Howley opts against Wales overhaul for Ireland clash

Payne made his long-awaited return with Ulster on Friday but has since suffered bruising

After being soundly beaten by Scotland 29-13, Wales chose the same team to face Ireland in Six Nations rugby on Friday in Cardiff.

The Irish are second in the Six Nations standings and five points clear of Wales.

However, if the Scots win at Twickenham, the title race will be wide open once again.

Scrum time Six Nations: What time does Wales vs Ireland kick-off, what TV channel is it on and what's the latest team news?

The architect of both his tries, however, was Rhys Webb.

Wales escaped punishment after Dan Biggar's questionable pass was smartly intercepted by Sexton.

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Wales attacked with bludgeon if not quite sufficient clarity of goal, but were undone by a careless offside after Jonathan Davies' knock-on.

"For myself, personally, there is still a level of hurt there from the Scottish defeat, and I am sure the players are feeling that as well, so we need to react in a positive manner against what will be a very confident Ireland team".

Ireland head into this game on the back of an impressive victory over the French with the added bonus of no new injuries.

Wales responded with a series of attacks in and around Ireland's 22, running on to the ball at pace and involving North frequently.

So maligned for his defence in defeat to Scotland, here North provided the ideal riposte.

Leigh Halfpenny took his penalty, and Wales have the lead.

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After an impressive win over France, when their star fly-half Jonathan Sexon made a triumphant return, Ireland head coach Joe Schmidt has gone with the same starting XV for the match, while there is only one change to the squad, with Tommy Bowe returning to the bench.

A try by Jamie Roberts then put the result to bed as Ireland were made to pay for their mistakes with ball in hand. The second-half performance against Scotland was not up to scratch.

And while Murray somehow emerged after half-time, he was soon to the fore again, gathering a bouncing kick in behind from Webb and being forced into touch by Halfpenny.

Wales drove the lineout, Webb broke blind and sent North in at the corner.

Wales was under pressure after its scoreless second-half display against Scotland two weeks ago, with North taking much of the flak - particularly from his own defense coach Shaun Edwards - for conceding a try on his wing at Murrayfield. Directly after that score Murray was replaced by understudy Kieran Marmion of Connacht at No 9. The opening 20 minutes of this game could tell us a lot, but if it is Ireland who take the early lead, it could be the Welsh Daffodil that wilts and the Shamrock that blooms ahead of the St Patrick's weekend showdown with the English Red Rose.

The visitors ploughed through 26 recycles in fact, before winning a penalty. Ireland's Johnny Sexton goes off during the RBS Six Nations at the Principality Stadium, Cardiff.

Farrell a doubt for Scotland
Vunipola injured his knee in November and made his club return last Sunday. South African-born Cornell du Preez is on the bench for the first time.

With momentum in Wales' sails, Sexton then returned to the fray with Ireland looking to overcome a nine point deficit.

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