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Wales women edge tight contest

Wales held off Ireland in a tight contest at Cross Keys winning by a point. Wales went into the match desperate to get back to winning ways after defeat in Italy last week and Kris de Scossa's side held out against a dominant Irish side in the second half to win 15-14.

It was Ireland though who struck the first blow, hooker Gillian Bourke crashing over from a short range line-out for the games opening score. Full-back Niamh Briggs added the conversion from the touchline as Ireland went into an early lead.

Wales fought straight back and in their first visit into the Irish twenty-two crossed for their first try, Elen Evans slicing open the Irish defence to score under the posts. Amiee Young had no problem with the conversion to level the scores and she then kicked her side in front five minutes later with a penalty.

The Welsh backline looked incredibly dangerous with the ball in hand and they were rewarded with their second try just before the break.

Jamie Kift's chip through caused confusion in the Irish defence and Taviner capitalised, touching down in the corner to give the hosts a 15 v 7 lead at the break.

In a tight second period the scores remained unchanged until Bourke grabbed her second try with 12 minutes remaining. She scrambled over after some good work from her pack and Briggs conversion from out wide set up a tense final ten minutes, with just a solitary point between the sides.

Ireland took an early 7-0 lead when prop Gill Bourke scored in the opening minutes and the convertion from Niamh Briggs gave the visitors the best possible start. But Wales hit back and two tries and a penalty were enough for them to surge ahead. Another Bourke try meant the final few minutes were tense but the home team held on.


WALES WOMEN: Aimee Young (Bath Ladies); Mared Evans (UWIC), Adi Taviner (Neath Athletic), Elen Evans (Dolgellau), Kerin Lake (Neath Athletic); Elinor Snowsill (Cardiff Quins), Amy Day (Cross Keys); Jenny Davies (Waterloo), Rhian Bowden (Cross Keys), Catrin Edwards (Cardiff Quins), Shona Powell Hughes (Neath Athletic), Ashley Rowlands (Wasps), Lisa Newton (UWIC), Sioned Harries (UWIC), Jamie Kift (Cross Keys).

Replaccements: Lowri Harries (Neath Athletic), Caryl Thomas (Bath Ladies), Vicky Owens (UWIC), Rachel Taylor (Cardiff Quins), Laura Prosser (Pontyclun), Awen Thomas (Cross Keys), Caryl James (Cardiff Quins).

IRELAND WOMEN: Niamh Briggs (Clonmel/Munster); Niamh Kavanagh (UL Bohemians/Munster), Lynne Cantwell (Richmond/Exile), Geraldine Rea (Highfield/Munster), Mairead Kelly (UL Bohemians/Munster); Nora Stapleton (Old Belvedere/Leinster), Amy Davis (Blackrock/Leinster); Fiona Coghlan (UL Bohemians/Leinster) (capt), Gillian Bourke (Bristol/Munster), Lauren Day (Waterloo/Ulster), Laura Guest (Highfield/Munster), Marie Louise Reilly (Old Belvedere/Leinster), Carol Staunton (Galwegians/Connacht), Claire Molloy (Bristol/Connacht), Joy Neville (UL Bohemians/Munster).

Replacements: Stacey Kennedy (City of Derry/Ulster), Ailis Egan (Old Belvedere/Leinster), Deirdre O'Brien (Blackrock/Leinster), Heather O'Brien (Highfield/Munster), Larissa Muldoon (UWIC/Exile), Gillian Nolan (St. Mary's/Leinster), Jackie Shiels (Richmond/Leinster).

Referee: Federica Guerzoni (Italy)

Assistant Referees: Sean Brickell, Gareth Butler (both Wales)