Ireland recorded a 42 – 26 win against England on Tuesday evening in the opening round of the 2019 World Rugby U20 Championship. 

Ireland’s tries came from Jake Flannery, Stewart Moore, David McCann (2), Ben Healy and John Hodnett with Healy adding four second half conversions to add to two in the first half from Flannery. 

Remarkably, it’s the first Pool win for Ireland since their 2016 campaign and it’s the first Pool defeat for England since 2015. 

England dominated the opening exchanges racing to a 0 – 10 lead through a penalty and conversion from Vunipola to add to a Sleightholme try. 

However, the Six Nations Grand Slam Champions responded in typical fashion, making the most of their opportunities. A charge down by Charlie Ryan ended with Flannery crossing for Ireland’s first try which he converted himself. 

Vunipola added a second penalty to push the score to 7 – 13 in England’s favour  but a piece of quick thinking from Stewart Moore saw Ireland take the lead for the first time. 

With England looking to clear from their own line Moore spotted that the ball had rolled back into the in-goal area and dove in to score a try. Flannery converted to give Ireland a 14 – 13 lead. 

England flanker Hinkley was yellow carded, for a high tackle on Angus Kernohan towards the end of the half but there was no further score and Ireland turned round defending a one point lead. 

The lead changed once again as Vunipola landed a penalty before Sleightholme scored his second try on resumption, the try going unconverted to leave England in front 14 – 21. 

Vunipola was lucky to be only yellow carded moment’s later when he tried to take off Iwan Hughes head with his shoulder, the challenge ending Hughes’ game. 

Ireland made their numerical advantage count this time with two tries from David McCann, both converted by Hughes’ replacement Healy, either side of an unconverted try from England’s Seabrook. 

Pinpoint kicks to touch from Healy set up the Ireland line out on the 5-yard line both times for McCann to drive over. McCann’s second try gave Ireland the try bonus and Healy’s conversion pushed the score along to 28 – 26 in their favour.

A tense finale was denied us by further English indiscipline when  replacement  hooker Barbeary was red carded after an astonishingly stupid clearout, lifting Hodnett over his shoulder before dropping him on the ground. 

Ireland scored immediately, though somewhat fortunately, through Healy in the corner before Hodnett drove over from close range to seal the game. Healy converted both to cap a fine game. 

Ireland captain Charlie Ryan said:

We’re going to enjoy it today, review it and look forward to Australia. I’m really proud of everyone today, they put in a huge shift.

England captain Fraser Dingwall said:

We’re incredibly frustrated after that. I think after [half-time] we got the upper hand and we were hoping to take it away from them. Obviously today discipline is something that’s let us down, it has had a massive knock-on effect on the game. But it’s not the only area of the game that’s let us down.

It really was shocking indiscipline from England who could have had few complaints if they finished the game with 12 players rather than 14. 

Ireland to their credit refused to get involved. They chided and harassed their opponents and concentrated on the game. The forwards did really well with impressive displays from Ryan, Hodnett and Tierney-Martin. 

As for the Ulster players involved. 

Stewart Moore played a crucial part in the game with the timing of his try and looked to have formed a good partnership with Liam Turner in the centre before being replaced 49 minutes in.

David McCann combined well with Hodnett in the back row for an impressive paring, scoring  three tries between them. Subbed on the 73rd minute. 

Azur Allison didn’t get into the game going off to injury after 24 minutes. It didn’t look good and it could be his tournament over. 

Iwan Hughes looked busy in attack and looked to be playing a bigger part in the game before going off for concussion on the 49th minute.

Angus Kernohan put in a solid display in the back three. Didn’t get many opportunities going forward but worked hard in defence and took on a lot of the defensive duties following Hughes’ departure. 

Teams and Subs Used
IRELAND U20   ENGLAND U20
Iwan Hughes 15 Tom De Glanville
Angus Kernohan 14 Ollie Sleightholme
Liam Turner 13 Fraser Dingwall
Stewart Moore 12 Cameron Redpath
Jonathan Wren 11 Tom Seabrook
Jake Flannery 10 Manu Vunipola
Craig Casey 9 Ollie Fox
Josh Wycherley 1 Olly Adkins
Dylan Tierney-Martin 2 Nic Dolly
Thomas Clarkson 3 Joe Heyes
Charlie Ryan 4 Joel Kpoku
Ryan Baird 5 Alex Coles
David McCann 6 Ted Hill
John Hodnett 7 Aaron Hinkley
Azur Allison 8 Tom Willis
     
Declan Adamson 16 Alfie Barbeary
Michael Milne 17 Kai Owen
Charlie Ward 18 Alfie Petch
Ronan Watters   Richard Capstick
Niall Murray   Rusiate Tuima
Ciaran Booth   Arron Reed
Ben Healy   Josh Hodge
Sean French    

 

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