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Dublin: 15 °C Saturday 8 August, 2020


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A very good evening to you age grade-loving rugby connoisseurs. We’re wiping our Springbok-inflicted tears away after the injustice of Port Elizabeth and keeping our chins up for this 7pm kick off.

Get in touch by hitting us up on Facebook, our Snapchat code is here or follow us on Twitter @Rugby_ie. Or you could always just let your feelings be known in the comment section below.

Here’s how the teams will line up at the AJ Bell Stadium. Both outfits unchanged from the semis.



15 Max Malins (Saracens)
14 Sam Aspland-Robinson (Harlequins)
13 Joe Marchant (Harlequins)
12 Johnny Williams (London Irish)
11 Matt Gallagher (Saracens)
10 Harry Mallinder (Northampton Saints) Capt.
9 Max Green (Yorkshire Carnegie)

1 Lewis Boyce (Yorkshire Carnegie)
2 Jack Singleton (Worcester Warriors)
3 Billy Walker (Saracens)
4 Stan South (Harlequins)
5 Huw Taylor (Worcester Warriors)
6 George Nott (Sale Sharks)
7 Will Evans (Leicester Tigers)
8 Callum Chick (Newcastle Falcons)


16 Charlie Piper (Harlequins)
17 Tom West (Wasps)
18 Will Stuart (Wasps)
19  Andrew Kitchener (Worcester Warriors)
20 Jack Willis (Wasps)
21 Harry Randall (Gloucester Rugby)
22 Max Wright (Yorkshire Carnegie)
23 Ollie Thorley (Gloucester Rugby)


15. Jacob Stockdale (Belfast Harlequins / Ulster)
14. Matthew Byrne (Terenure / Leinster)
13. Shane Daly (Cork Con / Munster)
12. Conor O’Brien (Clontarf / Leinster)
11. Hugo Keenan (UCD / Leinster)
10. Johnny McPhillips (Queen’s University / Ulster)
9. Stephen Kerins (Sligo / Connacht)

1. Andrew Porter (UCD / Leinster)
2. Adam McBurney (Ballymena / Ulster)
3. Ben Betts (Young Munster / Munster)
4. Sean O’Connor (Cashel / Munster)
5. James Ryan (Lansdowne / Leinster) Capt.
6. Greg Jones (UCD / Leinster)
7. David Aspil (St.Mary’s RFC / Leinster)
8. Max Deegan (Lansdowne / Leinster)


16. Vincent O’Brien (Cork Con / Munster)
17. James Bollard (Dublin University / Leinster)
18. Adam Coyle (Naas / Leinster)
19. Evan Mintern (Cork Con / Munster)
20. Kelvin Brown (Shannon / Munster)
21. Niall Saunders (Harlequins)
22. Brett Connon (Newcastle Falcons)
23. Jimmy O’Brien (UCD / Leinster)

Here they come. England, in their seventh final in nine years and our history-making boys in green, playing their first.

Here go then. England kick off and Kerins takes the ball in before clearing his lines.

Big early wobble from Mallinder as his chop off the toe slices behind him.

England recover well and Green rifles the ball up the right touchline.

2 mins: The line-out is brilliant as ever and the penalty comes from the breakdown after a solid Deegan carry.

4 mins: Jonny Williams comes close to a game-breaker, sneaking through a gap before a desperate Deegan tackle hauls him down as he thirsted for the posts.

Terrific line-out steal from Ryan and Ben Betts gathers the pill before making yards upfield.

AND Ireland steal another, Deegan this time getting up to rob Singleton’s throw.

It’s the step after that first turnover phase that’s troubling Ireland though, coughing up the ball too easily and England can pin us back in.

Now there’s a worry. James Ryan rolling around holding an elbow. He is vital to Irish hopes here. Hopefully it’s not as serious as it looks, He didn’t get his arms around the last tackle and his forearm flew forward with a jolt.

Meanwhile, Harry Mallinder sends a warning shot of a penalty from the halfway line, but it’s no more than that as the kick trails wide.

12 mins: We’ve mentioned Mallinder’s mistakes, but it’s clear why he’s captain. He is running this game: attacking the line and kicking for territory to keep the Rosebuds deep in Irish territory.

TRY! England 5 Ireland 0 (Marchant ’14)

Terrific individual score from the centre. Just side-steps a tackle and Ireland’s defence is too fractured after coping with heavier hitters to stop that kind of pace.

