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The BBC's Nick Mullins
"The intervention of jenkins - the deadliest boot in the west"
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Welsh skipper David Young
"We've been doubted for fitness and team spirit but we showed that we've got it in abundance"
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Saturday, 1 April, 2000, 17:10 GMT 18:10 UK
Wales triumph over fighting Irish

Desperate defence prevented much higher scores
Ireland 19-23 Wales

Wales scrambled to a tense and gripping victory over Ireland at Lansdowne Road, handing England Six Nations victory in the process.

Six Nations Championship
The visitors scored a try in each half, through lock Nathan Budgett and fly-half Stephen Jones, but it was the metronomic kicking of replacement stand-off Neil Jenkins that sealed it with two long-range penalties.

Ireland responded with a bullocking try for winger Shane Horgan, but they looked a fraction of the side that humbled France in Paris two weeks ago.

The result means Ireland's dream of four tournament wins in a season for the first time in 52 years lies in ruins and England win the competition before the kick-off of Sunday's clash with Scotland at Murrayfield.
Match facts
Ireland: try: Horgan, con: O'Gara, pens: O'Gara (4)
Wales: tries: Budgett, Jones, cons: Jones (2), pens: Jones, Neil Jenkins (2)
On a miserable, rain-lashed day, stand-off Ronan O'Gara opened the scoring with two penalties to give Ireland a 6-0 lead inside the first 10 minutes.

Before the match began, there was controversy over whether or not his opposite number Jones would be dropped in favour of Jenkins, whose kicking was considered to be better suited to the conditions.

In the event, Wales made only one change, bringing in Scott Gibbs for centre Mark Taylor, who failed an eleventh-hour fitness test.

Jones confirmed fears about his suitability almost immediately when he badly hashed his first penalty attempt.

But Wales were soon on the scoreboard as Nathan Budgett crunched over from a driven lineout deep in the Irish 22 after 20 minutes. The fly-half safely converted.

A similar threat 10 minutes later was nullified by an superbly stolen lineout ball, but the Welsh back row nonetheless kept the visitors in the ascendant as half-time approached.

In the heavy, greasy conditions, both sides struggled to put together coherent passages of play and the match was mostly played out in the middle third between the 22s.

With six minutes to go to the half, Wales made a brief sally into opposition territory and came away with a penalty after Ireland strayed offside.

That was the one bright spot for Jones, whose kicking radar so far off beam by the end of the half that he missed another penalty from directly in front of the posts.

But he made up for it after the interval as the Welsh capitalised on confusion in the Irish back line to pop the ball up for the stand-off, who screamed through a gap in the home side's back line to score under the posts.
Stephen Jones' try played a part in the Welsh win
Ireland came out blazing to earn O'Gara another pot at goal that he easily converted.

That was the spark that seemed to wake up the men in green as forwards and backs combined to forge deep into Welsh territory.

At least two clear scoring opportunities were squandered by poor decision making and poorer handling, but Horgan finally produced a try by barging through the diminutive Shane Williams to score in the corner.

O'Gara then slotted a peach of a conversion from the touchline to bring Ireland to within a point of Wales on 16-17.

And the home side seized the lead with a penalty directly in front of the posts after a desperate Welsh defence found itself on the wrong side after 65 minutes.

With 15 minutes to go, both sides changed fly-halves with Jenkins on for the visitors and David Humphreys for Ireland.

The involvement of Jenkins proved to be the more inspired move as he stroked away a trademark touchline penalty, followed by another two minutes later to re-establish Wales' lead.

Ireland squandered their last chance in injury time with a knocked-on free-kick that handed the visitors their third Six Nations win of the season.


Ireland: G Dempsey (Terenure); S Horgan (Lansdowne), B O'Driscoll (Blackrock College), R Henderson (Wasps), D Hickie (St Mary's College); R O'Gara (Cork Constitution), P Stringer (Shannon); P Clohessy (Young Munster), K Wood (Garryowen, capt), J Hayes (Shannon), M Galwey (Shannon), M O'Kelly (St Mary's College), S Easterby (Llanelli), K Dawson (London Irish), A Foley (Shannon).
Replacements: F Sheahan (Cork Constitution), J Fitzpatrick (Dungannon), J Davidson (Castres), A Ward (Ballynahinch), G Easterby (Ebbw Vale), D Humphreys (Dungannon), K Maggs (Bath).

Wales: R Williams (Cardiff); G Thomas (Cardiff), A Bateman (Northampton), S Gibbs (Swansea), S Williams (Neath); S Jones (Llanelli), R Moon (Llanelli); P Rogers (Newport), G Jenkins (Swansea), D Young (Cardiff, capt), I Gough (Pontypridd), A Moore (Swansea), N Budgett (Ebbw Vale), C Charvis (Swansea), G Lewis (Pontypridd).
Replacements: R McBryde (Llanelli), S John (Cardiff), E Lewis (Cardiff), M Williams (Cardiff), R Smith (Ebbw Vale), N Jenkins (Cardiff), D James (Llanelli).

Referee: Andrew Cole (Australia).
Touch judges: Chris White (England) and Iain Hyde-Lay (Canada).

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