Noel McNamara’s Ireland U20 side began their U20 Six Nations Championship with a 38-26 six-try victory over Scotland U20 at Irish Independent Park in Cork on Friday night.
The home side scored three tries to two in the opening half, before adding a further three, to Scotland’s two five-pointers in the second forty minutes.
PwC Player of the Match Jack Crowley opened the scoring for Ireland U20 when picking up a bouncing ball and spinning inside to cross for a try in the 10th minute of the game. The Cork Constitution player then converted to give the home side an early 7-0 advantage.
Minutes later Scotland were on the score sheet as Euan Ashman scored a try. Nathan Chamberlain levelled the scores at 7-7 approaching the 20 minute mark.
Thomas Clarkson drove over for the green side’s second five-pointer of the game, but Noel McNamara’s charges had to wait referee Gianluca Gnecchi’s consultation with his fellow officials before awarding the score. Jack Crowley converted his second kick from as many efforts as the Irish side moved to double scores ahead, 14-7.
Scotland winger Jack Blain soon improved his side’s position on the scoreboard, showing accuracy in touching down in the corner following a period of domination by the visitors. The difficult conversion effort from the touchline was missed by kicker Nathan Chamberlain, leaving the home side with a slender 2-point lead as the half-time whistle approached.
Ireland U20 fly half Jack Crowley ran 70 yards from deep inside his own half, along the touchline, even fending off a later defensive effort from Scotland, to score a brilliant try for his side.
— RTÉ Rugby (@RTErugby) January 31, 2020
Crowley stepped up to claim the full seven points by converting in injury time at the end of the opening half. The late 7 points gave Ireland U20 a significant 21-12 advantage at the break.
Half-time: Ireland U20 21 Scotland U20 12.
As early as three minutes after the re-start, Ireland claimed their fourth try of the game as winger Andrew Smith showed his pace as he broke through the Scottish defence. Jack Crowley again converted as McNamara’s boys moved 28-12 ahead.
Another try followed just four minutes later as an Irish break down the touchline saw second row Thomas Ahern, who had been instrumental in the move, use his length to stretch out for the line to touch down for Ireland’s fifth five-pointer. The difficult conversion attempt from the far touchline saw Crowley miss his first kick at goal in the game thus far, leaving the hosts with a commanding 33-12 lead.
It took Scotland until the 62nd minute of the game to get their first score of the second period. Nathan Chamberlain showed strength to break through the Irish centre, touching down under the posts. The No. 10 converted his own try to reduce the home side’s lead, leaving Ireland 33-19 ahead.
Replacement Ciaran Ryan’s try inside the final ten minutes of the game moved Ireland U20 out to 38 points. The conversion was missed when the ball came off the upright.
A late consolation try by Cameron Scott for the visitors, converted by Nathan Chamberlain saw Ireland U20 run out comfortable 38-26 winners.
Final score: Ireland U20 38 Scotland U20 26.
Ireland U20 Team
15. Oran McNulty, 14. Ethan McIlroy, 13. Dan Kelly, 12. Hayden Hyde, 11. Andrew Smith, 10. Jack Crowley, 9. Lewis Finlay.
1. Charlie Ward, 2. Tom Stewart, 3. Thomas Clarkson, 4. Brian Deeny, 5. Thomas Ahern, 6. Seán O’Brien, 7. Mark Hernan, 8. David McCann (captain).
16. John McKee, 17. Ciaran Ryan, 18. Ryan McMahon, 19. Joe McCarthy, 20. Alex Soroka, 21. Ben Murphy, 22. Tim Corkery, 23. Luis Faria.
Scotland U20 Team:
15. Ollie Smith, 14. Jacob Henry, 13. Matt Currie, 12. Robbie McCallum, 11. Jack Blain, 10. Nathan Chamberlain, 9. Roan Frostwick.
1. Alex Maxwell, 2. Euan Ashman, 3. Mak Wilson, 4. Kieran Watt, 5. Cameron Henderson, 6. Jack Hill, 7. Connor Boyle, 8. Rory Darge (captain).
16. Rory Jackson, 17. George Breeze, 18. Thomas Lambert, 19. Jamie Campbell, 20. Gregor Brown, 21. Kyle McGhie, 22. Cameron Scott, 23. Rufus McLean.