Ireland v Wales: Key moments of Ireland's opening Six Nations game

Key moment: Johnny Sexton's late penalty rescued the draw for Ireland six minutes from time after Rhys Priestland had nudged Wales into a 16-13 lead. Ireland had been scoreless since the 27th minute before fly-half Sexton took his chance with a kick from the 10-metre line.

Talking point: So the three-in-a-row title bid is still alive for Ireland as a depleted team defied the air of pessimism to avoid defeat against a strong Welsh outfit but there is much work to be done with just a six-day turnaround before heading to Stade de France to face France next Saturday. After an excellent start the mistakes crept into Ireland's game and they will be relieved to leave Dublin with a share of the spoils.

Key man: CJ Stander left the Aviva with the man of the match award to go with his first Ireland cap and both fitted him admirably. The Munster captain took to Test rugby like a duck to water as he carried and tackle with relish as the entire Ireland back row won the breakdown battle against an all-Lions Welsh trio.

Ref watch: Jerome Garces's handling of the scrum had been a talking point before the game but there was no disputing Welsh dominance there in the first half as the Irish pack conceded four penalties and conceded a try off another. Keith Earls might consider himself fortunate not to have been sin-binned for a tip tackle on Liam Williams although the Wales ful-back did appear to jump into the collision, so the only place to go was down.

The past few meetings between these two sides had seen Ireland climb into double figures in the penalty count but this was much improved.

Penalties conceded: Ireland 7 (+1 free kick) Wales 6

Injuries: Further concerns for Ireland as both Tommy O'Donnell and Keith Earls left the field for Head Injury Assessments, neither returning. They will hope to have frontliners Sean O'Brien, Rob Kearney, Mike Ross and Cian Healy, all ruled out yesterday, back in the mix for the trip to Paris. Wales lost fly-half Dan Biggar after just 20 minutes with what appeared to be an ankle injury.

Next up: Out of the frying pan as Ireland have just six days to prepare to face Guy Noves's France in Paris on Saturday. Wales, meanwhile, return to Cardiff to prepare for the visit of Scotland later that afternoon.

 

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