations or doctoring. For further information please call +44 (0)115 8447447.
Ireland's Dave Kearney (left) and Wales' George North compete for a high ball during the 2016 RBS Six Nations match at the Aviva Stadium, Dublin. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Picture date: Sunday February 7, 2016. See PA story RUGBYU Ireland. Photo credit should read: Brian Lawless/PA Wire. RESTRICTIONS APPLY: Editorial use only. No commercial or promotional use without prior consent from IRFU. No alterations or doctoring. For further information please call +44 (0)115 8447447.
DUBLIN, IRELAND - FEBRUARY 07: George North of Wales is tackled by Ian Madigan (l) and Robbie Henshaw of Ireland during the RBS Six Nations match between Ireland and Wales at the Aviva Stadium at Aviva Stadium on February 7, 2016 in Dublin, Ireland. (Photo by Stu Forster/Getty Images)
Wales' Lloyd Williams (L) passes the ball during the Six Nations international rugby union match between Ireland and Wales at the Aviva Stadium in Dublin, Ireland, on February 7, 2016. / AFP / PAUL FAITHPAUL FAITH/AFP/Getty Images
Wales' Lloyd Williams passes the ball during the Six Nations international rugby union match between Ireland and Wales at the Aviva Stadium in Dublin, Ireland, on February 7, 2016. / AFP / PAUL FAITHPAUL FAITH/AFP/Getty Images
DUBLIN, IRELAND - FEBRUARY 07: Jonathan Sexton of Ireland in action during the RBS Six Nations match between Ireland and Wales at the Aviva Stadium at Aviva Stadium on February 7, 2016 in Dublin, Ireland. (Photo by Stu Forster/Getty Images)
DUBLIN, IRELAND - FEBRUARY 07: Simon Zebo of Ireland breaks through the tackles from Jamie Roberts and Alun Wyn Jones of Wales during the RBS Six Nations match between Ireland and Wales at the Aviva Stadium on February 7, 2016 in Dublin, Ireland. (Photo by David Rogers/Getty Images)
DUBLIN, IRELAND - FEBRUARY 07: Tom James of Wales in action during the RBS Six Nations match between Ireland and Wales at the Aviva Stadium at Aviva Stadium on February 7, 2016 in Dublin, Ireland. (Photo by Stu Forster/Getty Images)
Ireland's prop Jack McGrath (L) tackles Wales' Bradley Davies during the Six Nations international rugby union match between Ireland and Wales at the Aviva Stadium in Dublin, Ireland, on February 7, 2016. / AFP / PAUL FAITHPAUL FAITH/AFP/Getty Images
DUBLIN, IRELAND - FEBRUARY 07: Jonathan Sexton of Ireland in action during the RBS Six Nations match between Ireland and Wales at the Aviva Stadium at Aviva Stadium on February 7, 2016 in Dublin, Ireland. (Photo by Stu Forster/Getty Images)
DUBLIN, IRELAND - FEBRUARY 07: Simon Zebo of Ireland takes on Jonathan Davies of Wales during the RBS Six Nations match between Ireland and Wales at the Aviva Stadium on February 7, 2016 in Dublin, Ireland. (Photo by David Rogers/Getty Images)
DUBLIN, IRELAND - FEBRUARY 07: Jonathan Sexton of Ireland in action during the RBS Six Nations match between Ireland and Wales at the Aviva Stadium at Aviva Stadium on February 7, 2016 in Dublin, Ireland. (Photo by Stu Forster/Getty Images)
DUBLIN, IRELAND - FEBRUARY 07: Andrew Trimble of Ireland looks to pass as George North of Wales closes in during the RBS Six Nations match between Ireland and Wales at the Aviva Stadium on February 7, 2016 in Dublin, Ireland. (Photo by David Rogers/Getty Images)
DUBLIN, IRELAND - FEBRUARY 07: George North of Wales in action during the RBS Six Nations match between Ireland and Wales at the Aviva Stadium at Aviva Stadium on February 7, 2016 in Dublin, Ireland. (Photo by Stu Forster/Getty Images)
DUBLIN, IRELAND - FEBRUARY 07: George North of Wales in action during the RBS Six Nations match between Ireland and Wales at the Aviva Stadium at Aviva Stadium on February 7, 2016 in Dublin, Ireland. (Photo by Stu Forster/Getty Images)
Ireland's full back Simon Zebo (C) is tackled by Wales' centre Jonathan Davies (R) during the Six Nations international rugby union match between Ireland and Wales at the Aviva Stadium in Dublin, Ireland, on February 7, 2016. / AFP / PAUL FAITHPAUL FAITH/AFP/Getty Images
DUBLIN, IRELAND - FEBRUARY 07: George North of Wales in action during the RBS Six Nations match between Ireland and Wales at the Aviva Stadium at Aviva Stadium on February 7, 2016 in Dublin, Ireland. (Photo by Stu Forster/Getty Images)
DUBLIN, IRELAND - FEBRUARY 07: (EDITOR'S NOTE: Image was created as an Equirectangular Panorama. Import image into a panoramic player to create an interactive 360 degree view.) The teams enter the arena ahead of the RBS Six Nations match between Ireland and Wales at the Aviva Stadium on February 7, 2016 in Dublin, Ireland. (Photo by David Rogers/Getty Images)
DUBLIN, IRELAND - FEBRUARY 07: (EDITOR'S NOTE: Image was created as an Equirectangular Panorama. Import image into a panoramic player to create an interactive 360 degree view.) The teams line up ahead of the RBS Six Nations match between Ireland and Wales at the Aviva Stadium on February 7, 2016 in Dublin, Ireland. (Photo by David Rogers/Getty Images)
