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Ireland U20s overcome awful start to claim thrilling one-point win against Wales

Nigel Carolan’s side had to dig deep but eventually came good against the Grand Slam winners.

Ireland's Conor O'Brien tries to get his side on the front foot.
Ireland's Conor O'Brien tries to get his side on the front foot.
Image: Camerasport/Dave Howarth/INPHO

Ireland U20 26

Wales U20 25

John Fallon reports from Manchester

IRELAND STAGED A remarkable comeback to claw their way back from 17-0 down after just 20 minutes to get their World Rugby U20 Championship off to a winning start.

Two tries from fullback Jacob Stockdale and one from hooker Adam McBurney got Ireland into a winning position along with the boot of debutant Bill Johnston, who kicked 11 points.

Ireland looked dead and buried when they fell 17-0 down in the opening quarter against the Six Nations Grand Slam winners.

But they never panicked. Johnston got them off the mark with a drop goal and Ireland piled on the pressure. Another penalty to the left corner saw them get the drive on and hooker McBurney got over after 37 minutes.

It got better for Ireland just before the break. Stockdale started the move on his own line and several phases later was on hand to score in the right corner, with Johnston’s conversion cutting the gap to just two at the interval.

Daniel Jones drew first blood for Wales two minutes after the restart with a penalty from 35 metres but the Irish response was good with two penalties from Johnston and then a second try from Stockdale.

They endured a nervous finish when Keelan Giles got his second try two minutes from the end but Nigel Carolan’s men held on for a famous win.

Ireland U20 scorers:

Tries: Jacob Stockdale (2), Adam McBurney

Conversions: Bill Johnston

Penalties: Bill Johnston (2)

Drop-goals: Bill Johnston

Wales U20 scorers:

Tries: Keelan Giles (2), Shaun Evans, Reuben Morgan-Williams

Conversions: Daniel Jones

Penalties: Daniel Jones

Max Deegan battles with Keelan Giles Ireland's Max Deegan battles for possession with Keelan Giles of Wales. Source: Camerasport/Dave Howarth/INPHO

 

IRELAND U20s: Jacob Stockdale (Belfast Harlequins/Ulster); Matthew Byrne (Terenure/Leinster), Shane Daly (Cork Con/Munster), Conor O’Brien (Clontarf/Leinster) (Jimmy O’Brien (UCD/Leinster) ’77), Hugo Keenan (UCD/Leinster); Bill Johnston (Garryowen/Munster), Stephen Kerins (Sligo/Connacht); Andrew Porter (UCD/Leinster), Adam McBurney (Ballymena/Ulster) Vincent O’Brien (Cork Con/Munster) ’77), Conor Kenny (Buccaneers/Connacht) (Ben Betts (Young Munster/Munster) ’6); Cillian Gallagher (Sligo/Connacht), James Ryan (Lansdowne/Leinster); Greg Jones (UCD/Leinster), David Aspil (St Mary’s RFC/Leinster) (Kelvin Brown (Shannon/Munster) ’70), Max Deegan (Lansdowne/Leinster).

WALES U20s: Rhun Williams; Tom Williams, Joe Thomas, Harri Millard, Keelan Giles; Daniel Jones (Jarrod Evans ’65), Reuben Morgan-Williams (Declan Smith ’65); Corey Domachowski (Rhys Fawcett ’72), Dafydd Hughes (Liam Belcher ’44), Dillon Lewis (Leon Brown ’65); Shane Lewis-Hughes, Adam Beard; Tom Phillips, Shaun Evans (Joshua Macleod ’30-40, ’65), Harrison Keddie.

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