14 Mar 2010

Ireland keep Six Nations dreams alive

6:43 am on 14 March 2010

Ireland kept their slim hopes of retaining the Six Nations title alive by beating Wales 27-12 at Croke Park.

Ireland, for whom captain Brian O'Driscoll won his 100th cap, made Wales fullback Lee Byrne pay for a silly first-half sin binning when tries from wing Keith Earls and scrum half Tomas O'Leary gave the hosts a lead they never looked like losing.

A poor kicking display from the Ireland first five Jonathan Sexton allowed the visitors to stay in touch but Earls' third try in two games kept the strangely subdued Welsh at bay.

Ireland need top-of-the-table France to suffer an unlikely loss against either Italy or England and make up ground on points difference to stand a chance of defending their six nations crown.