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Ireland sneak a win in Wales

Ireland broke Welsh hearts with a late try to snatch a victory away from home in their opening 6 Nations game.

Ireland hooker Gillian Bourke crashed over in the corner with the match winning try to deny Wales at Aberavon's Port Talbot Athletic Ground, after a tightly contested affair.

Wales had edged in front with 11 minutes remaining with a well taken Laura Prosser penalty, but the home side were unable to hold out the Irish in a tense finale to leak a try with just five minutes to go.

Ireland took the lead in the 22nd minute when second row Sophie Spence crashed over in the corner. Full back Niamh Briggs put over an excellent conversion from the touchline for a 7-0 lead.

Wales hit back through full back Rosie Fletcher who raced over just before halftime. The Wales pack had gone through the phases with Shona Powell Hughes and Gemma Hallett prominent, when Fletcher appeared from nowhere and ghosted over to score. Elinor Snowsill slotted the conversion to level the scores as both teams entered the halftime break confident of a victory.

Wales stepped it up in the second half and twice were over the tryline but twice were denied by handling errors. Caryl James had the home crowd jumping for joy in the 65th minute when she looked to have scored in the corner but Ireland’s Alison Miller had kicked the ball away quickly just as the winger was about to touch down.

Eventually Prosser put Wales in front with her successful penalty four minutes later while Ireland were down to 14 players.

Ireland refused to throw in the towel with Briggs a constant threat with the ball in hand. Ireland pushed incredibly hard and were rewarded with the winning score in the corner.

Wales coach Rhys Edwards said. "That was the best performance the girls have put in over the past two years. The scrum was dominant and our defence was always in control. It's a real kick in the teeth to lose a game that was there for the taking but we go to France next week knowing that if we repeat today's performance, we've got a great chance of coming away with a positive result.

Women's Six Nations 2013
(after 1 round)

1 England110076076122
2 Ireland11001210222
3 Italy11001312122
4 France10011213-120
5 Wales10011012-220
6 Scotland1001076-7600

World Cup qualification: current standings
(Based on 2012 and 2013 results, top two teams - other than England and France - from Six Nations qualify for 2014 World Cup. Other two teams playoff in a tournament in Spain.)

Qualify Ireland64021215170188
Qualify Wales620460125-65104
Play-off Italy620468169-10184
Play-off Scotland600612225-21320