DUBLIN, IRELAND - FEBRUARY 07: Devin Toner of Ireland wins lineout ball under pressure from Alun Wyn Jones of Wales during the RBS Six Nations match between Ireland and Wales at the Aviva Stadium at Aviva Stadium on February 7, 2016 in Dublin, Ireland. (Photo by Stu Forster/Getty Images)
Ireland's full back Simon Zebo (L) is tackled by Wales' centre Jamie Roberts during the Six Nations international rugby union match between Ireland and Wales at the Aviva Stadium in Dublin, Ireland, on February 7, 2016. / AFP / PAUL FAITHPAUL FAITH/AFP/Getty Images
Ireland's full back Simon Zebo (L) is tackled by Wales' centre Jamie Roberts during the Six Nations international rugby union match between Ireland and Wales at the Aviva Stadium in Dublin, Ireland, on February 7, 2016. / AFP / PAUL FAITHPAUL FAITH/AFP/Getty Images
Ireland's Sean Cronin (C) is tackled during the Six Nations international rugby union match between Ireland and Wales at the Aviva Stadium in Dublin, Ireland, on February 7, 2016. / AFP / PAUL FAITHPAUL FAITH/AFP/Getty Images
DUBLIN, IRELAND - FEBRUARY 07: Gareth Davies of Wales passes the ball during the RBS Six Nations match between Ireland and Wales at the Aviva Stadium on February 7, 2016 in Dublin, Ireland. (Photo by David Rogers/Getty Images)
DUBLIN, IRELAND - FEBRUARY 07: Liam Williams of Wales takes on Keith Earls of Ireland during the RBS Six Nations match between Ireland and Wales at the Aviva Stadium on February 7, 2016 in Dublin, Ireland. (Photo by Stu Forster/Getty Images)
Ireland's Andrew Trimble (centre left) is tackled Wales' Taulupe Faletau during the 2016 RBS Six Nations match at the Aviva Stadium, Dublin. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Picture date: Sunday February 7, 2016. See PA story RUGBYU Ireland. Photo credit should read: Niall Carson/PA Wire. RESTRICTIONS APPLY: Editorial use only. No commercial or promotional use without prior consent from IRFU. No alterations or doctoring. For further information please call +44 (0)115 8447447.
DUBLIN, IRELAND - FEBRUARY 07: Devin Toner of Ireland wins lineout ball under pressure from Alun Wyn Jones of Wales during the RBS Six Nations match between Ireland and Wales at the Aviva Stadium on February 7, 2016 in Dublin, Ireland. (Photo by Stu Forster/Getty Images)
Wales' Taulupe Faletau (right) is tackled by Ireland's Jack McGrath during the 2016 RBS Six Nations match at the Aviva Stadium, Dublin. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Picture date: Sunday February 7, 2016. See PA story RUGBYU Ireland. Photo credit should read: Niall Carson/PA Wire. RESTRICTIONS APPLY: Editorial use only. No commercial or promotional use without prior consent from IRFU. No alterations or doctoring. For further information please call +44 (0)115 8447447.
Wales' Tom James (right) is tackled by Ireland's Keith Earls during the 2016 RBS Six Nations match at the Aviva Stadium, Dublin. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Picture date: Sunday February 7, 2016. See PA story RUGBYU Ireland. Photo credit should read: Niall Carson/PA Wire. RESTRICTIONS APPLY: Editorial use only. No commercial or promotional use without prior consent from IRFU. No alterations or doctoring. For further information please call +44 (0)115 8447447.
Wales' Jonathan Davies hands off Ireland's CJ Stander during the 2016 RBS Six Nations match at the Aviva Stadium, Dublin. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Picture date: Sunday February 7, 2016. See PA story RUGBYU Ireland. Photo credit should read: Brian Lawless/PA Wire. RESTRICTIONS APPLY: Editorial use only. No commercial or promotional use without prior consent from IRFU. No alterations or doctoring. For further information please call +44 (0)115 8447447.
Ireland's Johnny Sexton and Wales' Rob Evans during the 2016 RBS Six Nations match at the Aviva Stadium, Dublin. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Picture date: Sunday February 7, 2016. See PA story RUGBYU Ireland. Photo credit should read: Brian Lawless/PA Wire. RESTRICTIONS APPLY: Editorial use only. No commercial or promotional use without prior consent from IRFU. No alterations or doctoring. For further information please call +44 (0)115 8447447.
DUBLIN, IRELAND - FEBRUARY 07: Andrew Trimble of Ireland is tackled by Justin Tipuric of Wales adfter carrying the ball over his own tryline during the RBS Six Nations match between Ireland and Wales at the Aviva Stadium on February 7, 2016 in Dublin, Ireland. (Photo by David Rogers/Getty Images)
DUBLIN, IRELAND - FEBRUARY 07: Andrew Trimble of Ireland is tackled by Justin Tipuric of Wales adfter carrying the ball over his own tryline during the RBS Six Nations match between Ireland and Wales at the Aviva Stadium on February 7, 2016 in Dublin, Ireland. (Photo by David Rogers/Getty Images)
