Lewis said, “I think we deserved the win in the end. It was pleasing to see the improvement from last weekend. You can see the difference in the girls’ performance with an extra game and an extra week’s training under their belt.”
Wales showed intent from the off but the Irish were equally determined and scored the only try of the first-half through Linda Djougang after an initial break from full-back Eimear Considine. Despite some great ball-carrying from the likes of Gwenllian Pyrs, Siwan Lillicrap and Beth Lewis, Wales were unable to put any points on the board and went in 5-0 at the break.
Ireland came out strong again in the second-half and were rewarded with a try for Enya Breen at 44 minutes. Wilkins’ penalty came soon after, closing the gap to 10-3. The pendulum began to turn with Harries’ score and although Ireland hit straight back with a penalty of their own, Wales had the final word with Bevan’s score at the death.
“We can take something from most areas of the game today – forwards and backs,” added Lewis. Our workrate was better and we showed more cohesion. Last weekend was difficult – it’s tough playing the first match of any series but we made big steps forward today and hopefully we can build on that ahead of Scotland next Sunday.
“Ireland put us under a lot of pressure, especially in the first half but we hung in there in defence and scored some good tries too.”
“Our character was admirable and if we can show that again next week and produce similar level of performance, we will give ourselves a good chance.”
Chris Horsman added, “We’re pleased for the girls getting the victory at the end but the most important part of the day was the improved performance.
“The Tests are important but it’s all part of closing the performance gap with the best nations in the world so we’ll take a lot out of yesterday’s game.”
Four players received their first caps against Ireland, building on the eight players capped against Spain a week earlier.
Wales play Scotland in Scotstoun next Sunday (3pm, live on S4C) before two historic fixtures – against the first Women’s Crawshay’s team coached by Rachel Taylor and Liza Burgess (Ebbw Vale, Sat 23 Nov 2.30pm) and the first Wales Women v Barbarians match as part of the Principality Stadium double-header.
Wales team v Ireland:
Wales team v Ireland:
Kayleigh Powell (Ospreys); Paige Randall (Cardiff Blues), Alecs Donovan (Ospreys), Robyn Wilkins (Cardiff Blues), Courtney Keight (Ospreys); Elinor Snowsill (Ospreys), Ffion Lewis (Scarlets); Gwenllian Pyrs (RGC), Kelsey Jones (Ospreys), Amy Evans (Ospreys), Natalia John (Ospreys), Gwen Crabb (Ospreys), Alex Callender (Scarlets), Bethan Lewis (Scarlets), Siwan Lillicrap (capt, Ospreys)
Replacements: Carys Phillips (Ospreys), Gwenllian Jenkins (Scarlets), Cerys Hale (Cardiff Blues), Sioned Harries (Scarlets), Robyn Lock (Ospreys), Keira Bevan (Ospreys), Megan Webb (Cardiff Blues), Rebekah O’Loughlin (Cardiff Blues)