Jack Carty admitted it was vital that Ireland bounced back from defeat to England as they battled past Wales in Cardiff.
Two first-half tries by Jason Stockdale set Ireland on their way to a 22-17 victory over the Grand Slam champions.
Joe Schmidt’s men had led 15-3 at the interval, with a penalty try midway through the second half putting the visitors in a commanding position.
But Wales responded with second-half tries from Owen Lane and Rhys Patchell to set up a frantic finish, with Ireland coming through as Carty was named man of the match.
“It’s a massive win for us,” said Carty who was brought in after the defeat to England.
“Obviously we were all hurting during the week, but we all came together and rallied together.
“We know we weren’t perfect there at times but our defence I thought for the vast majority of that game was really really good against a quality Welsh outfit.”
After England beat Ireland by 57-15, Schmidt made 11 changes, including bringing in Will Addison, Andrew Conway and Dave Kilcoyne, who all shone during the team’s victory.
Wales, who also made 14 changes coming into the game after their 13-6 victory over England a fortnight ago, struggled for the first hour but finished strongly in Warren Gatland last game in charge in Cardiff.
They almost had another try but Elliott Dee’s outstretched arm dropped the ball over the line, as Wales were unable to find anything else as their last game before their World Cup squad submission date ended in defeat.
“We knew they were going to get a purple patch at some stage,” Carty continued.
“I think at times we probably could’ve managed that better and held on to the ball a bit more but credit to the lads who came on.
“They showed up, they fought back and gave us a great platform to play with and when you have that it is very easy.”
Ireland are set to name their provisional 31-man squad for the upcoming World Cup in Japan on Monday before they meet with Wales again next weekend, this time in Dublin.