Late penalty gives Wales narrow win

Leigh Halfpenny kicks the last minute penalty that gives Wales a narrow victory in Dublin.

Story highlights

  • Wales defeat Ireland 23-21 in their Six Nations opener on Sunday
  • A late penalty from Leigh Halfpenny ensures Wales victory in Dublin
  • It is Wales' third successive Six Nations success against their opponents
A last-minute Leigh Halfpenny penalty gave Wales a narrow 23-21 Six Nations victory against Ireland in Dublin, their third successive victory over their opponents.
With Wales trailing by a point, Ireland's Stephen Ferris was penalized for a spear tackle and Halfpenny kept his nerve to slot home the decisive kick.
"That was the hardest kick I've had to take in all my life and I was very pleased to see it go over and get the win for Wales," Halfpenny told reporters.
Ireland took an early lead through Jonathan Sexton's penalty, but Wales recovered and centre Jonathan Davies touched down in the corner for the first of his two tries.
Wales failed to build on that advantage with Rhys Priestland missing two kicks, one in front of the posts, although Sexton followed suit when he squandered a simple penalty for the home side.
However, Ireland took a 10-5 advantage when hooker Rory Best went over for a converted try from Tommy Bowe's pass.
Sexton and Halfpenny then swapped penalties to make the score 13-8 before Davies was released by George North to score his second try of the game, converted by Halfpenny, to put Wales ahead again.
Another Sexton penalty turned the match 16-15 in Ireland's direction and a Bowe try made it 21-15 to the home side.
However, Sexton missed the resulting conversion and North gave Wales hope by going over in the left hand corner to make it 21-20.
And although Halfpenny missed the conversion, he made no mistake with his penalty to hand Wales a stunning late victory.
The result leaves Wales third in the Six Nations table, behind France and England who also won their opening matches.