4 men who stood out in a patchy Emerging Ireland display

20-year-old Cian Kelleher had a hand in two of Ireland’s best scores in an otherwise scrappy game.

Dave Heffernan

IT WAS A day when continuity and momentum were rare and precious commodities, so quite a few players struggled to show their best form. However, Connacht hooker Heffernan was a solid performer throughout.

Pat Lam and Dave Heffernan Pat Lam offering advice to Heffernan at training this season. James Crombie / INPHO James Crombie / INPHO / INPHO

Tasked with helping out James Cronin and Stephen Archer against a tenacious Uruguayan scrum, Heffernan coped well in both of his set-piece roles. His finest moment though, was in the build-up to Ireland’s third try.

Andrew Brown took contact 40 metres out and found his Connacht team-mate with an offload. The hooker did not waste the opportunity, carrying powerfully to make yards after the tackle to set Ireland up inside the 22.

Cian Kelleher

After that Heffernan break, Uruguay were not able to scramble in time to prevent Cian Kelleher finding space on the short side.


The Lansdowne back impressed Joe Schmidt enough to earn a call-up to the side who faced Barbarians last month and showed flashes of that today.

He did earn himself a 10-minute rest with a sin-binning that merely delayed Uruguay’s penalty try, yet saved his best input for last when he finally found a big patch of green grass to stretch his legs and show his pace.

Despite the chance coming in the dying minutes, the 20-year-old remained energetic in that move, and his footwork before offloading to Ben Marshall (en route under the posts) was excellent.

Andrew Conway

The Munster wing is this team’s most potent strike-runner and try-scoring  threat and showed that knack of finding the try-line during Emerging Ireland’s first real attack of the game.

Andrew Conway Donall Farmer / INPHO Donall Farmer / INPHO / INPHO

For the most part, though, he was under-used in this team’s attack. And his other main stand-out moment in a game dragged down by knock-ons and stop-start scrums was a scintillating first-half break down the left flank. Unfortunately, after he executed an excellent pass inside to John Cooney, that move was also cut short after Cooney was isolated in the breakdown.

Jack Conan

Perhaps the best all-round performance of the four men on this list came from a replacement. Conan stepped onto the field as Rhys Ruddock went off after 20 minutes, but did his level best to provide the leadership that Ireland lost with the captain.

Jack Conan tackled GRU / INPHO GRU / INPHO / INPHO

As ever, the number eight carried with strength and purpose and in defence he was tigerish and focused.

If this tour was an opportunity for Ruddock to stake his claim for September then it has been hi-jacked by his young provincial team-mate.

Inexperienced Emerging Ireland side labour to victory over Uruguay

Connacht heading to Russia in the Challenge Cup after pool stage draw

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