Monday 21st June, Parana, Argentina.
Ireland U20’s secured a 9th Place finish in a seven try romp against the Scots.
It marks the end of a disappointing competition for the Irish who went out to Argentina with high hopes following their impressive displays in the 6 Nations.
Although there were plenty of good individual performances throughout the tournament it appeared that the Irish set up didn’t have enough physical presence in depth to take on France, England and Argentina in rapid succession.
The departure of Ruddock to the senior team together with injuries to the impressive Stewart Maguire and Jack O’Connell left Ireland’s physical presence dented even further so finishing off the tournament with two wins was an achievement of note under the circumstances.
Ulster’s Niall Annett will certainly have come out of the tour with his reputation enhanced, taking over from Ruddock as captain and bagging a couple of tries in his last two outings makes it a good tour for him personally.
Nevin Spence had a good enough tournament but found it difficult to live up to his 6 Nations performances and being moved about early in the tournament didn’t help.
James McKinney looks a classy enough player but I would have liked him to have put the ball through the hands more often but that may have been down to team instructions.
I would have liked to have seen more of scrum half Michael Heaney who I thought looked sharp every time he played and was underused throughout the tournament in my opinion.
Allen Clarke praised his players for their efforts on the final day,
“This performance shows the ambition of the group and the attitude of the group, it has been there all along.
I’ve said it before that the pool we came out of was tough, we lost narrowly in three games and it was difficult to keep ourselves focused but it’s testament to the players there, they’ve been absolutely fantastic.
I’m delighted for them because they’ve shown their true ability today.”
Stand in captain Niall Annett added,
“Obviously to get a win is brilliant for us. There’s always aspects (of the game) you can work on, but to finish here with that sort of scoreline is brilliant.
It wasn’t an easy tournament for us but at the end of the day we can be happy. We started off poorly, we were very disappointed with our first series results, but we came back here, reassessed our options and got two wins in the play-offs for a strong finish.”
The most telling point of the tournament however came in the final were the New Zealand U20’s romped to a 62 -17 win against Australia – ominous!
07 mins – Ireland penalty: Zebo – 3-0
11 mins – Ireland penalty: Reid – 6-0
12 mins – Ireland try: Conway – 11-0
14 mins – Scotland penalty: Weir – 11-3
17 mins – Ireland try: Reid – 16-3; con: Reid – 18-3
20 mins – Scotland penalty: Weir – 18-6
22 mins – Ireland try: Conway – 23-6; con: Reid – 25-6
28 mins – Scotland try: Harley – 25-11; con: Weir – 25-13
31 mins – Scotland penalty: Weir – 25-16
Half-time – Ireland 25 Scotland 16
46 mins – Ireland try: Zebo – 30-16; con: Reid – 32-16
50 mins – Ireland try: Annett – 37-16; con: Reid – 39-16
61 mins – Scotland try: McInally – 39-21; con: Weir – 39-23
63 mins – Ireland try: Conway – 44-23; con: Reid – 46-23
70 mins – Ireland try: Cooney – 51-23; con: Reid – 53-23
Full-time – Ireland 53 Scotland 23
IRELAND: Andrew Conway; Andrew Boyle, Eoin Griffin, Nevin Spence, Simon Zebo; Noel Reid, John Cooney; Bryan Cagney, Niall Annett (capt), Martin Moore, David O’Callaghan, Brian Hayes, Dominic Ryan, Brian O’Hara, Paddy Butler.
Replacements used: Jordi Murphy for Hayes (half-time), Robin O’Sullivan for O’Hara (54 mins), David Doyle for Annett (59), James McKinney for Conway (64), Denis Buckley for Cagney (65), Mike Kelliher for Spence, Michael Heaney for Cooney (both 72).