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Ireland will go to Japan as the top-ranked side in the world after seeing off Wales at the Aviva Stadium.

Joe Schmidt should be happy with his side after a number of front-line players returned to action and were much improved on their loss to England two weeks ago.

Wales started the game stronger but were unable to capitalise on their early dominance with Leigh Halfpenny missing a penalty in the opening minutes.

Halfpenny almost made up for his early miss with a grubber kick that almost put George North over but Rob Kearney got there just in time to dot it down.

Ireland finally got going around the 20-minute mark. Bundee Aki and Jordan Larmour combining in attack to give Ireland an attacking lineout about ten minutes out.

Ireland got it passed it out wide off the maul from the lineout and Rob Kearney crashed over for his 14th test try.

Sexton converted from out wide to put Ireland seven ahead with around 21 minutes gone.

Wales didn’t take long to respond as Halfpenny got his side on the board with a penalty after 27 minutes.

Schmidt's side were back on the attack but replacement Dan Biggar intercepted a pass from Sexton about 50 metres out.

The Welshman was inches away from scoring a try but a brilliant tackle from Robbie Henshaw saw him held up over the line.

It made little difference in the end though as Wales centre Hadleigh Parkes went in for a try on 30 minutes, knocking the referee Mathieu Raynal over while he was at it, putting Wales ahead by 3.

Ireland regained their composure and finished the first half well but were unable to add to the scoreboard, leaving it Ireland 7-10 Wales at half-time.

Joe Schmidt’s side started the second half well and James Ryan was just held up over the try line after 46 minutes.

Ireland kept the pressure on from the resultant scrum and Tadhg Furlong muscled his way over on 50 minutes. Sexton added the extras to put them ahead by four.

Rory Best left the field at the Aviva Stadium for the last time shortly after the try and received a standing ovation from the home crowd.

James Ryan wasn’t to be denied a second time and was awarded a try in the 58th minute after a quick check by the TMO.

Sexton missed the conversion but Ireland had extended their lead to nine points.

Ireland controlled proceedings from then on and although Schmidt made a number of changes to the side they maintained their dominance.

Replacement Jack Carty kicked Ireland deep into Welsh territory from a penalty within goal-kicking range.

The boys in green spent the final ten minutes camped in the Welsh 22 but were unable to score another try, leaving it Ireland 19-10 Wales.

Schmidt’s side will now head to Japan and will face Scotland in Yokohama on September 22nd.

 

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