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Wales claim controversial victory

Wales registered a controversial 19-13 victory over Ireland in their RBS 6 Nations clash at Millennium Stadium.

Mike Phillips' decisive 50th-minute try from a quickly-taken line-out infuriated Ireland's players as Matthew Rees had clearly used a different ball for the set piece to the one kicked out.

Man-of-the-match James Hook kicked 11 points and Leigh Halfpenny slotted a penalty, while Brian O'Driscoll crossed for Ireland with Ronan O'Gara kicking eight points.

Captain O'Driscoll's 24th international championship touchdown equalled the career record of Scotsman Ian Smith that has stood for 78 years, but there will be no Triple Crown assault against title-chasing England in Dublin next Saturday.

Ireland though, must reflect on a below-par season and a glittering chance they blew during the game's final passage of play when substitute Paddy Wallace ignored an unmarked Keith Earls outside him.

Wallace cut back inside and prop Cian Healy then dropped the ball, allowing Shane Williams to kick it out of play and leave Ireland crestfallen.

Ireland scored two minutes into the game from a simple move which saw wing Tommy Bowe take an outside angle the Wales defence could not close down, allowing O'Driscoll his record-equalling try.

O'Gara continued the landmark theme by adding a conversion to bring up his 1,000 points, joining the four other members of that exclusive club - Jonny Wilkinson, Dan Carter, Neil Jenkins and Diego Dominguez.

Ireland coach Declan Kidney surprisingly sent on Jonathan Sexton for O'Gara after 50 minutes, but it had entirely the opposite effect as Wales capitalised on a blunder by the Leinster number 10. Sexton sliced a kick straight into touch, Rees took a quick throw and Phillips sprinted over from 40 metres, with the try being allowed despite Ireland's complaints.

Hook added the extras before Sexton's horror show continued when he missed an easy penalty chance that would have drawn Ireland level and Hook then sealed the deal when he completed his hat-trick, giving Wales a much-needed home win and leaving Ireland to ruefully reflect on a defeat that will hurt them deeply.


From Belfast Telegraph