21st July 2002, 17:37
2002 Wales A 52 Ireland A 20
The winner-takes-all decider is on.
The winner-takes-all decider is on. The first formal amateur rugby league Four Nations tournament will be decided when Wales take on England at Cheltenham in September.
England, in the shape of the Rugby League Conference Lionhearts, beat Scotland 58-8 on Saturday to follow their opening round 32-10 win in Ireland. And yesterday (SUNDAY) at Old Penarthians RFC in Penarth, Wales cruised to a 52-20 win over the Irish to add to their opening 44-20 win in Scotland. The Lionhearts will inevitably start the deciding match as favourites, but Wayne Williams's Welsh side built self-confidence with every score yesterday.
And with newly-appointed GB amateur team manager Neil Baxter making the Wales-Ireland game his first official appearance, the prospect of facing the touring Australian Aboriginal side this autumn also loomed large. Wales had a dream start when second-rower Gareth Morgan finished off a slick move to score on the right and the lead was quickly doubled when Liam Doubler added the finishing touch to another fluid move. Irish loose-forward Mark O'Connell pulled a try back but Wales led 18-8 at the interval when Rich Singleton intercepted a pass near his own line and went 90 yards for the game's best score.
Singleton also kicked six of Wales's eight goals, Liam Doubler and Gareth Kerr chipping in while the Welsh loose-forward was off the field. Wales started the second half as they did the first with their huge interchange prop Wes Palmer making the perfect impact by rampaging home from 50 yards for the first of his two tries.
Dave Jenkins added Wales's fifth try when he supported wing Richard Pepperill to take the inside pass and Wales were safe when Pete Gooding's opened himself a gap with a delicious dummy on the right, Matt Cannon went in from long-range, and Pete Moore jinked over after a dazzling move on the left.
Ireland were beaten, but never bowed, and Gerry Williams's try from dummy-half and wingers Carl de Chenu and Martin Nunan's scores in their respective corners meant they could travel home with heads held high. For the Welsh, there is the small matter of a confrontation with the old enemy to look forward to.
WALES DRAGONS 52
Tries: G Morgan, L Doubler, R Singleton, W Palmer (2), D Jenkins, P Gooding, M Cannon, P Moore;
Goals: R Singleton (6), B Kerr, L Doubler.
Team: M Cannon (Hemel); R Pepperill (Coventry), S Williams (Cardiff), L Doubler (Hemel), B Kerr (Teesside); G Hatherway (Hemel), S O'Kelly (Swansea), G Hughes (Uwic), G Honor (Uwic), A Loxton (Cardiff), G Morgan (Uwic/Cardiff), D Jenkins (Loughborough), R Singleton (Uwic/Cardiff). Subs (all used): W Palmer (Cardiff), A Jones (Cardiff), P Gooding (Cardiff), P Moore (Uwic/Cardiff).
IRELAND WOLFHOUNDS 20
Tries: M O'Connell, G Williams, C de Chenu, M Nunan;
Goals: M Hyde (2).
Team: Ireland: M McAuley; C de Chenu, D Hancock, D Billings, M Nunan; P Coles, M Hyde; G Molloy, N Howard, M Martin, R Hartas, S Wilson, M O'Connell. Subs (all used): G Williams, P O'Connor, Nicholson, B Mason.
Date: Sat Jul 20
Referee: Paul Stockman (Selby).