# Green Light
Class captain Ryan leads terrific Ireland U20 comeback in away win over England
Ireland came back from 20 – 6 down to win 20 – 26.

England u20: 20

Ireland u20: 26

NIGEL CAROLAN’S IRELAND under 20 side erased a 14-point second-half deficit to stun England.

Second half tries from captain James Ryan, Matthew Byrne and Andrew Porter made for a terrific fightback for any side, never mind one on the back of two defeats in this Championship.

james ryan offload

England set the tone for physical dominance right from the off, Wasps tighthead Will Stuart slamming in to an early ruck to force Ireland onto the back foot from the kick-off..

The first scrum of the game was a demolition job from the home pack and the resulting line-out set up a maul which quickly rumbled through the green resistance with Smith benefiting by grounding the fourth minute try.

England struggled to translate that double set-piece dominance. Although errors and a solid white wall of defence kept Ireland from creating clear scoring chances, Nigel Carolan’s men were the more disciplined side at the breakdown.

Out-half Johnny McPhillips kicked Ireland onto the board after 16 minutes with a monster penalty from close to the halfway line and he might have made it a one-score game minutes later, but the kick drifted wide.

Then Protheroe carved Ireland open, stepping Jimmy O’Brien in midfield and galloping in to space until George Perkins popped up on his shoulder to finish.

Even with a healthy lead and an apparent physical dominance, England’s indiscipline kept Ireland in the game and in their territory. However, it was Ireland tighthead Conan O’Donnell who earned the first yellow card, penalised for killing the ball when England had broken in to the Ireland 22 in the last play of the half.

Protheroe tapped the penalty over to make England’s lead 17 – 6 at half-time and he followed up after the break with a well-struck drop-goal.

Then the game was switched right back on again as Smith tested the referee’s patience by crashing into the side of a ruck. He joined O’Donnell in the sin-bin and for five minutes the game was 14 on 14.

The loss of Smith unsettled the England pack and Ireland’s excellent captain Ryan took full advantage of the confusion, strolling over on the open side of a maul with pillar defenders asleep.

Johnny McPhillips with Jack Singleton Alex Dodd / INPHO Alex Dodd / INPHO / INPHO

McPhillips missed the conversion and was taken off kicking duties, but his hands continued to work well. His whipped pass to Brett Connon stretched England and the Newcastle man invited Matthew Byrne to deliver a terrific diving finish in the corner. Connon stepped up to take the kicking duties and drilled a brilliant touchline conversion from the right just inside the post. 20 – 18.

Ryan wasn’t done there. The lock made the invaluable gainline five metres out from the try-line with 10 minutes to go and twisted to pop up an offload into the grasp of loosehead Andrew Porter who wasn’t going to be stopped from that distance.

Connon couldn’t follow up his terrific opening kick with a second conversion. But England couldn’t fashion a clear opening at the other end and the TMO gave Ireland time and space to clear their lines.

England would finish their second loss of the Championship with 14 men as replacement Sam South was given a red card for a tip tackle on Porter. Connon nailed the resulting penalty to make Ireland’s lead six points and seal the Wolfpuppies’ first win over England since 2013.



Tries: S Smith, G Perkins

Conversions: M Protheroe (2/2)

Penalties: M Protheroe (0/1)

Drop-goal: M Protheroe (1/1)


Tries: J Ryan, M Byrne, A Porter

Conversion: J McPhillips (0/1) B Connon (1/2)

Penalties: J McPhillips (2/4) B Connon (1/1)


15. Max Malins (Saracens)
14. George Perkins (Saracens)
13. Joe Merchant (Harlequins)
12. Charlie Thacker (Leicester Tigers)
11. Ollie Thorley (Gloucester)
10. Matthew Protheroe (Gloucester)
9. Max Green (Yorkshire Carnegie)

1. Tom West (Wasps)
2. Jack Singleton (Worcester Warriors)
3. Will Stuart (Wasps)
4. Huw Taylor (Worcester Warriors)
5. George Nott (Sale Sharks)
6. Archie White (Harlequins)
7. Sam Smith (Worcester Warriors)
8. Callum Chick (Newcastle) Capt.


16. Curtis Langdon (London Irish)
17. Jake Pope (Sale Sharks)
18. Billy Keast (Exeter Chiefs)
19. Stan South (Harlequins)
20. Jack Willis (Wasps)
21. Jamie Shillcock (Worcester Warriors))
22. Joe Simmonds (Exeter Chiefs)
23. Pablo Odogwu (Leicester Tigers)


15. Jack Power (UCD / Leinster)
14. Hugo Keenan (UCD / Leinster)
13. Shane Daly (Cork Con / Munster)
12. Jimmy O’Brien (UCD/ Leinster)
11. Conor O’Brien (Clontarf / Leinster)
10. Johnny McPhillips (QUB / Ulster)
9. Stephen Kerins (Sligo / Connacht)

1. Andrew Porter (UCD / Leinster)
2. Adam McBurney (Ballymena / Ulster)
3. Conán O’Donnell (Sligo / Connacht)
4. Peter Claffey (Galwegians / Connacht)
5. James Ryan (Lansdowne / Leinster) Capt.
6. Cillian Gallagher (Sligo / Connacht)
7. Will Connors (UCD / Leinster)
8. Greg Jones (UCD / Leinster)*


16. Shane Fenton (Young Munster / Munster)
17. James Bollard (Dublin University / Leinster)
18. Ben Betts (Munster / Young Munster)*
19. Sean O’Connor (Cashel / Munster)
20. Kelvin Brown (Shannon / Munster)
21. John Poland (Cork Con / Munster)
22. Brett Connon (Newcastle Falcons)
23. Matthew Byrne (Terenure / Leinster)

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