Wales' George North is tackled by Ireland's CJ Stander (left) and Rory Best during the 2016 RBS Six Nations match at the Aviva Stadium, Dublin. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Picture date: Sunday February 7, 2016. See PA story RUGBYU Ireland. Photo credit should read: Brian Lawless/PA Wire. RESTRICTIONS APPLY: Editorial use only. No commercial or promotional use without prior consent from IRFU. No alterations or doctoring. For further information please call +44 (0)115 8447447.
Wales' Liam Williams and Ireland's Andrew Trimble (left) during the 2016 RBS Six Nations match at the Aviva Stadium, Dublin. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Picture date: Sunday February 7, 2016. See PA story RUGBYU Ireland. Photo credit should read: Brian Lawless/PA Wire. RESTRICTIONS APPLY: Editorial use only. No commercial or promotional use without prior consent from IRFU. No alterations or doctoring. For further information please call +44 (0)115 8447447.
TOPSHOT - Wales' number 8 Taulupe Faletau (C) scores his team's first try during the Six Nations international rugby union match between Ireland and Wales at the Aviva Stadium in Dublin, Ireland, on February 7, 2016. / AFP / PAUL FAITHPAUL FAITH/AFP/Getty Images
Wales' Tom James during the 2016 RBS Six Nations match at the Aviva Stadium, Dublin. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Picture date: Sunday February 7, 2016. See PA story RUGBYU Ireland. Photo credit should read: Brian Lawless/PA Wire. RESTRICTIONS APPLY: Editorial use only. No commercial or promotional use without prior consent from IRFU. No alterations or doctoring. For further information please call +44 (0)115 8447447.
Wales' George North is tackled by Ireland's Rory Best during the 2016 RBS Six Nations match at the Aviva Stadium, Dublin. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Picture date: Sunday February 7, 2016. See PA story RUGBYU Ireland. Photo credit should read: Brian Lawless/PA Wire. RESTRICTIONS APPLY: Editorial use only. No commercial or promotional use without prior consent from IRFU. No alterations or doctoring. For further information please call +44 (0)115 8447447.
DUBLIN, IRELAND - FEBRUARY 07: Liam Williams of Wales is dumped by Keith Earls of Ireland during the RBS Six Nations match between Ireland and Wales at the Aviva Stadium on February 7, 2016 in Dublin, Ireland. (Photo by David Rogers/Getty Images)
DUBLIN, IRELAND - FEBRUARY 07: Jamie Roberts of Wales is tackle by Jack McGrath and CJ Stander of Ireland during the RBS Six Nations match between Ireland and Wales at the Aviva Stadium on February 7, 2016 in Dublin, Ireland. (Photo by David Rogers/Getty Images)
DUBLIN, IRELAND - FEBRUARY 07: Liam Williams of Wales is dumped by Keith Earls of Ireland during the RBS Six Nations match between Ireland and Wales at the Aviva Stadium on February 7, 2016 in Dublin, Ireland. (Photo by David Rogers/Getty Images)
DUBLIN, IRELAND - FEBRUARY 07: Jonathan Davies of Wales hands off CJ Stander of Ireland during the RBS Six Nations match between Ireland and Wales at the Aviva Stadium on February 7, 2016 in Dublin, Ireland. (Photo by David Rogers/Getty Images)
Welsh rugby fans wait in the stands ahead of the Six Nations international rugby union match between Ireland and Wales at the Aviva Stadium in Dublin, Ireland, on February 7, 2016. / AFP / PAUL FAITHPAUL FAITH/AFP/Getty Images
Welsh rugby fans wait in the stands ahead of the Six Nations international rugby union match between Ireland and Wales at the Aviva Stadium in Dublin, Ireland, on February 7, 2016. / AFP / PAUL FAITHPAUL FAITH/AFP/Getty Images
Ireland's hooker Rory Best (C) warms up with team mates ahead of the Six Nations international rugby union match between Ireland and Wales at the Aviva Stadium in Dublin, Ireland, on February 7, 2016. / AFP / PAUL FAITHPAUL FAITH/AFP/Getty Images
The Irish team huddle on the pitch ahead of the Six Nations international rugby union match between Ireland and Wales at the Aviva Stadium in Dublin, Ireland, on February 7, 2016. / AFP / PAUL FAITHPAUL FAITH/AFP/Getty Images
Ireland head coach Joe' Schmidt (centre) gives a pre match team talk during the 2016 RBS Six Nations match at the Aviva Stadium, Dublin. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Picture date: Sunday February 7, 2016. See PA story RUGBYU Ireland. Photo credit should read: Niall Carson/PA Wire. RESTRICTIONS APPLY: Editorial use only. No commercial or promotional use without prior consent from IRFU. No alterations or doctoring. For further information please call +44 (0)115 8447447.
DUBLIN, IRELAND - FEBRUARY 07: Wales fans enjoy the pre match atmosphere during the RBS Six Nations match between Ireland and Wales at the Aviva Stadium on February 7, 2016 in Dublin, Ireland. (Photo by Stu Forster/Getty Images)
Ireland's hooker Rory Best (2L) warms up with teammates ahead of the Six Nations international rugby union match between Ireland and Wales at the Aviva Stadium in Dublin, Ireland, on February 7, 2016. / AFP / PAUL FAITHPAUL FAITH/AFP/Getty Images
DUBLIN, IRELAND - FEBRUARY 07: Wales fans enjoy the pre match atmosphere during the RBS Six Nations match between Ireland and Wales at the Aviva Stadium on February 7, 2016 in Dublin, Ireland. (Photo by Stu Forster/Getty Images)
