Rob Howley "proud" of Welsh performance

The Wales head coach was full of praise for his players this evening

BY Cian Roche 23:10 Friday 10 March 2017, 23:10 10 Mar 2017

Rob Howley expressed immense pride in his players this evening as Wales battled to a 22-9 victory over their Irish counterparts in Cardiff this evening.

The Welsh ran in three tries and held strong as Joe Schmidt's side continued to exert pressure in search of a try of their own. Ireland were limited just kicked points from both Johnny Sexton and Paddy Jackson.

Speaking after the game, Howley said his men deserved massive credit for their performance.

"I'm just so proud of the players," he said. "We wanted an 80 minute performance. We feel since the Championship started, we should have beaten England out here.

"International rugby is about those fine margins and you can come up short. The players I thought have been outstanding since the Scotland game. 

"They've been very honest about their appraisal in the 15 or 20 minutes after the start of the second half and the hurt we felt. They wanted to go out in front of probably the best supporters in world rugby and give it everything. They wanted to give a performance that they were very proud of and I think they did that.

"They outscored one of the best sides in rugby three tries to nil. We've kept them out defensively and I'm delighted. I'm really proud of the players. They deserve a lot of credit for what has happened over the last couple of weeks. 

"Probably have got the results over the last couple of games, but tonight they deserve everything they get."

Ireland were unable to break through a stubborn Welsh defence and Howley pointed to the experience and clever play of his players.

"In international rugby, [experience] is so important. Defensively we got off our line, made our tackles and we put experienced players under pressure. That's what test rugby is all about."

Howley also pointed to the performance of George North who ran in two tries for the home side. 

"He's a quality world class international player. We all have bad games and George would be the first one to put his hand up after the Scotland game and say that he needs to do better. He certainly showed that. He got a number of touches and once he gets five metres from the line, he's very difficult to stop. 

"The try in the second half down the short-side was very smart play. We want him on the ball as much as possible."

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