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Ireland begin Junior World Cup with historic win over Springboks

Tries from Jordan Coghlan and Ian Henderson saw Mike Ruddock’s U20s record a superb 23-19 victory.

Ireland's Jordan Coghlan.
Ireland's Jordan Coghlan.
Image: NPHO/Shaun Roy

IRELAND’S U20s GOT off to an incredible start in the IRB Junior World Championship with a 23-19 win over South Africa in Stellenbosch’s Danie Craven Stadium.

Mike Ruddock’s team upset the odds in their Pool B opener, where they are also due to play England and Italy, against a Sprinboks team which boasted a number of Super 15 players in their side.

Led by man-of-the-match JJ Hanrahan, who kicked 13 points on the day, Ireland were ahead 13-3 at half-time thanks to Jordan Coghlan’s try after a blocked down kick.

The hosts got themselves back into the tie with a try from Paul Willemse followed up by Tony Jantjies’ conversion.

However, Ulster’s Iain Henderson found himself in possession after another block down and did outstandly well to get over the line. Hanrahan was successful with the resulting kick and despite Jantjies’ late penalty, Ireland held on for what will do down as their greatest ever result in this competition.

Next up is England, who ran out 64-5 winners over Italy earlier in the day, in the same venue on Friday.

Ireland: Des Merry, Niall Scannell (c), Tadhg Furlong, Tadhg Beirne, Iain Henderson, Jordan Coghlan, Conor Gilsenan, Jack Conan, Kieran Marmion, JJ Hanrahan, Sam Coghlan-Murray, Foster Horan, Chris Farrell, Barry Daly, Peter Nelson.

Replacements: James Rael, Peter Reilly, Jake Cawley, Alan O’Connor, Aaron Conneely, Luke McGrath, Mikey Sherlock.

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Ben Blake

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