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Hail the heroes! U20s become first-ever Irish men's team to beat New Zealand

Nigel Carolan’s men dealt with everything that was throw at them and gave it back to the Baby Blacks.

James Bollard of Ireland is tackled.
James Bollard of Ireland is tackled.
Image: Camerasport/Dave Howarth/INPHO

Ireland 33

New Zealand 24

By John Fallon in Manchster

HAIL THE HEROES! The first Irish men’s team ever to defeat New Zealand, and boy did they do it in style.

Nigel Carolan’s men dealt with everything that was thrown at them and gave it back to the Baby Blacks in spades to seal a historic win and spark off celebrations in the rain at Manchester City Academy Stadium.

Ireland started well and Bill Johnston gave them an early boost with a penalty from 40 metres but it was New Zealand who struck for the first try when Jordie Barrett broke through to score.

Barrett, young brother of All Black Beauden, added the conversion in front of the posts.

But Ireland hit back and grew in confidence and while they went to take New Zealand on up front, opting for a scrum rather than a kick from a penalty inside the 22, and when that yielded nothing, Johnston went for the posts with another penalty and slotted it over to cut the gap to 7-6 after 16 minutes.

Disaster struck when hooker Adam McBurney was pinged for deliberate knock-on with New Zealand having a three-on-one advantage out wide and, inevitably, the Baby Blacks were not long using the extra man to strike for their second try.

Barrett was the creator this time, drawing the cover before offloading to Shaun Stevenson and the Waikato man glided through to score, with Barrett making it 14-6 after 24 minutes.

However, it was Ireland who took control for the remainder of the half, their line speed causing the Baby Blacks serious trouble.

Ireland struck for two tries in seven minutes, both coming from excellent lineout moves.

Greg Jones got the first of them in the right corner after 28 minutes and McBurney peeled away from a maul on the other wing to dash over.

Johnston landed both touchline kicks despite the dreadful conditions to lead by 20-14 at the interval.

Johnston, who missed the Six Nations with a shoulder injury, went off shortly after the restart after suffering another shoulder injury but his replacement Johnny McPhillps extended Ireland’s lead with a superb penalty from 40 metres.

New Zealand hit back with a try by Malo Tuitama after 52 minutes but Ireland held them at bay and kept taking the game to New Zealand.

Their superior scrum yielded a third try nine minutes from time when Max Deegan broke from the base of a scrum to score in the left corner.

McPhillips somehow landed the conversion to make it 30-19 with eight minutes left.

But New Zealand hit back within a minute with Tuitama racing over in the left corner but Barrett again missed the conversion to leave six between them going into closing stages.

The brilliant Irish scrum won another penalty, straight in front of the posts and McPhillips duly obliged to make it 33-24 with two minutes left.

Scorers

Ireland

Tries: Greg Jones, Adam McBurney, Max Deegan

Penalties: Bill Johnston (2), Johnny McPhillips (2)

Conversions: Bill Johnston (2), Johnny McPhillips

New Zealand

Tries: Jordie Barrett, Shaun Stevenson, Malo Tuitama (2)

Conversions: Jordie Barrett (2)

Ireland: Jacob Stockdale (Belfast Harlequins / Ulster); Matthew Byrne (Terenure / Leinster), Shane Daly (Cork Con / Munster), Conor O’Brien (Clontarf / Leinster) (Jimmy O’Brien (UCD / Leinster) ’27-34), Hugo Keenan (UCD / Leinster); Bill Johnston (Garryowen / Munster) (Johnny McPhillips (Queen’s University / Ulster) ’37), Stephen Kerins (Sligo / Connacht); Andrew Porter (UCD / Leinster), Adam McBurney (Ballymena / Ulster) (Vincent O’Brien (Cork Con / Munster) ’63), Ben Betts (Young Munster / Munster) (Vakh Abdaladze (Clontarf / Leinster) ’63); Cillian Gallagher (Sligo / Connacht) (Sean O’Connor (Cashel / Munster) ’77), James Ryan (Lansdowne / Leinster); Greg Jones (UCD / Leinster), David Aspil (St Mary’s RFC / Leinster) (Vincent O’Brien (Cork Con / Munster) ’20-30)(Kelvin Brown (Shannon / Munster) ’64), Max Deegan (Lansdowne / Leinster).

New Zealand: Jordan Trainor; Shaun Stevenson, Patelesio Tomkinson, Jordie Barrett, Malo Tuitama (Jonah Lowe ’51); Stephen Perofeta (TJ Va’a ’43), Sam Nock (Jonathan Taumateine ’72); Ayden Johnstone (Sean Paranihi ’67), Leni Apisai (Asafo Aumua ’59), Sosefo Kautai (Alex Fidow ’59); Quinten Strange, Isaia Walker-Leawere (Hamish Dalzell ’70); Luke Jacobson, Mitchell Jacobson, Marino Mikaele-Tu’u.

Referee: Craig Maxwell-Keys (England)

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About the author:

John Fallon

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