Ireland U20s well beaten as powerful England advance to JWC final

Mike Ruddock’s men conceded five tries and now face a 3rd/4th place play-off against South Africa or New Zealand.

Ireland out-half Ross Byrne [file photo].
Ireland out-half Ross Byrne [file photo].
Image: James Crombie/INPHO

England U20s 42

Ireland U20s 15

IRELAND U20s COULD not cope with the superior pace, power and skill of their English counterparts as they suffered a 42-15 defeat in the semi-finals of the Junior World Championship in New Zealand.

Mike Ruddock’s men battled throughout a difficult 80 minutes at QBE Stadium, but England deservedly crossed for five tries in a dominant performance. Ireland now move on to prepare for the 3rd/4th place play-off against the losers of the South Africa v New Zealand semi-final.

In North Harbour, England were on the scoreboard as early as the 4th minute, when out-half Billy Burns slotted a penalty. Minutes later centre Harry Sloan dashed over to the right of the posts after an incisive passage of English attack.

Burns converted that score, before adding another penalty to put Nick Walshe’s team 13-0 ahead. Ireland out-half Ross Byrne replied with three points of his own from the tee to get his side into the game on the 19-minute mark.

However, the English onslaught proved impossible to halt, as Danny Hobbs-Awoyemi, Howard Packman and Tom Woolstencroft all dotted down before half time. With Burns converting all three scores, England led 34-3 at the break.

Packman dropped a goal from close range in the 47th minute, before Ireland finally manufactured a try of their own. Byrne’s intelligent grubber kick metres from the England tryline bounced up perfectly for Garry Ringrose to gather and score.

Again England bounced back strongly from the Irish score, with flanker Gus Jones touching down at the tail of the latest unstoppable close-range maul. The sheer power and cohesion of the England pack was all too much for Ireland.

With Ruddock emptying his bench in the final 15 minutes, there was a try of noteworthy quality from Ireland. Conor McKeon’s wide pass allowed Harrison Brewer to get outside his man, before passing to wing Alex Wootten.

The former Northampton academy player – now with Munster – finished in style, capping off an improved second-half display by Ireland.

A final attack from England, who had superior athletes all over the pitch, saw Ireland fullback Cian Kelleher sin-binned and Ruddock’s men will reflect on a disappointing outing in which they were physically swept aside by the English.

Walshe’s men advance to the final buoyed by an impressive display in this comprehensive victory.

England scorers:

Tries: H Sloan, D Hobbs-Awoyemi, H Packman, T Woolsencroft, G Jones

Conversions: B Burns [4]

Penalties: B Burns [2]

Drop goals: H Packman

Ireland scorers:

Tries: G Ringrose, A Wootten

Conversion: R Byrne

Penalty: R Byrne

ENGLAND U20: Aaron Morris (Bedford Blues), Howard Packman (Northampton Saints), Nick Tompkins (Saracens), Harry Sloan (Harlequins), Nathan Earle (Saracens); Billy Burns (Gloucester Rugby), Henry Taylor (Loughborough University); Danny Hobbs-Awoyemi (Northampton Saints), Tom Woolstencroft (Bath Rugby), Paul Hill (Leeds Carnegie); Maro Itoje (Saracens, capt.), Charlie Ewels (Bath Rugby); Ross Moriarty (Gloucester Rugby), Gus Jones (London Wasps), James Chisholm (Harlequins).

Replacements: Jack Walker (Leeds Carnegie) , Alex Lundberg (London Wasps) , Harry Rudkin (Leicester Tigers), Hayden Thompson-Stringer (Saracens), Joel Conlon (Exeter Chiefs), Callum Braley (Bristol Rugby), Sam Olver (Northampton Saints), Henry Purdy (Leicester Rugby).

IRELAND U20: Cian Kelleher (Lansdowne/Leinster); Ciaran Gaffney (Galwegians/Connacht), Garry Ringrose (UCD/Leinster), Dan Goggin (Young Munster/Munster), Alex Wootton (Garryowen/Munster); Ross Byrne (UCD/Leinster), Nick McCarthy (UCD/Leinster); Peter Dooley (Lansdowne/Leinster), Max Abbott (Cork Constitution/Munster), Rory Burke (Cork Constitution/Munster), Stephen Gardiner (Lansdowne/Leinster), Ross Molony (UCD/Leinster), Peadar Timmins (UCD/Leinster), Frank Taggart (Belfast Harlequins/Ulster), Jack O’Donoghue (UL Bohemians/Munster, capt.).

Replacements: Dylan Donnellan (UCD/Leinster), Denis Coulson (Lansdowne/Leinster), Oisin Heffernan (Lansdowne/Leinster), Darragh Moloney (Cork Constitution/Munster), Rory Moloney (Buccaneers/Connacht), Ryan Foley (Lansdowne/Leinster), Conor McKeon (Lansdowne/Leinster), Harrison Brewer (Terenure College/Leinster).

Referee: Angus Gardner (Australia).

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Murray Kinsella

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