Wales into semis

8 October 2011 07:41 am - 0     - {{hitsCtrl.values.hits}}

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Wales booked a place in the semi-final stage of the 2011 Rugby World Cup with a 22-10 win over Ireland in the first quarter-final played in Wellington today -- the first time they made the last four since the inaugural tournament in 1987.

The Welsh scored first through influential winger Shane Williams in the third minute, with Rhys Priestland converting. Ireland then sustained pressure right through the half, kicking for touch instead of going for goal as they looked for a try of their own, but had little success against the miserly Wales defence. The Irish scored their first points when Ronan O’Gara put over a penalty in front of the posts in the 24th minute. But it was soon cancelled out when Leigh Halfpenny scored a penalty from the half-way line, the first half finishing 10-3 Wales .

The Irish looked to keep up the pressure in the second half and gave themselves a chance when Keith Earls scored in the 45th minute to bring them level with the Welsh. But in the 51st minute, against the run of play Mike Phillips scored an excellent try to put the Welsh back on top, though the conversion was not successful. Ireland, looking for points, started making too many mistakes as they, time and again, looked clueless on how to beat the Welsh defence. The final nail in the coffin was driven in, in the 64th minute when Jonathan Davies broke through the Irish defensive line to give them a 12-point advantage at 22-10.

There was no coming back from thereon for the Irish, as they struggle to break the Welsh line continued. Not even Sean O'Brien at his best was enough, as Wales repeatedly turned over the ball, eventually denying the Irish their first semi-final place in Rugby World Cup history.

Wales will next play the winner of the second semi-final between France and England next week.

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