DUBLIN, IRELAND - FEBRUARY 07: Jonathan Sexton of Ireland kicks a penalty during the RBS Six Nations match between Ireland and Wales at the Aviva Stadium on February 7, 2016 in Dublin, Ireland. (Photo by Stu Forster/Getty Images)
DUBLIN, IRELAND - FEBRUARY 07: Jamie Heaslip of Ireland is wrapped up by Luke Charteris and Alun Wyn Jones of Wales during the RBS Six Nations match between Ireland and Wales at the Aviva Stadium on February 7, 2016 in Dublin, Ireland. (Photo by Stu Forster/Getty Images)
DUBLIN, IRELAND - FEBRUARY 07: Jonathan Sexton of Ireland kicks a penalty during the RBS Six Nations match between Ireland and Wales at the Aviva Stadium on February 7, 2016 in Dublin, Ireland. (Photo by Stu Forster/Getty Images)
Ireland's Jamie Heaslip (centre) is tackled by Wales' Alun Wyn Jones (right) and Luke Charteris during the 2016 RBS Six Nations match at the Aviva Stadium, Dublin. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Picture date: Sunday February 7, 2016. See PA story RUGBYU Ireland. Photo credit should read: Niall Carson/PA Wire. RESTRICTIONS APPLY: Editorial use only. No commercial or promotional use without prior consent from IRFU. No alterations or doctoring. For further information please call +44 (0)115 8447447.
DUBLIN, IRELAND - FEBRUARY 07: Jamie Heaslip of Ireland is wrapped up by Luke Charteris and Alun Wyn Jones of Wales during the RBS Six Nations match between Ireland and Wales at the Aviva Stadium on February 7, 2016 in Dublin, Ireland. (Photo by Stu Forster/Getty Images)
DUBLIN, IRELAND - FEBRUARY 07: Jamie Heaslip of Ireland is wrapped up by Luke Charteris and Alun Wyn Jones of Wales during the RBS Six Nations match between Ireland and Wales at the Aviva Stadium on February 7, 2016 in Dublin, Ireland. (Photo by Stu Forster/Getty Images)
Ireland's Connor Murray (left) is tackled by Wales' Scott Baldwin during the 2016 RBS Six Nations match at the Aviva Stadium, Dublin. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Picture date: Sunday February 7, 2016. See PA story RUGBYU Ireland. Photo credit should read: Niall Carson/PA Wire. RESTRICTIONS APPLY: Editorial use only. No commercial or promotional use without prior consent from IRFU. No alterations or doctoring. For further information please call +44 (0)115 8447447.
DUBLIN, IRELAND - FEBRUARY 07: Simon Zebo of Ireland is hauled down by Jonathan Davies of Wales during the RBS Six Nations match between Ireland and Wales at the Aviva Stadium on February 7, 2016 in Dublin, Ireland. (Photo by Stu Forster/Getty Images)
DUBLIN, IRELAND - FEBRUARY 07: Jamie Heaslip of Ireland is tackled by Luke Charteris and Sam Warburton of Wales during the RBS Six Nations match between Ireland and Wales at the Aviva Stadium on February 7, 2016 in Dublin, Ireland. (Photo by Stu Forster/Getty Images)
DUBLIN, IRELAND - FEBRUARY 07: Jamie Heaslip of Ireland is tackled by Luke Charteris and Sam Warburton of Wales during the RBS Six Nations match between Ireland and Wales at the Aviva Stadium on February 7, 2016 in Dublin, Ireland. (Photo by Stu Forster/Getty Images)
Ireland's Jamie Heaslip (centre) is tackled by Wales' Alun Wyn Jones (right) and Luke Charteris during the 2016 RBS Six Nations match at the Aviva Stadium, Dublin. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Picture date: Sunday February 7, 2016. See PA story RUGBYU Ireland. Photo credit should read: Niall Carson/PA Wire. RESTRICTIONS APPLY: Editorial use only. No commercial or promotional use without prior consent from IRFU. No alterations or doctoring. For further information please call +44 (0)115 8447447.
Ireland's Andrew Trimble (centre) is tackled by Wales' Alun Wyn Jones (right) during the 2016 RBS Six Nations match at the Aviva Stadium, Dublin. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Picture date: Sunday February 7, 2016. See PA story RUGBYU Ireland. Photo credit should read: Niall Carson/PA Wire. RESTRICTIONS APPLY: Editorial use only. No commercial or promotional use without prior consent from IRFU. No alterations or doctoring. For further information please call +44 (0)115 8447447.
DUBLIN, IRELAND - FEBRUARY 07: CJ Stander of Ireland is tackled by Sam Warburton of Wales during the RBS Six Nations match between Ireland and Wales at the Aviva Stadium on February 7, 2016 in Dublin, Ireland. (Photo by Stu Forster/Getty Images)
DUBLIN, IRELAND - FEBRUARY 07: Jamie Heaslip of Ireland hands off Sam Warburton of Wales during the RBS Six Nations match between Ireland and Wales at the Aviva Stadium on February 7, 2016 in Dublin, Ireland. (Photo by Stu Forster/Getty Images)
DUBLIN, IRELAND - FEBRUARY 07: CJ Stander of Ireland is tackled by Sam Warburton of Wales during the RBS Six Nations match between Ireland and Wales at the Aviva Stadium on February 7, 2016 in Dublin, Ireland. (Photo by Stu Forster/Getty Images)
