Wales Rugby League




13th November 2017, 09:13


Wales fall to an Ireland side packed with Super League players


By Ian Golden at Nib Stadium, Perth - photo by Ian Lovell

Ireland's experience was far too much for Wales on Sunday as they cruised to a victory that was still not enough to take them through to the knockout stages of the World Cup.

The last time these two nations met was in Bray just over two years ago where Wales ran out easy 30-4 winners. But this was a far stronger Ireland squad who had recruited well from Super League with heritage players whilst Wales were arguably at their weakest since 2014 with many of their Welsh born Super League players missing be it for injury or unavailabilities, something that Ireland captain Liam Finn was critical of on behalf of the Welsh after the game.

The match saw the departure of Phil Joseph from the professional game, the Welsh vice-captain announcing his retirement before the tournament, however his team mate Christiaan Roets, who was also hoping to also have his swansong yesterday, was left out of the side by Wales coach John Kear.  

Kear did the honourable thing and gave his two as yet unused players in Gavin Bennion and Josh Ralph a chance to star.

The Irish were strong from the off. Liam Kay went on a storming run and was only stopped in his tracks by Elliot Kear. Winning a second set, they continued to look for an opening try but the Welsh defence was up to the challenge.

When they next got the ball they nearly touched down but Regan Grace just about got in the way to prevent an opener.

The first Irish try always looked to be on its way and it came on eight minutes. Liam Finn made a clean break and Api Pewhairangi was there to receive the pass and ground. Finn converted.

Wales nearly got a try back 24 minutes in and it was Grace who was just pushed out into touch before he touched down to score what would have been a class winger's try. Matty Fozard appealed to referee Ben Thaler to go to the video referee but to no avail. As it happens, everyone saw in the stadium that Thaler was right as the Port Talbot born St Helens star did have a foot out.

Ireland got their second try eight minutes before the break. Oliver Roberts went over from short range and Finn converted again.

And they got their third moments later when Joe Philbin touched down under the sticks and Finn had an easy third goal.

It didn't stop there. There was still time for Finn to add a try before the break to stamp his side's dominance on the first half. Finn's conversion attempt hit the post as the hooter sounded. 22-0 to the Irish at the break.

It was a bruiser of a second half with neither side wanting to give way. Wales had got more into the game and their try from Ben Morris on 58 minutes was well deserved and got the loudest cheer of the day from a crowd containing a number of British ex-pats in addition to the hundreds who had travelled over from the UK.

Ireland nearly addressed the balance. It looked to many that Oliver Roberts had got one back for the men in green but it was ruled out when sent to the video referee.

Roberts wasn't to be denied. The next opportunity he got, the Huddersfield forward barged his way past the Welsh backline and Finn converted.

It was left to Toronto's Liam Kay to finish the job with Finn again kicking the extras.



1  Scott Grix (Wakefield Trinity)

2  Shannon McDonnell (Camden Rams)

3  Ed Chamberlain (Widnes Vikings)

4  Api Pewhairangi (London Broncos)

5  Liam Kay  (Toronto Wolfpack)

6  Joe Keyes (Bradford Bulls)

7  Liam Finn(C) (Wakefield Trinity)

8  Anthony Mullally (Leeds Rhinos)

9  Michael Mcilorum (Wigan Warriors)

10 Kyle Amor (St. Helens)

11 Louie McCarthy-Scarsbrook (St. Helens)

15 Will Hope  (Sheffield Eagles)

13 Brad Singleton (Leeds Rhinos)

Subs (all used):

12 Oliver Roberts (Huddersfield Giants)

14 George King (Warrington Wolves)

16 Joe Philbin (Warrington Wolves)

17 Matty Hadden (Rochdale Hornets)


Tries: Pewhairangi (8), Roberts (31, 66), Philbin (34), Finn (39), Kay (74).

Goals: Finn 5/6



1   Elliot Kear (London Broncos)

2   Rhys Williams (London Broncos)

3   Michael Channing (London Broncos)

17 Ben Morris (St Helens)

5   Regan Grace (St Helens)

6   Courtney Davies (Gloucestershire All Golds)

23 Josh Ralph (Tweed Head Seagulls)

8  Craig Kopczak (Salford Red Devils) (C)

14  Steve Parry (Gloucestershire All Golds)

16  Ben Evans (London Broncos)

13  Morgan Knowles (St Helens)

9  Matty Fozard (Sheffield Eagles)

10  Philip Joseph (Workington Town)

Subs (all used):

11   Rhodri Lloyd (Swinton Lions)

12   Joe Burke (Oldham)

15 Gavin Bennion (Rochdale Hornets)

18 Andrew Gay (South Wales Ironmen)


Tries: Morris (58)

Goals: Davies 1/1


Scoring Sequence: 6-0, 12-0, 18-0, 22-0, 22-6, 28-6, 34-6


Referee: Ben Thaler (England)

Half-time: 22-0

Attendance: 14,744