Tyler Morgan attempts to shackle the Ireland attack.
Wales Under 20 suffered a disappointing 35-21 defeat in the Junior World Championship at the hands of Ireland in Pukekohe.
Tries from Tyler Morgan, a penalty try and James Benjamin had Byron Hayward's side leading 21-17 early in the second half. However, Ireland finished strongly and made up for their defeat at the hands of France with 18 unanswered points.
It was a far from inspiring start for Wales with Ireland rushing in to a 14-0 lead inside as many minutes. First, a mix up between Joshua Adams and Ashley Evans allowed Ireland to establish themselves in the Wales 22.
Tight head prop Rory Burke took up the ball and powered his way over for outside half Ross Byrne to convert.
Wales, surprisingly, were experiencing one or two difficulties at scrum time and when referee Federico Anselmi penalised them for a second time, yards from the Ireland line, a second try ensued. Captain and no.8 Jack O'Donoghue tapped the free kick and drove to the line allowing Byrne to send in Garry Ringrose for a try that was, once again, converted.
Stung in to action, Wales found their feet and a series of breaks deep into Irish territory brought their reward in the 21st minute. A driving maul allowed scrum half Luc Jones time to feed wing Morgan who came in from the blindside. The Newport and Dragons wing flew into midfield and outstripped the Irish defence for fellow Dragon O'Brien to convert.
A Byrne penalty redressed the balance, but by now Wales were beginning to get to grips with the set piece and Ireland were starting to experience difficulty. Argentine referee Anselmi awarded the young Welshman a series of penalties in the Ireland 22, shortly before half time, and finally ran out of patience with prop Peter Dooley and sent the loose head for 10 minutes in the sin bin.
Two further scrum penalties later and the official pointed between the posts for a penalty try, O'Brien converting taking the half time score to 17-14v to the Irish.
A minute into the second half, Ireland were down to 13 when wing Alex Wootton was carded for dropping his knees into the back of O'Brien who had fallen to the floor to pick up the ball from a kick on half way.
A wonderful break from Will Boyde set up Wales for their next opportunity, but they were unable to make their numerical advantage count initially as Ireland prevented quick release. However, captain Steffan Hughes opted against a kick for goal and the side was rewarded for their ambition at a scrum close to the Irish line when no.8 Benjamin controlled a free-wheeling scrum to touch down. O'Brien converted for good measure.
Ireland were far from finished and when replacement Tom Williams missed touch, the ball was worked into the Wales 22 for Ringrose to reach out and touch down. Byrne converted and added a penalty to give Ireland a six point lead as the game moved into the final quarter.
When Jack Dixon was yellow carded for a dangerous tackle, Byrne missed the ensuing penalty and Wales were off the hook, albeit down to 14 men.
Unfortunately, Byrne found his range nine minutes from time and the nine point gap was too much for Wales to close. In fact it was Ireland who scored again, four minutes from time when Ringrose was again to the fore as full back Cian Kelleher raced in at the corner.
Tries: Tyler Morgan, penalty try, James Benjamin
Cons: Angus O'Brien (3)
Rory Burke, Garry Ringrose (2), Cian Kelleher
Cons: Ross Byrne (3)
Pens: Ross Byrne (3)
Ashley Evans (Ospreys, Afon Bagshaw RGC 68); Tyler Morgan (Dragons), Steffan Hughes (capt, Scarlets), Jack Dixon (Dragons), Joshua Adams (Scarlets); Angus O'Brien (Dragons, Ethan Davies Dragons 64), Luc Jones (Dragons, Tom Williams Blues 45); Nicky Smith (Ospreys, Luke Garrett Dragons 78), Elliot Dee (Dragons, Scott Otten Ospreys 59), Nicky Thomas (Ospreys, Callum Lewis Blues 69), Joe Davies (Dragons, Scott Andrews Dragons 63), Rory Thornton (Ospreys), Olly Cracknell (RGC), Will Boyde (Carmarthen, Scott Matthews Dragons 59) James Benjamin (Dragons)
The Half a Game initiative is currently sweeping across Wales and proving a major success. The scheme aims to give every young player at least half a game every weekend. WRU TV recently visited a festival in Narberth where clubs have fully embraced the initiative.
Both Bargoed and Swansea were seeking their first win of the Principality Premiership season this afternoon. It proved a fruitful day for the hosts - not only did they win, but Bargoed claimed a try bonus point.
Cardiff managed to keep their unbeaten record at home intact, but only just as Bridgend made them work extremely hard before the Blue and Blacks secured a hard fought Principality Premiership win at the BT Sport Arms Park last night.
Former Wales back row Andy Powell gives a guided tour of The Wern, home of Merthyr RFC, who are determined to prove a lot of people wrong and make their mark in their first season in the Principality Premiership.
Wales Sevens head coach Gareth Williams looks back on the Rio Sevens success where he helped GB win silver. He believes the successful campaign is a huge boost to his Welsh squad as they prepare for another World Series, as WRU TV's Graeme Gillespie discovers
British and Irish Lions head coach Warren Gatland will be heading back home to take on the All Blacks next year where for him, success for 2017 is all about going to New Zealand and winning a Test Series.
Last week all roads led to Eugene Cross Park where defending champions Ebbw Vale hosted this season's launch of the Principality Premiership. WRU TV's Graeme Gillespie was there to capture the thoughts of Damien Hudd, captain of Ebbw Vale, and WRU Head of Performance, Geraint John.
Llandovery made it three in a row when they defeated Aberavon in the final of the National Foster's 7s at BT Sport Cardiff Arms Park on Sunday. On another eventful day of sevens, Newport claimed the Plate and the Dragons won the women's crown
Last week saw Cardiff welcome players from around the world for the 21st Golden Oldies Festival. The tournament features players over 35 years of age, and this year's event saw a select few represent the WRU in a 'friendly' against the Wooden Spoon.
Wales Under 18 captain Callum Bradbury is delighted to have seen his side claim a narrow 18-17 victory against a strong SA Schools 'A' side to end the three-match Under 19 International Series in South Africa on a high note.