THE IRELAND U20S ended their Six Nations campaign with a 26-18 win over Scotland at Donnybrook. Read our match report here.
Below, we pick out three of the standout players for Nigel Carolan’s side. Captain James Ryan deserves mention in this regard too, but has featured so regularly in these pieces that we have focused elsewhere after the victory over Scotland.
The Connacht man can also play lock but has been very impressive on Ireland’s blindside flank in this championship. Underage at this level again next year, the Sligo man is an excellent athlete and hard worker.
His lineout performance against the Scots was particularly superb, as he showed explosiveness, handling skill and timing to take several vital balls out of touch, most notably in the build-up to Adam McBurney’s try.
The power extended into his contributions around the pitch as the Connacht underage star made a series of important carries and always offered himself up to tackle hard too. The 111kg back row is still only 18 and looks like a very promising player.
Another man who has stood out across the course of the championship for Ireland, Ulster U20 captain McBurney again led from the front for Carolan’s side.
His breakdown work is very effective, with the Ballymena man consistently getting into good positions to either slow or steal opposition ball. The 100kg hooker proved a constant thorn in Scotland’s side in that regard.
His try was just reward for an accurate set-piece display from McBurney too, as he hit his man regularly, even with Ireland throwing to the tail often. At scrum time, the Ulsterman was part of a dominant second-half performance too.
His influence and infectious work rate will be important in June’s World Rugby U20 Championship.
The UCD man, so highly rated within the Leinster system, has been building up to a scrummaging performance like this one. Though James Bollard got the nod to start and performed well, it was Porter who punished the Scottish scrum.
He won a penalty at scrum time just two minutes after coming off the bench, then carried powerfully in the subsequent passage that ended with Will Connors scoring.
Ireland’s penalty try from the scrum in the 55th minute was all about Porter’s destruction of Scottish tighthead Callum Sheldon, who was binned as a result, and there were other strong set-piece efforts and some good carrying too.
118kg Porter is known to be a unique specimen in strength and power terms, which was plain to see in Donnybrook. Playing in his second season at U20s level, this is exactly the kind of display Porter will be backing himself to deliver this summer and into the future.
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Incredible offloads and cracking tries – Super Rugby produced a serious highlights reel this morning