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Dublin: 5°C Tuesday 1 December 2020

Ireland hang on for victory after delicious Dardis try

Scotland’s pack dominated the fixture for long stretches, but their handling errors let Ireland off the hook.

Image: Matteo Ciambelli/INPHO

Ireland 24

Scotland 20

IRELAND UNDER 20s rode their luck, but two clinical first-half moves were enough to claim victory over Scotland in today’s Junior World Championship Pool C encounter.

In energy-sapping 32 degree heat and high humidity, Ireland were forced to cling on for long periods as Scotland’s Zander Fagerson-led pack dominated territory only to be undone by handling errors time and again.

Scotland’s pack lay down an early statement of intent, their scrum overpowering their counterparts in green to set up a period of concerted pressure on the Irish line.

Seven minutes of brave defence was required, and that’s exactly what Nigel Carolan’s under 20s provided. Josh Murphy and Sam Arnold delivered some telling interventions in the tackle and breakdown before Lorcan Dow pounced on a spilled ball after Scotland attempted to stretch the play.

Ireland’s reward for their ferocious early defence came after 13 minutes. By then, the scrum had found its foothold and laid an ideal platform for Ireland to unleash a set play from inside 40 metres.

Typically, the move relied on Garry Ringrose. The brilliant centre took Joey Carbery’s pass and stepped between the Scottish defenders before an impeccably timed pass sent Billy Dardis haring in to the corner.

dardis try Source: TG4

Carbery was unable to split the posts from the resulting conversion, but did stretch the lead with a penalty after the teams were allowed a brief water break after the first quarter.

Carbery’s finest kick of the half came with his second conversion attempt. Conor Oliver, one of four changes to the team that started the opening day win over Argentina, refused to let a single tackle put him down after Ireland put a solid set of phases together and he gleefully scrambled over the line.

Scotland appeared to be on the ropes as the phases and temperatures rose up against them, but they did get on the board before half-time, George Horne knocking a penalty over to make it 15 – 3 after 40 gruelling minutes.

Ciaran Gaffney and Ruairi Howarth Source: Matteo Ciambelli/INPHO

After the sides exchanged early second half penalties, Scotland again put themselves on the front foot. Ruairidh Knott careered through the green line on a terrific line, but Stephen Fitzgerald and Sam Arnold were among those scrambling to force him into a knock-on – one of many from Sean Lineen’s side when they might have turned the screw.

The blue pack did earn a reward for their efforts after 60 minutes when Lewis Carmichael got the ball down on the back of a rolling maul. Ireland’s lead was down to just five points, but the ‘Wolfpuppies’ continued to come up trumps at the breakdown and Carbery instantly fired Ireland back out of striking distance.

Ireland were eventually punished for contesting the breakdown with nine minutes remaining when Oliver was sin-binned, yet even then Carolan’s side showed a willingness to dig deep and hold on long enough to force knock-ons.

Replacement half-backs Tomas Quinlan and Charlie Rock guided the team back in to Scottish territory and the Cork Con man settled his second consecutive game with a penalty four minutes from time.

Scotland, who defeated Ireland in the Six Nations, still found time for one last attack. This time Knott could not be stopped. It was a coherent attacking set of phases that came far too late for Lineen’s men and they are left rooted to the foot of Pool C after facing New Zealand last time out.

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That’s the next task awaiting Ireland.



Tries: B Dardis, C Oliver

Conversion: J Carbery

Penalties: J Carbery (3) T Quinlan.


Tries: L Carmichael, R Knott

Conversions: B Kinghorn (2)

Penalties: G Horne (2).


15. Billy Dardis (UCD/Leinster)
14. Ciaran Gaffney (Galwegians/Connacht)
13. Garry Ringrose (UCD/Leinster)
12. Sam Arnold (Ballynahinch/Ulster)
11. Stephen Fitzgerald (Shannon/Munster)
10. Joey Carbery (UCD/Leinster)
9. Nick McCarthy (UCD/Leinster) (captain)

1. Andrew Porter (UCD/Leinster)
2. Sean McNulty (UCD/Leinster)
3. Oisin Heffernan (Terenure College/Leinster)
4. David O’Connor (St. Mary’s College/Leinster)
5. Alex Thompson (Queen’s University Belfast/Ulster)
6. Josh Murphy (UCD/Leinster)
7. Conor Oliver (St Mary’s/ Leinster)
8. Lorcan Dow (Queen’s University Belfast/Ulster)


16. Zack McCall (Queen’s University Belfast/Ulster)
17. Liam O’Connor (Cork Constitution /Munster)
18. Conan O’Donnell (Sligo/NUIG/Connacht)
19. Jack Dwan (UCD/Leinster)
20. Nick Timoney (St. Mary’s College/Leinster)
21. Charlie Rock (Old Belvedere/Leinster)
22. Tomás Quinlan (Cork Constitution/Munster)
23. Jacob Stockdale (Queen’s University Belfast/Ulster)


15. Ruairi Howarth
14. Robbie Nairn
13. Tom Galbraith
12. Patrick Kelly
11. Alec Coombes
10. Blair Kinghorn
9. George Horne

1. Murray McCallum
2. Sam James
3. Zander Fagerson
4. Scott Cummings
5. Lewis Carmichael
6. Neil Irvine-Hess
7. Jamie Ritchie (captain)
8. Magnus Bradbury


16. Ross Graham
17. Dan Elkington
18. Jack Owlett
19. Andrew Davidson
20. Ruaridh Knott
21. Ben Vellacott
22. Rory Hutchinson
23. Richard Galloway

Analysis: Room to improve for Ireland at World U20 Championship

About the author:

Sean Farrell

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