Shark Frizell scores on debut for Wales
Wales put on a confident display in their only Four Nations warm-up as they restored national rugby pride, sailing to a 30-6 win over old Celtic rivals Ireland in Neath on Saturday night.
Iestyn Harris gave 21 of his players a chance to shine, with just Chris Beasley, Gareth Thomas, Lee Briers and Aled James sitting the friendly out.
The Welsh know that they will face more difficult opposition over the next three weeks but this victory will give their confidence an enormous boost.
The home side took the lead in under two minutes when Lloyd White fed Andrew Gay to go over but after that, for a long time Wales did everything but score, despite having the majority of possession.
Gay was close to a second try while Tyson Frizell was held up over the line, Gil Dudson had a score marked off for a knock-on and then the ball slipped out of Andy Bracek's hands as he was looking for a run at goal.
Ireland had a couple of chances, the best coming on the 20 minute mark when Liam Finn kicked a 40-20 winning Ireland a scrum, but from the first play, the ball was lost.
Wales carried on attacking. Rhys Williams ran 70 metres after picking up a loose ball and won a penalty but Wales couldn't take advantage, the ball being knocked on.
Soon after that, Elliot Kear and Ian Webster both failed to latch on to White's bomb in the corner while a Jordan James slip pass went astray.
Christiaan Roets finally extended the lead on 27 minutes when he finished a fine passing move in the left corner, the second South Wales Scorpions player to ground, and Wales' 500th international try. Ian Webster converted.
And from kick-off, Tyson Frizell scored Wales' third try as he barged through the Irish defence to ground left of the sticks. This time Webster's conversion was just wide.
Two minutes into the second half and Wales scored their fourth try through a 40 metre run from Mark Lennon. Webster converted.
And from kick-off, Elliot Kear broke through the defence and sprinted to score in the corner. Webster's kick was wide.
Wales continued to dominate and forced two quick goal-line drop-outs, the latter leading to their next try.
From the next set, Jordan James forced his way under the sticks and Webster's simple kick made the score 30-0.
Geraint Davies forced the fourth goal-line drop-out of the half as Wales looked to extended their lead further but it was Ireland who had the final say as they broke their deadlock on 77 minutes.
Tyrone McCarthy broke and set up Tim Bergin to go over in the corner and Liam Finn kicked the tricky conversion.
"It was a good hit-out for them physically," said Wales coach Iestyn Harris.
"Some of the guys haven't played for up to six weeks and when you've not played for that amount of time, it takes a while to get into the flow of things.
"I thought our contact defensively was very very good and I thought there were good aspects in some of our play, and rustiness in others. There are certainly some things to work on but not too displeased.
"You like to keep sides to zero and we pride ourselves in our defence and we've emphasised that over the last ten days or so that we've been in camp. The players were disappointed more than me that we conceded a try and were very frustrated with themselves. But you've got a win under our belt and some good things came out of our game. Hopefully we can improve a fair bit this week and tweak what we need to so we're ready for England."
Tries: Andrew Gay, Christiaan Roets, Tyson Frizell, Mark Lennon, Elliot Kear, Jordan James
Goals: Lloyd White 0 from 1, Ian Webster 3 from 5
Team: Andrew Gay, Elliot Kear, Ian Webster, Christiaan Roets, Rhys Williams, Lloyd White, Ian Watson , Jordan James, Neil Budworth, Gil Dudson, Tyson Frizell, Andy Bracek, Peter Lupton; Subs: Matt Seamark, Ben Flower, Craig Kopzcak, Danny Jones, Mark Lennon, Geraint Davies, Lee Williams, Ross Divorty
Tries: Tim Bergin
Goals: Liam Finn 1 from 1
Team: Greg McNally, Tim Bergin, Ian Cross, Elliot Cosgrove, Joseph Taylor, Pat Smith, Liam Finn, Paddy Boyle, Bob Beswick, Luke Ambler, Tyrone McCarthy, Ged Corcoran, Callum Casey; Subs: Sean Carmody, Paddy Barcoe, Tom McGarr, Aaron McCloskey, Joe Mulhern, Andy McGrory