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Four-try Ireland finish U20 Six Nations with Donnybrook victory over Scotland

Nigel Carolan’s men were deserved winners as their scrum dominated the second half.

Ireland 26

Scotland 18

NIGEL CAROLAN’S IRELAND U20s finished out their Six Nations campaign with a third successive win, scoring four tries in a 26-18 victory over Scotland at Donnybrook.

The result sees Ireland end the championship in third position.

Brett Connon tackled by George Taylor and Tom Galbraith Hugo Keenan runs at the Scottish defence. Source: Gary Carr/INPHO

The Irish scrum, boosted by the introduction of the freakishly powerful Andrew Porter, was dominant in the second half, laying the platform for Carolan’s side to turn around a 13-12 deficit.

Man of the match Adam McBurney, Ulster wing Jacob Stockdale and openside Will Connors all dotted down, while Welsh referee Dan Jones also awarded the home side a penalty try.

There were Ireland U20 debuts for Naas prop Adam Coyle and St. Mary’s man Hugo Kean off the bench as Carolan begins to look towards June’s World Rugby U20 Championship, where captain James Ryan will be crucial again.

The Leinster lock was excellent in leading his side against the Scots in what was an entertaining game, with the likes of Cillian Gallagher and McBurney ably backing up his efforts. Carolan will certainly have been boosted by a good performance from his side.

An early penalty from out-half Adam Hastings sent the Scots in front, punishing Ireland for going off their feet at the breakdown in search of a steal. Hastings extended that lead after 16 minutes with another penalty after Greg Jones collapsed one of Scotland’s effective mauls.

A firm decision from captain Ryan to go down the line with a kickable penalty just after the quarter mark paid dividends for Ireland as they finally kicked into life.

James Ryan tackled by Adam Hastings Ryan was excellent yet again. Source: Gary Carr/INPHO

McBurney found the wonderfully athletic Gallagher at the tail of the lineout 10 metres out, before Ryan burst off the maul to make yards. A quick recycle later and scrum-half Stephen Kerins fed McBurney to surge over the tryline for a clinical try that Joe Schmidt’s senior side would have been proud of.

With fullback Brett Connon slotting the straightforward conversion, Ireland led 7-6, but their decision to run out of their own half proved costly soon after. Referee Jones and his assistant ruled a lovely pass from Johnny McPhillips to Stockdale as forward, handing the Scots an attacking platform from scrum.

Lock Stephen Ainslie’s big linebreak did much of the damage as they moved into phase play, before scrum-half Hugh Fraser flicked a clever, disguised inside pass to wing D’Arcy Graham running a late line close to the ruck to scorch through and score.

Hastings added the conversion, but Ireland had the final say of the half in cruel circumstances. The clock in Donnybrook had not been stopping and starting with play, instead running straight through, and out-half Hastings believed the 40 minutes had passed when he opted to kick straight out on the full.

Jones signalled the Irish lineout with four minutes left in the half, amidst clear Scottish confusion, allowing Ireland to conjure an excellent try that saw Kerins, Johnny McPhillips, Shane Daly and Connon handle slickly to send Stockdale over in the left corner for an unconverted try.

Though they headed into the interval with a 13-12 lead, the Scots were cursing the stadium clock, which was left off altogether in the second half.

Adam McBurney goes over for a try McBurney crashes over for a first-half try. Source: Gary Carr/INPHO

The introduction of Leinster prop Porter at half time would have a telling impact for Ireland, with the UCD man winning a scrum penalty just two minutes after the break and giving Ireland the chance to score their third try.

From the subsequent five-metre lineout, Ryan, Porter himself, Gallagher and Kerins burst towards the tryline, but it was UCD openside Connors who powered over under the posts for a try confirmed by the TMO.

Connon converted for a 19-13 lead, centre Rory Hutchinson missing a penalty for the visitors soon after, and then the impressive Gallagher had a try correctly ruled out by the TMO.

His despairing effort to stretch out and score, knocking on in the process, came at the end of an excellent multi-phase passage of Irish attack that featured a nice dart from Daly and a sharp offload from replacement number eight Max Deegan.

Porter turned up the heat again at the scrum that followed Gallagher’s knock-on, however, winning a penalty with his destructive power and then forcing a penalty try that saw Scotland tighthead Callum Sheldon sin binned.

With Connon converting, Ireland appeared to be home and hosed at 26-13, but the Scots fought bravely.

The Ireland pack are awarded a penalty Ireland's pack was excellent at scrum time in the second half. Source: Gary Carr/INPHO

Centre George Taylor went through Kerins’ tackle attempt on a brilliant counter-attack that saw a sublime offload from Hutchinson to score, though the Northampton Saints man missed the conversion attempt.

The Scots suddenly had their tails up heading into the closing minutes, with sub lock Peter Claffey winning a crucial turnover penalty metres from the Irish line following one sustained period of pressure.

Porter and the Irish pack maintained the squeeze on at scrum time too to keep the Scots at bay and Ireland closed out the game on the attack.

Ireland scorers: Tries: Adam McBurney, Jacob Stockdale, Will Connors, Penalty try

Conversions: Brett Connon [4 from 4]

Scotland scorers:

Tries: D’Arcy Graham, George Taylor

Conversions: Adam Hastings [1 from 1], Rory Hutchinson [0 from 1]

Penalties: Adam Hastings [2 from 2], Rory Hutchinson [0 from 1]

IRELAND: Brett Connon; Hugo Keenan, Shane Daly (Paul Kiernan ’76), Conor O’Brien, Jacob Stockdale; Johnny McPhillips (Matthew Byrne ’76), Stephen Kerins (John Poland ’76); James Bollard (Andrew Porter ‘HT), Adam McBurney, Conan O’Donnell (Adam Coyle ’71); Sean O’Connor (Peter Claffey ’51), James Ryan (captain) (HIA - Hugo Kean ’76); Cillian Gallagher, Will Connors, Greg Jones (Max Deegan ’51).

SCOTLAND: Tom Galbraith (captain); D’Arcy Graham, George Taylor, Ben Robbins (Robbie Nairn ‘HT (Ruaridh Dawson ’46)); Adam Hastings (Ruairi Howarth ‘HT), Hugh Fraser; Murray McCallum, Jake Kerr (Lewis Anderson ’57), Callum Sheldon (YC ’55); Callum Hunter-Hill, Stephen Ainslie; Scott Burnside (George Thornton ’67), Matt Smith (HIA - Lee Scott ’25 (Hamish Bain ’54 (Adam Nicol ’58 to ’67))), Ally Miller.

RefereeDan Jones [WRU].

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Murray Kinsella

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