|Battering Ram: George North|
Trimble was utilised throughout and dodged back inside when he gained the ball out wide to make additional yards. He didn't get a try but looked more versatile than the more experienced Tommy Bowe on the opposite wing.
Connor Murray successfully kept the Irish back line moving on his debut by playing quick ball from the ruck. He also provided fluency in the backs for Rory Best's finish after a cunning handling move between the Irish attackers.
However, George North continued to play like a back-row forward for Wales, battering off anyone who stood in his way and his Sonny Bill Williams style offloads ignited attacking opportunities from nothing.
North's brightest moment was a huge run and offload out of the back of his hand to put Jonathon Davies through for his second try. When he crossed the line himself it was equally as dynamic and he certainly looks to have a bright Test rugby career ahead of him at the age of just 19.
The other stand out performer in the first half for Wales was scrum-half Mike Phillips and although he was indecisive at times, he often dummied the ball to create space and made crucial extra yards throughout, giving Wales additional drive at the breakdown.
Rob Kearney was also clinical in both attack and defence for Ireland and played the vital ball out wide to Tommy Bowe after Bradley Davies' controversial sinbinning which Warren Gatland admitted was worth a red card post-match.
Despite Wales' George North playing like a back-row warrior, the actual Welsh back row were equally as good. Toby Faletau looked like a centre when he sidestepped and dodged past Irish defenders, so perhaps Warren Gatland should be considering a switch?!
The game was dampened by the Bradley Davies and Stephen Ferris yellow cards which were both debateable. However, despite the controversy, the game was easily the best of the weekend and provided plenty of “Ooohs” and “Aaahs” for the Aviva Stadium crowd and was full of everything that Scotland vs England lacked: excitement.
Player Ratings (Starting Teams):
Ireland: R Kearney 8/10; T Bowe 7/10, F McFadden 7/10, G D'Arcy 7/10, A Trimble 9/10; J Sexton 7/10, C Murray 8/10; C Healy 7/10, R Best 7/10, M Ross 7/10, D O'Callaghan 7/10, P O'Connell 8/10, S Ferris 7/10, S O'Brien 7/10, J Heaslip 8/10.
Wales: L Halfpenny 8/10; A Cuthbert 6/10, J Davies 8/10, J Roberts 7/10, G North 10/10; R Priestland 8/10, M Phillips 8/10; R Gill 8/10, H Bennett 7/10, A Jones 8/10, B Davies 6/10, I Evans 7/10, R Jones 8/10, S Warburton 7/10, T Faletau 9/10.
Referee: Wayne Barnes (Eng)
Touch judges: Dave Pearson (Eng), Stuart Terheege (Eng)
TV: Geoff Warren (Eng)
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