Ireland's Kieran Marmion (right) is tackled by Wales' Justin Tipuric during the 2016 RBS Six Nations match at the Aviva Stadium, Dublin. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Picture date: Sunday February 7, 2016. See PA story RUGBYU Ireland. Photo credit should read: Niall Carson/PA Wire. RESTRICTIONS APPLY: Editorial use only. No commercial or promotional use without prior consent from IRFU. No alterations or doctoring. For further information please call +44 (0)115 8447447.
DUBLIN, IRELAND - FEBRUARY 07: Jamie Heaslip of Ireland hands off Sam Warburton of Wales during the RBS Six Nations match between Ireland and Wales at the Aviva Stadium on February 7, 2016 in Dublin, Ireland. (Photo by Stu Forster/Getty Images)
Ireland's Kieran Marmion (centre) is tackled by Wales' Justin Tipuric during the 2016 RBS Six Nations match at the Aviva Stadium, Dublin. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Picture date: Sunday February 7, 2016. See PA story RUGBYU Ireland. Photo credit should read: Niall Carson/PA Wire. RESTRICTIONS APPLY: Editorial use only. No commercial or promotional use without prior consent from IRFU. No alterations or doctoring. For further information please call +44 (0)115 8447447.
Ireland's Nathan White (left) is tackle by Wales' Samson Lee during the 2016 RBS Six Nations match at the Aviva Stadium, Dublin. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Picture date: Sunday February 7, 2016. See PA story RUGBYU Ireland. Photo credit should read: Niall Carson/PA Wire. RESTRICTIONS APPLY: Editorial use only. No commercial or promotional use without prior consent from IRFU. No alterations or doctoring. For further information please call +44 (0)115 8447447.
DUBLIN, IRELAND - FEBRUARY 07: (L-R) Rory Best and Jack McGrath of Ireland line up for the national anthems prior to kickoff during the RBS Six Nations match between Ireland and Wales at the Aviva Stadium on February 7, 2016 in Dublin, Ireland. (Photo by Stu Forster/Getty Images)
Ireland's Jonathan Sexton in kicking action during the 2016 RBS Six Nations match at the Aviva Stadium, Dublin. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Picture date: Sunday February 7, 2016. See PA story RUGBYU Ireland. Photo credit should read: Niall Carson/PA Wire. RESTRICTIONS APPLY: Editorial use only. No commercial or promotional use without prior consent from IRFU. No alterations or doctoring. For further information please call +44 (0)115 8447447.
DUBLIN, IRELAND - FEBRUARY 07: Jonathan Sexton of Ireland is hauled down by Rob Evans of Wales during the RBS Six Nations match between Ireland and Wales at the Aviva Stadium on February 7, 2016 in Dublin, Ireland. (Photo by Stu Forster/Getty Images)
DUBLIN, IRELAND - FEBRUARY 07: The injured Dan Biggar of Wales leaves the pitch midway through the first half during the RBS Six Nations match between Ireland and Wales at the Aviva Stadium on February 7, 2016 in Dublin, Ireland. (Photo by Stu Forster/Getty Images)
DUBLIN, IRELAND - FEBRUARY 07: The injured Dan Biggar of Wales leaves the pitch midway through the first half during the RBS Six Nations match between Ireland and Wales at the Aviva Stadium on February 7, 2016 in Dublin, Ireland. (Photo by Stu Forster/Getty Images)
DUBLIN, IRELAND - FEBRUARY 07: The injured Dan Biggar of Wales leaves the pitch midway through the first half during the RBS Six Nations match between Ireland and Wales at the Aviva Stadium on February 7, 2016 in Dublin, Ireland. (Photo by Stu Forster/Getty Images)
Wales' Liam Williams (centre) is tackled by Ireland's Andrew Trimble (left) during the 2016 RBS Six Nations match at the Aviva Stadium, Dublin. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Picture date: Sunday February 7, 2016. See PA story RUGBYU Ireland. Photo credit should read: Niall Carson/PA Wire. RESTRICTIONS APPLY: Editorial use only. No commercial or promotional use without prior consent from IRFU. No alterations or doctoring. For further information please call +44 (0)115 8447447.
DUBLIN, IRELAND - FEBRUARY 07: The injured Dan Biggar of Wales leaves the pitch midway through the first half during the RBS Six Nations match between Ireland and Wales at the Aviva Stadium on February 7, 2016 in Dublin, Ireland. (Photo by Stu Forster/Getty Images)
DUBLIN, IRELAND - FEBRUARY 07: Conor Murray of Ireland crashes through the tackle from Justin Tipuric of Wales to score the opening try during the RBS Six Nations match between Ireland and Wales at the Aviva Stadium on February 7, 2016 in Dublin, Ireland. (Photo by Stu Forster/Getty Images)
DUBLIN, IRELAND - FEBRUARY 07: Conor Murray of Ireland crashes through the tackle from Justin Tipuric of Wales to score the opening try during the RBS Six Nations match between Ireland and Wales at the Aviva Stadium on February 7, 2016 in Dublin, Ireland. (Photo by Stu Forster/Getty Images)
