Brave Wales rise to the occasion for Howley

With a potential championship decider against England to look forward to in Dublin, it was not surprising that it was the Irish fans who sang and danced their way to the Principality Stadium.

He scored a try against Italy, playing through the pain barrier after suffering a thigh injury, then missed the England game before experiencing an afternoon to forget as Scotland - and their wings Tommy Seymour and Tim Visser in particular - sent Wales packing.

Schmidt's side registered a maiden calendar-year clean sweep over the southern hemisphere's big three superpowers in 2016 too, but have now slipped to Six Nations losses in Scotland and Wales.

"He's a quality, world-class global player", Wales interim head coach Rob Howley said.

"We knew there would be a reaction and against one of the best sides in rugby you have to play like that both with and without the ball", he said.

"I think the way we played showed what we can do". They wanted to go out in front of the best supporters in world rugby and give a performance they could be proud of and they certainly did that. "It will be a huge game".

It also silenced the critics who were out in force following Wales' implosion against Scotland two weeks ago, when Wales' Murrayfield hosts scored 20 unanswered second half points and North's below-par defensive performance came under an intense spotlight. Joe Schmidt says Ireland won't be targeting the Northampton man but after his struggles against Scotland, North can expect high balls to rain down on top of him during the early exchanges.




There is a lot of experience in our group and you don't become a bad team overnight.

The highlight, of course, was beating New Zealand for the first time, a 40-29 victory that ended the All Blacks' tier-one world record of 18 straight wins.

"It's berserk, thinking that 2010 was my first game out here, and I am still going now", North said.

"They are so used to competing on the last day of the championship to win or lose the championship".

UNDER-20′S BID for the Six Nations title were scuppered by a free-flowing Wales performance at Eirias Park tonight.

"But we'll learn from this defeat and come back stronger against England next week. We expect a reaction on Friday night", said Howley, in interim charge in the absence of the Lions-seconded Warren Gatland.

"We just make, on our slightly off days, a couple of silly unforced errors, which at this level are massive".

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