Mallinder adds the conversion to compound the breakthrough.

England 7 Ireland 0

17 mins: England are dominant, but Ireland’s line-out continues to be a hurdle too high for them to navigate. Singleton having a nightmare with Ryan’s defensive setup.


The scrum on the other hand, belongs to England. A penalty goes to white in the left corner and the penalty comes. We’ll soon be in penalty try territory…


TRY! England 12 Ireland 0 (Chick ’21)

A monster of a scrum as England steer clear of Porter and go after the tighthead side. Chick pops out the back of a messy mass of men and celebrates a touchdown.

Mallinder is on the money again, and Ireland are back where they started in this tournament – two scores adrift.

England 14 Ireland 0

24 mins: Sky’s commentators were placing an onus on James Ryan to carry the fight back to England and James Ryan steps forward in a big way, boshing through a Singleton tackle and putting Ireland on the front foot.

Alas, it’s only temporary. The penalty goes they way of England. And it’s D time again.


TRY! England 21 Ireland 0 (Taylor ’30)

Mallinder adds another conversion after starting the move on the left.  Johnny Williams takes the ball into contact and rides the tackle while offloading to Taylor who is able to cruise in.

The Rosebuds are too good.

Boom! A glimmer of enjoyment for Irish fans as Andrew Porter makes the most of a mis-match and pounds replacement scrum-half Harry Randall into the dirt.

HALF-TIME: England 21 Ireland 0

We’re back under way in the second half in Sale Sharks’ AJ Bell Stadium.  Ireland are rocked straight onto the back foot, but wait! Conor O’Brien steps a tackle and breaks clear.

He makes 30 yards but ends up knocking on…


TRY! England 28 Ireland 0 (Mallinder ’43)

England show another devastating clip of their clinical nature, spinning the turnover wide immediately. The carriers take straight lines and hold the ball in two hands and it’s obvious long before the skipper gets his hands on the ball that the white jerseys are going to convert to overload.

Ireland ripped apart.

That’s more like it!

Ireland attack with Porter taking the ball on before letting a pass go and Keenan gets around the corner within a foot of the line…


TRY! England 28 Ireland 7 (McBurney ’46)

There’s the maul in action! Another smooth attack off the sideline set-piece and the hooker gets over. Johnny McPhillips adds the conversion for good measure.


TRY! England 35 Ireland 7 (Mallinder ’50)

Ireland being punished any time a man tries to step up and hit behind the gainline. Edwards breaks through and has options either side of him to feed a score,  he picks the easy pass to Mallinder.


TRY! England 35 Ireland 14 (Daly ’52)

Ah, that’s a sensational try. All created by a brilliant weaving run from Jacob Stockdale who beats three men before giving the honour of the finish to the centre.

McPhillips does well to convert from the right touchline.

England have allowed us turn this into a shootout of sorts. Two tries in this second half have certainly put a nice gloss on the scoreboard.

As the replacements prepare to roll on, hopefully the game can get even more fractured so we can close this chasm a little further.


SIN-BIN! Stephen Kerins eats yellow after knocking the ball out of Randall’s hands as he quick-taps a pen.

PENALTY! England 38 Ireland 14 (Mallinder ’60)

A shot of the crowd shows a group singing the Fields of Athenry, and they contain some very familiar faces. At least four of them must be older brothers of the men on the field.

Just as we began thinking how great it was to have only conceded the one penalty in the sin-bin period, England rip it up again. Marchant getting in for his second try by claiming a cross-field kick and coolly stepping the last tackle.

KABLAMO! Nice line-out move from Ireland that allows Porter come steaming around the corner. Leads a shoulder into a tackler 6 metres out and comes up a yard short of the line.

England’s ruck has been excellent tonight though and they kill the attack again.

Harry Mallinder is the right and obvious choice for Sky’s man-of-the-match award.

From 1 to 15, England have dominated this game. The only game in hte tournament Max Deegan hasn’t been able to make a massive difference in.

Ireland at least ending this final on the attack, testing that English concentration. Penalty in front of the posts isn’t allowed be quick-tapped by Saunders so Connon kicks to touch.

TRY! England 45 Ireland 21 (Deegan ’79)

There he is, Ireland’s player of the tournament wouldn’t be kept out of the game entirely. Picks up Porter’s quick ball on the line and dives through for the third green try.

Connon comes up with a superb conversion.

About the author:

Sean Farrell