Ireland's Conor Murray (centre right) scores a try during the 2016 RBS Six Nations match at the Aviva Stadium, Dublin. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Picture date: Sunday February 7, 2016. See PA story RUGBYU Ireland. Photo credit should read: Niall Carson/PA Wire. RESTRICTIONS APPLY: Editorial use only. No commercial or promotional use without prior consent from IRFU. No alterations or doctoring. For further information please call +44 (0)115 8447447.
DUBLIN, IRELAND - FEBRUARY 07: Liam Williams of Wales receives treatment following a tackle by Keith Earls (R) of Ireland during the RBS Six Nations match between Ireland and Wales at the Aviva Stadium on February 7, 2016 in Dublin, Ireland. (Photo by Stu Forster/Getty Images)
Wales' Tom James is tackled by Ireland's CJ Stander during the 2016 RBS Six Nations match at the Aviva Stadium, Dublin. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Picture date: Sunday February 7, 2016. See PA story RUGBYU Ireland. Photo credit should read: Brian Lawless/PA Wire. RESTRICTIONS APPLY: Editorial use only. No commercial or promotional use without prior consent from IRFU. No alterations or doctoring. For further information please call +44 (0)115 8447447.
DUBLIN, IRELAND - FEBRUARY 07: Liam Williams of Wales receives treatment following a tackle by Keith Earls (R) of Ireland during the RBS Six Nations match between Ireland and Wales at the Aviva Stadium on February 7, 2016 in Dublin, Ireland. (Photo by Stu Forster/Getty Images)
Wales' Dan Biggar (left) and Ireland's Conor Murray battle for a high ball during the 2016 RBS Six Nations match at the Aviva Stadium, Dublin. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Picture date: Sunday February 7, 2016. See PA story RUGBYU Ireland. Photo credit should read: Brian Lawless/PA Wire. RESTRICTIONS APPLY: Editorial use only. No commercial or promotional use without prior consent from IRFU. No alterations or doctoring. For further information please call +44 (0)115 8447447.
DUBLIN, IRELAND - FEBRUARY 07: Liam Williams (R) of Wales looks on during the RBS Six Nations match between Ireland and Wales at the Aviva Stadium on February 7, 2016 in Dublin, Ireland. (Photo by Stu Forster/Getty Images)
Ireland's Jamie Heaslip (bottom right) is tackled by Wales' Jonathan Davies (right) during the 2016 RBS Six Nations match at the Aviva Stadium, Dublin. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Picture date: Sunday February 7, 2016. See PA story RUGBYU Ireland. Photo credit should read: Niall Carson/PA Wire. RESTRICTIONS APPLY: Editorial use only. No commercial or promotional use without prior consent from IRFU. No alterations or doctoring. For further information please call +44 (0)115 8447447.
Wales' wing George North (C) vies with Ireland's centre Jared Payne (R) during the Six Nations international rugby union match between Ireland and Wales at the Aviva Stadium in Dublin, Ireland, on February 7, 2016. / AFP / PAUL FAITHPAUL FAITH/AFP/Getty Images
Ireland's Mike McCarthy wins a lineout during the 2016 RBS Six Nations match at the Aviva Stadium, Dublin. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Picture date: Sunday February 7, 2016. See PA story RUGBYU Ireland. Photo credit should read: Niall Carson/PA Wire. RESTRICTIONS APPLY: Editorial use only. No commercial or promotional use without prior consent from IRFU. No alterations or doctoring. For further information please call +44 (0)115 8447447.
Ireland's wing Andrew Trimble (C) vies with Wales' lock Alun Wyn Jones (L) and Wales' wing Tom James during the Six Nations international rugby union match between Ireland and Wales at the Aviva Stadium in Dublin, Ireland, on February 7, 2016. / AFP / PAUL FAITHPAUL FAITH/AFP/Getty Images
DUBLIN, IRELAND - FEBRUARY 07: Robbie Henshaw of Ireland is tackled by Jamie Roberts of Wales during the RBS Six Nations match between Ireland and Wales at the Aviva Stadium on February 7, 2016 in Dublin, Ireland. (Photo by Stu Forster/Getty Images)
Wales' Gareth Davies loses control of the ball during the 2016 RBS Six Nations match at the Aviva Stadium, Dublin. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Picture date: Sunday February 7, 2016. See PA story RUGBYU Ireland. Photo credit should read: Niall Carson/PA Wire. RESTRICTIONS APPLY: Editorial use only. No commercial or promotional use without prior consent from IRFU. No alterations or doctoring. For further information please call +44 (0)115 8447447.
DUBLIN, IRELAND - FEBRUARY 07: Robbie Henshaw of Ireland is tackled by Jonathan Davies (L) and Jamie Roberts (R) of Wales during the RBS Six Nations match between Ireland and Wales at the Aviva Stadium on February 7, 2016 in Dublin, Ireland. (Photo by Stu Forster/Getty Images)
Ireland's Jared Payne (centre) is tackled by Wales' Jonathan Davies and Rhys Priestland (right) during the 2016 RBS Six Nations match at the Aviva Stadium, Dublin. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Picture date: Sunday February 7, 2016. See PA story RUGBYU Ireland. Photo credit should read: Niall Carson/PA Wire. RESTRICTIONS APPLY: Editorial use only. No commercial or promotional use without prior consent from IRFU. No alterations or doctoring. For further information please call +44 (0)115 8447447.
