Dominant pack set tone for Ireland

Ireland 34 Scotland 7
Hopefully, this sets out the template for tomorrow in the big one as a dominant pack got the Ireland U20’s campaign off to a flying start at Dubarry Park last night.

A victory by four tries to one was never in doubt for Mike Ruddock’s men, who controlled proceedings throughout and only conceded in the final play of the night.

It sets them up well for the visit of Junior World Cup runners-up Wales to Athlone next Friday night when the opposition will be considerably stronger.

The heavy rain made constructive rugby almost impossible but it was apparent from the early stages that the Irish lineout and scrum was superior.

That gave Ruddock’s men a strong platform to build and they took full advantage in the opening half and were well worth their 20-0 interval lead.

Ireland played with patience and confidence and slowly wore down the Scottish resistance, with a couple of penalties in the opening 14 minutes from impressive out-half Ross Byrne settling them

Ireland started to build the phases, with the forward dominance really beginning to control the game and, after taking a scrum against the head, they drove through and No. 8 Jack O’Donoghue squeezed over after 28 minutes.

Byrne added the extras and did likewise with the final kick of the half after another series of surges coughed up a try for one of last year’s survivors, Peadar Timmins.

Ireland continued to dominate after the restart with O’Donoghue, Sean O’Byrne and Dan Leavy doing most to take the battle to the Scots.

Scotland continued to rack up the error count but Ireland were not able to punish them, with an improved scrum from the visitors resulting in more parity, with replacement prop Jack Cosgrove of Worcester Warriors making a big impact.

Both sides emptied their benches but Ireland continue to control proceedings and they finally pulled further in front after 58 minutes when O’Donoghue got his second try with a tap-and-go, although he had to go off after injuring himself in the process.

A superb tackle by Ian Fitzpatrick on replacement Ruaidh Young set up the fourth Irish try 12 minutes from time and Oisin Heffernan was credited with the touchdown as himself and O’Brien bundled over the line. Byrne added his fourth conversion of the night.

Scotland never gave up and were rewarded in the final play of the night when replacement scrum-half Ben Vellacott chipped and chased to score, with Ben Cooper adding the conversion from the right.

Ireland scorers: Tries: J O’Donoghue (2), P Timmins, O Heffernan, Cons: R Byrne (4), Pens: R Byrne (2)

Scotland scorers: Try: B Vellacott, Con: B Cooper.

IRELAND: D Busby (Queen’s University/Ulster); A Byrne (UCD/Leinster), G Ringrose (UCD/Leinster), P Robb (Old Belvedere/Leinster), I Fitzpatrick (Lansdowne/Leinster); R Byrne (UCD/Leinster), N McCarthy (UCD/Leinster); P Dooley (Lansdowne/Leinster), M Abbott (Cork Constitution/Munster), R Burke (Cork Constitution/Munster); S O’Brien (Galwegians/Connacht), Ross Molony (UCD/Leinster); P Timmins (UCD/Leinster), D Leavy (UCD/Leinster) (capt), J O’Donoghue (UL Bohemians/Munster)

Replacements: S Delahunt (Lansdowne/Leinster) for Abbott, 58; J Walshe (Buccaneers/Connacht) for Dooley, 58; O Heffernan (Lansdowne/Leinster) for Burke, 58; J Cullen (Bruff/Munster) for McCarthy, 58; J Joyce (Bristol/Exiles) for Molony, 58; D Goggin (Young Munster/Munster) for Ringrose, 58; Rory Moloney (Buccaneers/Connacht) for O’Donoghue, 59; C McKeon (Lansdowne/Leinster) for Busby, 69.

SCOTLAND: G Lowe; J Farndale, D Hoyland, N Herron, S Pecqueur; B Chalmers, M McAndrew; J Malcolm, S James, D Rae; A Cramon, G Young; M Bradbury, T Spinks (capt), B Richardson.

Replacements: J Cosgrove for Malcolm, 40; R Graham for James, 52; R Young for Lowe, 56; B Vellacott for McAndrew, 56; B Cooper for Farndale, 56; P Cringle for Rae, 59; L Carmichael for Cramond, 59

Referee: C Blessano (Italy).


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