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Thursday, 21 February, 2002, 18:32 GMT
Ireland thump woeful Wales
Geordan Murphy scores his first try against Wales
Geordan Murphy streaks away for his first try
Ireland 54-10 Wales

Ireland steamrollered their way to a record win over Wales at a delighted Lansdowne Road to give new chief Eddie O'Sullivan a fine start to his reign.

Man-of-the-match David Humphreys ran the show, with the home side running in six tries, but it was an abject Wales performance.

There was little fire in the Dragons' play, and the huge defeat was the last thing under-pressure coach Graham Henry needed.

Peter Clohessy led Ireland onto the field on the day of his 50th cap, but his team were missing the injured Keith Wood, Shane Horgan and Malcolm O'Kelly.

Craig Quinnell is swallowed up by the Irish defence
Craig Quinnell is swallowed up by the Irish defence
Craig Morgan won his first cap on the wing for Wales alongside six of his Cardiff team-mates, and rugby league convert Iestyn Harris started his first Six Nations match.

The opening minute brought an injury worry for Wales, playing into a strong wind, with Chris Wyatt suffering an ankle knock.

But they had more to worry about in the fifth minute when Ireland opened the scoring.

A forward surge saw David Wallace blast through, and Humphreys set up Geordan Murphy for a try which the fly-half converted.

Wyatt hobbled off to be replaced by Newport's Ian Gough and then Jamie Robinson was helped off and South African-born Andy Marinos ran on to win his first cap.

Irish pressure continued though, and Humphreys made it 13-0 with two further penalties.

The Welsh scrum was suffering, being penalised consistently by referee Pablo de Luca, and soon Henry's side were further behind.

David Humphreys clears his lines for Ireland
David Humphreys clears his lines for Ireland
A quick line-out and drive saw debutant Paul O'Connell dive over at the corner to the obvious delight of his team-mates.

But the Munster man's game did not last much longer, as he departed with a head injury to be replaced by Gary Longwell.

Wales were finding it difficult to get out of their own half, and Humphreys fired over another penalty to make it 21-0.

Ireland almost scored again when Brian O'Driscoll just failed to reach his own kick ahead, but a Welsh mistake gave them another Humphreys penalty.

The first bout of Wales pressure saw Ireland penalised at a scrum and Stephen Jones - chosen to kick ahead of Iestyn Harris - fired over the opportunity to make it 24-3 at the break.

The wind seemed to have dropped at the start of the second half, but Ireland continued in control.

After Marinos lost possession, John Hayes and Kevin Maggs blasted through the Welsh cover to set up Murphy for his second try, which Humphreys converted.

Stephen Jones is tackled by the Irish defence
Stephen Jones tries to muscle his way through
Another two Humphreys penalties made it 37-3 before Wales replaced Robert Howley and Spencer John with Dwayne Peel and Duncan Jones.

They almost got their first try minutes later, but Dafydd James knocked on with the line at his mercy.

It did come with 20 minutes left when Scott Quinnell, brother Craig and Ian Gough set up Stephen Jones for a touchdown the fly-half converted.

But the recovery was fleeting, and Ireland regained the upper hand with two more tries as Welsh heads went down.

Firstly, Humphreys went through to create a simple try for Denis Hickie, and then debut-making Keith Gleeson - who had just replaced David Wallace - took advantage of an O'Driscoll chip and chase.

Ronan O'Gara, who had come on for Humphreys, converted and then put the final icing on the cake with a try of his own to take Ireland over the 50-point mark.

TSB man-of-the-match: David Humphreys (Ireland).

Attendance: 49,000.


Ireland: Tries: G Murphy (2), P O'Connell, D Hickie, K Gleeson, R O'Gara. Con: D Humphreys (2), R O'Gara. Pens: D Humphreys (6).

Wales: Try: S Jones. Con: S Jones. Pen: S Jones.


Ireland: G Dempsey; G Murphy, B O'Driscoll, K Maggs, D Hickie; D Humphreys, P Stringer; P Clohessy, F Sheahan, J Hayes, M Galwey (capt), P O'Connell, S Easterby, D Wallace, A Foley.
Replacements: P Wallace, S Byrne, G Longwell, K Gleeson, G Easterby, R Henderson, R O'Gara.

Wales: K Morgan; D James, J Robinson, I Harris, C Morgan; S Jones, R Howley; S John, R McBryde, C Anthony, C Quinnell, C Wyatt, N Budgett, M Williams, S Quinnell (capt).
Replacements: B Williams, D Jones, I Gough, B Sinkinson, D Peel, A Marinos, R Williams.

Referee: Pablo de Luca (Argentina).

 WATCH/LISTEN
 ON THIS STORY
BBC Sport's Andrew Cotter
"Never can the red hordes have had such a capitulation"
Wales coach Graham Henry
"No team goes out there to play badly"
Ireland's man of the match David Humphreys
"That start was well beyond our expectations"

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