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James Crombie/INPHO Crowley looks to attack in Cork last night.
# Room to improve
McNamara eyes areas Crowley can 'tighten up' after show-stopping try
The out-half’s try was a ‘killer’ for Scotland on the stroke of half-time.

SCOTLAND U20 COACH Sean Lineen described it as ‘a killer’, a massive momentum shift in a match the visitors had managed to dominate territorially until almost the halfway point.

Noel McNamara, on the other hand, made sure to keep the poetic license tucked away in his pocket when asked about Jack Crowley’s 80-metre wonder-try that tilted the 38-26 win over Scotland.

Pre-tournament, there was a fear that this crop of U20s may struggle to match up with a heightened expectation on the age grade after last year’s Grand Slam success. Picking up two bobbling balls and running them in for tries, Crowley ensured there was to be no let-up for the hype train.

“The reality with Jack is he’s been playing consistently with Cork Con in the AIL and he’s been playing well,” said McNamara post-match. But after patting his players on the back in the Musgrave Park changing rooms, he will quickly turn the focus on making tweaks to improve performance for next Friday’s outing against Wales.

“There was some really positive aspects, obviously it’s eye-catching when anyone runs the length he did to score, but equally, there’s areas for him to tighten up – there were a couple of turnovers and a couple of things that he won’t be happy with in his own performance.

“So I think that’s the over-arching thing you would say. There were lots of positives for us but it’s only green shoots. It’s one game so nobody’s getting carried away and Jack’s in exactly the same boat.”

So, far from losing the run of himself, McNamara was in somewhat bittersweet mood as he thought more about the score. Lineen had also noted that his side attacked well enough, but struggled to react to the transition on turnover ball. McNamara felt there were more scores that could have been picked up on the counter.

the-ireland-team-team-huddle-after-the-game James Crombie / INPHO Ireland huddle up post-match. James Crombie / INPHO / INPHO

“Scotland are capable of attacking for long periods of time, they kept the ball well when they attacked. But when they turned.over the ball they were particularly vulnerable and that really demonstrated it there.

“It was one of the frustrations I would have had in the second half, that we didn’t take advantage when they turned over the ball in the second half.

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“They were starting to suck in seagulls a little bit at times and we probably weren’t as clinical as we might have been in those instances.”

More than clinical enough, however, to force a convincing win and keep their Musgrave Park momentum surging.

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