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Wales beat Ireland to finish seventh and secure 2021 World Cup spot

Ireland v WalesIreland (7) 17Tries: Fitzpatrick, Peat, Fitzhenry Con: StapletonWales (10) 27Tries: Thomas, Harries, Phillips, Powell-Hughes Cons: Wilkins 2 Pens: WilkinsWales won the battle in the seventh place play-off at the Women’s World Cup in Belfast on Saturday, with the prize a place in the 2021 tournament.Another loss at Kingspan Stadium completed a dismal tournament for Tom Tierney’s Ireland side.Ireland appeared to be in control when they took the early advantage, but Wales hit back with 22 unanswered points either side of half-time.

The top seven finishers in Ireland reach the 2021 World Cup automatically. The victory for Wales gave them a measure of revenge for Ireland’s 12-7 Six Nations win in March.Wales made six changes from the thrashing by Canada which include two positional switches and it was perhaps little surprise that the hosts started on the front foot.With Wales hammered 52-0 by Canada in the fifth-place semi-final on Tuesday, Ireland were favourites heading into the match but home confidence was always unlikely to be high after Australia overturned the pool defeat to beat the Irish in midweek.However, Ireland started the match camped on the try line and following a driving maul captain Paula Fitzpatrick crossed for the opening score, converted by Nora Stapleton.Wales were soon back into things as fly-half Robyn Wilkins slotted over a penalty on 26 minutes before Caryl Thomas touched down after Wales managed a powerful driving maul of their own, with Wilkins’ conversion giving Wales a slender 10-7 advantage at the break.Quick-thinking by Sioned Harries then put Wales further in front after she touched down following a five metre scrum and Wilkins again added the extras.

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Wales sensed their supremacy was beginning to tell and they gave themselves a cushion when Carys Phillips added another try as Ireland struggled with ill-discipline and saw their captain yellow-carded.Wales held a 22-7 advantage for more than 20 minutes in the second half before Lindsay Peat reduced the arrears after a five metre scrum.However, hopes of a comeback were dashed when replacement Shona Powell-Hughes spotted a gap and gave Wales a huge advantage with 10 minutes remaining.Ireland needed a huge response, but only managed to score through Katie Fitzhenry’s consolation try after hard work from the Irish forwards.Ireland: Hannah Tyrrell; Eimear Considine, Katie Fitzhenry, Jeamie Deacon, Alison Miller; Nora Stapleton, Nicole Cronin; Lindsay Peat, Cliodhna Moloney, Ailis Egan; Ciara Cooney, Marie-Louise Reilly; Paula Fitzpatrick (capt), Ciara Griffin, Heather O’Brien.Replacements: Leah Lyons, Isle Van Staden, Ciara O’Connor, Sophie Spence, Ashleigh Baxter, Larissa Muldoon, Sene Naoupu, Mairead Coyne.Wales: Elinor Snowsill; Elen Evans, Gemma Rowland, Hannah Jones, Jasmine Joyce; Robyn Wilkins, Keira Bevan; Caryl Thomas, Carys Phillips (capt), Amy Evans; Siwan Lillicrap, Mel Clay; Alisha Butchers, Rachel Taylor, Sioned HarriesReplacements: Kelsey Jones, Gwenllian Pyrs, Cerys Hale, Shona Powell-Hughes, Lleucu George, Sian Moore, India Berbillion, Jodie Evans
Source: Rugby Union bbc

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