Six Nations 2017: Wales Women 7-12 Ireland Women

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Six Nations highlights: Wales Women 7-12 Ireland Women
Women's Six Nations 2017 - Wales v Ireland
Wales (0) 7
Tries: Powell-Hughes Cons: Wilkins
Ireland (7) 12
Tries: Peat, Tyrell Cons: Stapleton

Ireland stayed on course for a Grand Slam decider against England as they battled to a 12-7 win over Wales at Cardiff Arms Park.

Hannah Tyrell's corner try after 62 minutes rewarded the visitors' second-half pressure.

Lindsey Peat drove over from close range just before half-time to put Ireland 7-0 up.

Wales struck back through Shona Powell-Hughes but could not break out of defence in the final quarter.

The teams took part in a minute's applause before the anthems in tribute to Elli Norkett, the 20 year-old Ospreys and Wales winger who died in a car crash two weeks previously.

The first half looked as though it might be scoreless with both teams seeing spells of pressure ended by conceding penalties at crucial times.

Wales players pay tribute to Elli Norkett before kick-off at Cardiff Arms Park
Wales players paid tribute to Elli Norkett before kick-off at Cardiff Arms Park

But prop Peat eventually broke the deadlock just before the break when Ireland kicked a penalty to the corner, and she drove over from the line-out, with Nora Stapleton converting.

A fine break from Dyddgu Hywel put Wales on the front foot straight after the interval and Peat was yellow-carded after a series of Irish offences.

Wales took advantage of the extra player as Powell-Hughes went over from a scrum five, Robyn Wilkins chipping over the conversion to level after 44 minutes.

It was Wales' turn to lose a prop to the sin-bin as Amy Evans was penalised for a high tackle and Peat came close to grabbing a second try as she was held up on the line.

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Captain Paula Fitzpatrick was also over the line twice either side of the hour mark as her team turned the screw, but could not ground the ball.

The visitors' pressure finally paid when wing Tyrell was worked clear on the overlap in the corner after 62 minutes.

It proved to be the final score of the game as Ireland continued to dominate territory, and fly-half Stapleton was named player of the match.

Ireland host England at Donnybrook on Friday 17 March with the Six Nations title at stake, while Wales face France in Brive the following day.

Wales try-scorer Shona Powell-Hughes told BBC Wales Sport: "Playing on your own ground and not coming away with a win is always tough, but the girls dug deep and showed passion all the way through.

"With such a tough week, we performed but it didn't go our way, and we know we would have made Elli (Norkett) proud today.

"It was very emotional, but if her family can get through it, then we can, we're a team and we're one unit, so proud of the girls.

"We've all admitted it wasn't our best performance in Scotland, but we tried to put the wrongs right and I think we've done that today."

Ireland captain Paula Fitzpatrick told BBC Wales Sport: "It was a really close game and the Welsh really put it up to us with a great first half, a huge performance from them and they've really done credit to Elli Norkett.

"We came close with a couple of chances but we really had to grind it out, they had a good defence and we really had to work for it.

"I'm really looking forward to playing England, it should be a big crowd on Paddy's Night and hopefully we can fill Donnybrook, get the crowd behind us and it's going to be a cup final."

Wales: Dyddgu Hywel (Scarlets); Elen Evans (Scarlets), Kerin Lake (Ospreys), Rebecca de Filippo (Newport Gwent Dragons), Adi Taviner (Ospreys); Robyn Wilkins (Ospreys), Keira Bevan (Ospreys); Caryl Thomas (Scarlets), Carys Phillips (capt) (Ospreys), Amy Evans (Ospreys), Rebecca Rowe (Dragons), Mel Clay (Ospreys), Sioned Harries (Scarlets), Rachel Taylor (Scarlets), Shona Powell-Hughes (Ospreys).

Replacements: Lowri Harries (Scarlets), Cerys Hale (Dragons), Gwenllian Pyrs (Scarlets), Siwan Lillicrap (Ospreys), Alisha Butchers (Scarlets), Rhiannon Parker (Cardiff Blues), Elinor Snowsill (Dragons), Gemma Rowland (Dragons).

Ireland: Kim Flood; Hannah Tyrell, Jenny Murphy, Sene Naoupu, Alison Miller; Nora Stapleton, Mary Healy; Lindsay Peat, Leah Lyons, Ailis Egan; Sophie Spence, Marie Louise Reilly; Ciara Griffin, Claire Molloy, Paula Fitzpatrick (capt).

Replacements: Ciara O'Connor, Ilse van Staden, Ruth O'Reilly, Ciara Cooney, Nichola Fryday, Larissa Muldoon, Mairead Coyne.

Referee: Claire Hodnett (RFU).

Assistants: Joy Neville (IRFU), Simon Rees (WRU).

TMO: Eric Gauzins (FFR).

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