Ward can’t save Ireland from defeat to Wales

Batley's Michael Ward featured in all three of Ireland's World Cup qualifying games.
Batley's Michael Ward featured in all three of Ireland's World Cup qualifying games.

Batley Bulldogs forward Michael Ward featured in his third European Championships game for Ireland last Saturday but was unable to prevent them slipping to a 40-8 defeat at the hands of Wales.

It means Ireland, along with Scotland, will now face a further qualifying competition next year if they are to reach the 2021 World Cup in England.

Wales stormed into a 20-0 lead inside the opening 28 minutes of last Saturday’s decider in Wrexham.

The Dragons took the lead after four minutes when Chester Butler scored following a Josh Ralph kick.

James Olds missed the conversion but kicked a penalty soon after.

The hosts extended their lead following a superb length of the field move culminating in Rhodri Lloyd pouncing on a Ralph grubber kick. Olds converted and added another penalty.

Another long rangeWales attack resulted in Curtis Davies feeding Gavin Bennion to squeeze over.

Ireland hit back with a Scott Grix unconverted try.

Wales struck again when Curtis Davies was again the provider and Ben Evans did well to reach over.

Olds converted and followed up with another penalty to extend Wales’ lead to 28-4.

George King gained a consolation for Ireland two minutes later, but man of the match Ralph burst through tiring Irish defence to score. Olds converted and finishing off the scoring with another penalty goal.