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"We kept them to a blank score.Shaun Edwards always says defence wins games and that was the case".

Wales overcame the Italians before slumping to defeats by England and Scotland, and find themselves contemplating a third consecutive Six Nations loss for the first time since 2007.

Wales winger George North experienced perhaps his worst game for his country against Scotland, when the Welsh shipped 20 unanswered points in a woeful second-half showing.

Among the most heartened by Wales' rout of Ireland would have been Warren Gatland, the British and Irish Lions coach who was present at the Principality Stadium to see a number of big names place one foot on the plane for New Zealand.

An unchanged Wales side upped the pressure as half time approached and were rewarded by a successful Leigh Halfpenny kick two minutes before the break, moments after Sexton was sent to the sin bin.

The Ireland women's hopes of a Six Nations Grand Slam is still on after victory over Wales.

With about 10 minutes left to play, Ireland were driving towards the Welsh line and looked set to cross over for a try that would have given them the chance to retake the lead. I don't know. I think we would have scored anyway.

Ireland captain Rory Best spoke of the "silly little mental errors" that cost the team - a second-half knock-on by prop Tadhg Furlong with the line in sight, a botched catch-and-drive from a lineout just when Wales was hanging on, that late driving maul that Henshaw needlessly interfered with.

"We feel, internally, we should have beaten England, but worldwide rugby is about fine margins and we've come up short".

Ireland were quick out of the traps themselves as impressive Leinster full-back Jordan Larmour countered and fed skipper Nash, who beat two defenders to finish in the corner after six minutes.

"We have felt a lot of hurt, but they deserve a lot of credit for what has happened in the last couple of weeks because the results have not gone our way".

"As coaches, we discussed giving the opportunity to the side to redeem themselves for the second-half performance against Scotland", Howley said.

Here, Press Association Sport examines five things we learned from the penultimate round of the Championship. "We thought it could help us and it gave us energy", added Howley.


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