Jonathan Davies v Ireland – 2011 RWC New Zealand
“Priestland looks at the other side, they’ve got numbers out there! Davies, through the gap! Jonathan Davies is going to score! Wales have gone through again! So strong, so powerful, what a finish!”
Rugby World Cup 2011 in New Zealand was Wales’ most successful World Cup since the inaugural 1987 competition in Australia and New Zealand. By the time Wales had qualified from their group, they had been mantled as crowd favourites, playing fluid, exciting, running rugby and scoring some spectacular tries. The Welsh backs looked unstoppable, with Rhys Priestland the general at fly half and the likes of Jonathan Davies, Scott Williams and George North appearing to score at will.
Wales had narrowly lost to the Springboks in their first game of the tournament before swatting Namibia and Fiji aside and grinding out a win against a fierce Samoan side. The Welsh faced their Six Nations rivals, Ireland, in the Quarter-Final and with both sides firing on all cylinders it was a tight contest. With over three quarters of the game having already been played, Wales were ahead by only five points but were pushing the Irishmen hard and closing the game out.
Priestland was once more calling the shots, bringing big Jamie Roberts on a straight angle at full pelt, smashing into the Irish defence and then pumping his legs to gain another ten metres with three green shirts clinging to him. The Welsh cavalry arrived just in time to secure the ball and Mike Phillips dug the ball out, searching for his fly half once more. Priestland spotted an overlap and switched direction from left to right, receiving the ball with two red jersey outside him, Jonathan Davies and Leigh Halfpenny; but It was the Scarlet, Davies who hammered the final nail in the proverbial coffin.
The fly half spun the ball out to his outside centre who drew the men wide, it looked like the Irish had spotted the danger and the Welshman was about to be swallowed up by a swarm of Irish defence; but Davies had other ideas! It initially looked Ireland’s Keith Earls, Donncha O’Callaghan, Cian Healy and Rob Kearney had fenced Davies in, however a quick alteration in his angle, a burst of acceleration, his signature powerful fend and the centre was clean through and ran twenty five metres to score the try that sealed a semi-final spot for his team!