Ireland are three from three in the Six Nations Championship after a heart stopping win over Wales at the Aviva Stadium on Saturday afternoon. England scored two early tries and looked like they were sailing, before Wales showed its mettle and nearly mounted a dramatic comeback - a try from Gareth Anscombe was contentiously disallowed with 20 minutes to play.
Just as Wales went for the killer blow, an intercept from Jacob Stockdale from the ten meter line - He went under the posts with Carbery converting. We didn't stay connected we had guys doing different things and I think we can fix a lot of that over the next two weeks. They had been purely on the backfoot but after 22 minutes Wales had the lead 10-5.
With the interval looming, Naoupu, Ireland's midfield workhorse, brilliantly pierced the Welsh defence from a Briggs pass, the fast-paced attack seeing Naoupu link with Katie Fitzhenry who was hauled down just short of the line by Hannah Bluck. Halfpenny made no mistake with the conversion and sprinted back to the halfway line so that the game could restart.
Wales defeated Scotland 18-17 in their opening fixture, before a thumping 52-0 reverse at the hands of champions England.
One of Ireland's tasks was to absorb the loss of 93 caps worth of experience in the absence of Tadhg Furlong, Iain Henderson and Robbie Henshaw. Wings Steff Evans and Liam Williams linked superbly down the left flank, and Shingler popped up on the opposite flank to take the scoring pass from back row partner Josh Navidi.
The breeze behind Wales proved problematic for Lyons' early lineout throws, two crooked efforts were pulled up but Railway Union lock Aoife McDermott - a late inclusion on her debut for the ill Nichola Fryday - did have one well-timed take.
With Sexton hobbling off, Conor Murray stepped up to secure Ireland some breathing space with a penalty four minutes from time, but Wales were not done.
Wales had a try of their own in the first half through Gareth Davies with Halfpenny Converting and slotting another penalty as well. How could Wales have only a third of possession and even less territory, yet lead for most of the first half and be in a position to...
That Wales then narrowed the gap to seven points through Aaron Shingler's 62-minute try was a testament to the visitors' desire and resilience for Ireland surely should have been out of sight by that point. They launched another and, as the clocked ticked into the 42nd minute of the half, center Bundee Aki reached out to score. Sexton added another simple two, sending the men in green into the dressing rooms with a slender 15-13 lead.
Ireland lie third in the table, six points behind England and France, with Wales fourth on four points. Flanker Dan Leavy ended 11 phases by barging over with a Sexton push.
"I think we have an opportunity to see new players come into the squad without making too many changes and finish the championship well", said Gatland. "So we have to make these home games count, especially this one coming up".
At 14 points behind, Wales sent on reinforcements, finally saw some ball, and opened up.