Wales' number 8 Taulupe Faletau (C) scores his team's first try during the Six Nations international rugby union match between Ireland and Wales at the Aviva Stadium in Dublin, Ireland, on February 7, 2016. / AFP / PAUL FAITHPAUL FAITH/AFP/Getty Images
Wales' Tom James during the 2016 RBS Six Nations match at the Aviva Stadium, Dublin. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Picture date: Sunday February 7, 2016. See PA story RUGBYU Ireland. Photo credit should read: Niall Carson/PA Wire. RESTRICTIONS APPLY: Editorial use only. No commercial or promotional use without prior consent from IRFU. No alterations or doctoring. For further information please call +44 (0)115 8447447.
Wales' number 8 Taulupe Faletau (C) scores his team's first try during the Six Nations international rugby union match between Ireland and Wales at the Aviva Stadium in Dublin, Ireland, on February 7, 2016. / AFP / PAUL FAITHPAUL FAITH/AFP/Getty Images
Wales' Taulupe Faletau scores a try during the 2016 RBS Six Nations match at the Aviva Stadium, Dublin. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Picture date: Sunday February 7, 2016. See PA story RUGBYU Ireland. Photo credit should read: Brian Lawless/PA Wire. RESTRICTIONS APPLY: Editorial use only. No commercial or promotional use without prior consent from IRFU. No alterations or doctoring. For further information please call +44 (0)115 8447447.
Wales' number 8 Taulupe Faletau (C) scores his team's first try during the Six Nations international rugby union match between Ireland and Wales at the Aviva Stadium in Dublin, Ireland, on February 7, 2016. / AFP / PAUL FAITHPAUL FAITH/AFP/Getty Images
DUBLIN, IRELAND - FEBRUARY 07: George North of Wales is challenged by Jared Payne of Ireland during the RBS Six Nations match between Ireland and Wales at the Aviva Stadium on February 7, 2016 in Dublin, Ireland. (Photo by David Rogers/Getty Images)
Ireland's Simon Zebo and Wales' Dan Biggar during the 2016 RBS Six Nations match at the Aviva Stadium, Dublin. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Picture date: Sunday February 7, 2016. See PA story RUGBYU Ireland. Photo credit should read: Brian Lawless/PA Wire. RESTRICTIONS APPLY: Editorial use only. No commercial or promotional use without prior consent from IRFU. No alterations or doctoring. For further information please call +44 (0)115 8447447.
DUBLIN, IRELAND - FEBRUARY 07: Liam Williams of Wales takes on Jamie Heaslip of Ireland during the RBS Six Nations match between Ireland and Wales at the Aviva Stadium on February 7, 2016 in Dublin, Ireland. (Photo by David Rogers/Getty Images)
Wales' Justin Tipuric tackled by Ireland's CJ Stander (right) and Jamie Heaslip during the 2016 RBS Six Nations match at the Aviva Stadium, Dublin. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Picture date: Sunday February 7, 2016. See PA story RUGBYU Ireland. Photo credit should read: Brian Lawless/PA Wire. RESTRICTIONS APPLY: Editorial use only. No commercial or promotional use without prior consent from IRFU. No alterations or doctoring. For further information please call +44 (0)115 8447447.
Wales' wing George North (L) and Wales' number 8 Taulupe Faletau (C) vie against Ireland's wing Andrew Trimble during the Six Nations international rugby union match between Ireland and Wales at the Aviva Stadium in Dublin, Ireland, on February 7, 2016. / AFP / PAUL FAITHPAUL FAITH/AFP/Getty Images
Ireland and Wales' players walk out during the 2016 RBS Six Nations match at the Aviva Stadium, Dublin. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Picture date: Sunday February 7, 2016. See PA story RUGBYU Ireland. Photo credit should read: Niall Carson/PA Wire. RESTRICTIONS APPLY: Editorial use only. No commercial or promotional use without prior consent from IRFU. No alterations or doctoring. For further information please call +44 (0)115 8447447.
DUBLIN, IRELAND - FEBRUARY 07: Taulupe Faletau of Wales forces his way over the lineto score his team's first try during the RBS Six Nations match between Ireland and Wales at the Aviva Stadium on February 7, 2016 in Dublin, Ireland. (Photo by David Rogers/Getty Images)
DUBLIN, IRELAND - FEBRUARY 07: Taulupe Faletau of Wales forces his way over the lineto score his team's first try during the RBS Six Nations match between Ireland and Wales at the Aviva Stadium on February 7, 2016 in Dublin, Ireland. (Photo by David Rogers/Getty Images)
Ireland and Wales players lineup to sing the national anthems before the 2016 RBS Six Nations match at the Aviva Stadium, Dublin. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Picture date: Sunday February 7, 2016. See PA story RUGBYU Ireland. Photo credit should read: Niall Carson/PA Wire. RESTRICTIONS APPLY: Editorial use only. No commercial or promotional use without prior consent from IRFU. No alterations or doctoring. For further information please call +44 (0)115 8447447.

