|Rugby World Cup warm-up|
|Ireland (7) 19|
|Tries: Kearney, Furlong, Ryan Cons: Sexton 2|
|Wales (10) 10|
|Tries: Parkes Con: Halfpenny Pen: Halfpenny|
Ireland will travel to Japan for the World Cup on the back of two wins over Wales after defeating Warren Gatland’s side 19-10 in Dublin.
Rob Kearney and Hadleigh Parkes traded first half tries before scores from Tadhg Furlong and James Ryan put the hosts in control after the break.
Welsh fly-half Rhys Patchell was replaced in the first half after failing a Head Injury Assessment.
Injury also forced off Ireland’s Cian Healy and Keith Earls.
The game also gave the Aviva Stadium crowd the chance to say farewell to departing duo captain Rory Best and head coach Joe Schmidt.
With warm-ups now complete, both sides will travel to Japan next week with Ireland beginning their campaign against Scotland on 22 September and Wales facing Georgia a day later.
Ferocious Welsh start amid faltering Irish line-out
Having fielded a weakened team for last week’s meeting in Cardiff, Gatland returned to near full-strength for the final warm-up match as Wales started at a ferocious pace.
The visitors could have led by double scores only for Leigh Halfpenny to uncharacteristically miss a regulation penalty before Kearney’s timely interception denied George North from latching onto Halfpenny’s kick through.
Meanwhile the hosts continued to struggle at the set-piece as Best, in his final home appearance before retiring, misfired from his first two line-outs.
Ireland’s third line-out came as they entered the Wales 22 for the first time after 20 minutes, with James Ryan collecting the throw before the ball was moved left through the phases as Kearney crossed.
Henshaw marks return in style
With Ireland’s crucial World Cup opener against Scotland just two weeks away, all eyes were on Johnny Sexton as the 2018 World Rugby player of the year made his first appearance of the warm-up games.
After his first involvement saw the veteran fly-half send his restart directly into touch, Sexton settled well to conduct Ireland’s attack with typical efficiency.
However it was Sexton’s Leinster team-mate Henshaw, playing his first international game since Ireland’s opening Six Nations defeat by England in February, who made the biggest impact upon his return.
With questions hanging over the Irish defence following their 42-point thrashing against England, Henshaw’s return inspired a vastly improved display in that regard, and further underpinned his importance to Schmidt’s gameplan.
It was Henshaw’s outstanding try-line tackle that denied Dan Biggar a certain score after the replacement fly-half had picked off Sexton’s pass on halfway.
However Henshaw was powerless to stop Parkes from bulldozing his way over just moments later, after the Scarlets centre picked a brilliant line to rip through Ireland’s defence.
Second half belongs to Ireland
Where in the first half it was Wales who controlled the pace of the game, Ireland were the dominant force after the restart, setting up camp inside the Welsh 22.
Prop Furlong drove over from short range after a sustained spell of pressure before Ryan did the same eight minutes later to give the hosts a two-score lead.
Wales, by contrast, struggled to keep hold of the ball and could not keep their penalty count down enough to release the pressure valve.
Indeed referee Mathieu Raynal eventually lost patience, sending replacement lock Adam Beard to the bin with two minutes remaining.
Test match intensity comes at a cost
Although the benefits of a warm-up game played with Test match intensity are clear to see, both sides will bemoan losing players to injury before the tournament in Japan has began.
Patchell, who edged out Jarrod Evans for Wales’ back-up fly-half spot following an inspired performance off the bench last week, did not return from a first half Head Injury Assessment having taken several heavy hits.
Ireland too lost out after prop Healy was removed at half-time following a HIA, before Earls limped off midway through the second half.
Ireland: Kearney; Larmour, Henshaw, Aki, Earls; Sexton, Murray; Healy, Best (c), Furlong, Ryan, Kleyn, Stander, van der Flier, Conan.
Replacements: Cronin, Kilcoyne, Porter, Henderson, Ruddock, McGrath, Carty, Ringrose
Wales: Halfpenny; North, Davies, Parkes, Adams; Patchell, Williams; Jones, Dee, Tomas Francis, Ball, Jones (c), Wainwright, Tipuric, Moriarty.
Replacements: Ken Owens, Nicky Smith, Dillon Lewis, Adam Beard, Josh Navidi, Gareth Davies, Dan Biggar, Liam Williams.