Rugby World Cup 2011: Wales V. Ireland Game Recap

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Rugby World Cup 2011: Wales V. Ireland Game Recap
Stu Forster/Getty Images

It was Wales over Ireland, 22-10, in the first Quarter Final match of Rugby World Cup 2011.

The loss for the Irish marks the end of famed outside-center and captain Brian O'Driscoll's appearances in World Cup competition. Other top players for the Irish are expected to sit out the next World Cup of 2015 as well, such as No. 5 Paul O'Connell and his locking partner, No. 4 Donncha O'Callaghan, and left wing Ronan O'Gara.  

The match was easily the best the Welsh have played since their one-point loss to the defending champions South Africa on September 11.

Wales set the tone early with their outstanding defense. Early on, they were able to survive two Irish onslaughts by playing up the advantage line and forcing the Irish backs into the middle of the field where the Welsh could easily make tackles.

In the end, Wales recorded 141 tackles to Ireland's 43. It was that ability to make tackles and break up the Irish offense that lead to nine handling errors by Ireland.

Wales also showed a veteran team's ability to take advantage of the Irish errors.

Off one ruck, with the Irish fully anticipating Wales to attack right, it was Welsh half back Mike Phillips who noticed the overload and snuck left for a try.

But ultimately, it was outside center Jonathan Davies who punched the Irish ticket home when he scored the third try of the game for Wales after breaking through four Irish defenders, who looked more like they were trying to pull the cookie jar from the top shelf than make a tackle, to push the lead to 22-10.

Wales showed they are a team to be reckoned with in the final rounds of this World Cup, and the winner of England versus France will certainly have their hands full.

Wales will play again on October 15.

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