Ireland's pack - missing the likes of Cian Healy, Mike Ross, Marty Moore and Iain Henderson from their tight five - struggled to get to grips with their Welsh counterparts, especially in the first-half.

Wales' score through Taulupe Faletau came off the base of the scrum after multiple penalties must have had Jerome Garces pondering whether a further transgression would lead to a penalty try and a spell in the bin.

While things looked considerably more solid after the turn, even with Gethin Jenkins entering the fray for Wales, Best admits it will be an area to look at during their short turnaround before taking on France in Paris on Saturday, even if he seemed slightly sceptical about the methods of the opposition pack.

"It's something we talked about at half-time," he said. "We had to hit out, we had to get our right shoulder out, just to stop them trying to slide round.

"The balance in the first-half didn't help us. You have to keep working. We want to stay square and put a stable platform on, we definitely got there in the second-half but we're disappointed we didn't get enough opportunity to do that in the first-half.

"It's one area of France's game that, in club rugby and international rugby, that they're particularly strong.

"There's probably areas of their scrum are probably quite similar to Wales, they look for angles and they don't necessarily always want that straight contest.

"For us, there are aspects of that second-half that we're happy with but there's no doubt that France are dangerous there.

"We'll have to dissect that and make sure we have a good plan."

A satisfactory result on what was a red letter day for Best, the Poyntzpass man did his utmost to take in as much of the occasion as possible.

"I think it's something that you have to try and enjoy, especially that sort of 24 hours or so post the team run through to kick-off," he added. "It feels like it drags but when you look back it goes in a flash. The big thing for me was the senior players that we have in the squad and the way we shared that leadership. It takes a little pressure off.

"There's no doubt that we're battered and bruised right now. In terms of captaining, the boys make it very easy, the coaching staff and everyone, we definitely share that responsibility and share it well.

"As a forward it was a fairly enjoyable game to be a part of. I think when you come off the pitch in the front five and you're a bit battered and bruised that's always a good thing."

Looking ahead to France, it's a feeling that's sure to be repeated in the coming week.

Belfast Telegraph

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