Six Nations 2017: Gutted Joe Schmidt points to Irish mistakes

Rory Best: Ireland let Wales off the hook

Ireland head coach Joe Schmidt rued his team's error count after their Six Nations title hopes were all but ended by Wales in the Principality Stadium.

The home side capitalised on Irish mistakes and scored three tries in Friday's 22-9 victory in Cardiff.

"I really admired the way the team clawed their way back but we made a couple of errors and those things accumulate," said Schmidt.

"We undid ourselves effectively and set ourselves up to be scored against."

Ireland conceded 10 points while Johnny Sexton was in the sin-bin at the start of the second half and the Ireland coach said the fly-half's absence was punished by the hosts.

"The yellow card was crucial - 10 points in 10 minutes," admitted Schmidt.

"I feel a bit sorry for Johnny. He's trapped in by three players and it's hard to get out.

Rob Kearney says Ireland had their chances to beat Wales

"But when that happens close to the line that sometimes happens.

Schmidt said his team "got stung" but believes they will respond with a good performance in next week's Six Nations finale against England at the Aviva Stadium.

"Sometimes these things spin on very little margins," he said.

"Next week you could convert two or three things and you win those games. We've got to make sure we roll our sleeves up and make sure that happens because there is still a lot to play for.

"We can still finish in the top three."

Wales' championship hopes were extinguished after defeats by England and Scotland and man of the match Rhys Webb was happy the home side silenced their critics with George North scoring twice and Jamie Roberts adding a late third.

"Everyone was writing us off week in, week out, but we didn't become a bad team overnight," said scrum-half Webb.

An outpouring of emotion from Welsh wing George North after he scores the opening try against Ireland
An outpouring of emotion from Welsh wing George North after he scores the opening try against Ireland

"We felt we performed well in the last three games but we played for the full 80 minutes and put in one hell of a shift against a very good Irish side."

Ireland captain Rory Best admitted the visitors "only have ourselves to blame" after seeing their Six Nations title hopes suffer a huge blow.

"We are bitterly disappointed. Wales are a quality side but we made a lot of mistakes," Best said.

"Barring at 6-5, we never really got in front or dominated the way we'd have liked and had a few chances in the 22 that we didn't convert.

"They put us under pressure but we have to deal with that better. We put a lot of ball down and it wasn't really like us. We're normally more clinical than that.

"It's devastating. We came here expecting to win."

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