This site uses cookies to improve your experience and to provide services and advertising. By continuing to browse, you agree to the use of cookies described in our Cookies Policy. You may change your settings at any time but this may impact on the functionality of the site. To learn more see our Cookies Policy.
Dublin: 6 °C Friday 22 November, 2019


66,914 Views 77 Comments

Good afternoon, fans of up-and-coming Irish rugby talent.

We’re in for minute-by-minute coverage of Ireland’s tall order against the Baby Blacks. Is this their moment in the winner’s enclosure against NZ?

Here’s how they’ll line up in Manchester today. Nigel Carolan has been able to name 14 of the side who triumphed over Grand Slam winners Wales on Tuesday.

In the black jerseys, watch out for Beauden Barrett’s wee bro Jordie in the centre.

Ireland U20

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. Bill Johnston (Garryowen / Munster)
9. Stephen Kerins (Sligo / Connacht)

1. Andrew Porter (UCD / Leinster)
2. Adam McBurney (Ballymena / Ulster)
3. Ben Betts (Young Munster / Munster)
4. Cillian Gallagher (Sligo / Connacht)
5. James Ryan (Lansdowne / Leinster) Captain
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. Vakh Abdaladze (Clontarf / Leinster)*
19. Sean O’Connor (Cashel / Munster)
20. Kelvin Brown (Shannon / Munster)
21. Niall Saunders (Epsom College / Exile)
22. Johnny McPhillips (Queens University / Ulster)
23. Jimmy O’Brien (UCD / Leinster)

New Zealand U20

15. Jordan Trainor
14. Shaun Stevenson
13. Patelesio Tomkinson
12. Jordie Barrett
11. Malo Tuitama
10. Stephen Perofeta
9. Sam Nock

1. Ayden Johnstone
2. Leni Apisai (Capt)
3. Sosefo Kautai
4. Quinten Strange
5. Isaia Walker-Leawere
6. Luke Jacobson
7. Mitchell Jacobson
8. Marino Mikaele-Tu’u


16. Asafo Aumua
17. Sean Paranihi
18. Alex Fidow
19. Hamish Dalzell
20. Dalton Papali’I
21. Jonathan Taumateine
22. TJ Va’a
23. Jonah Lowe

The teams are out enjoying the anthems in the familiar Manchester rain. That probably won’t suit either team, given the handling skills Nigel Carolan’s men showed off last time out, but it may be a leveller of sorts.

There’s the Haka. Ireland stand firm 20 metres away and meet the challenge.

Here comes kick-off.

0 mins: Bill Johnston gets us under way in the rain… James Ryan gets to the short restart, but knocks on as he attempts to slap it backwards.

NZ go wide off a firm first scrum, but they overplay it a little on the first set and Daly gets a boot to a loose ball.

He can’t quite chase it down all the way to the try-line though and Perofeta clears his lines.


It was Jordie Barrett who covered back and regathered the loose ball, but NZ gave up a penalty as Ireland looked to count and Johnston…

PENALTY! Ireland 3 New Zealand 0 (Johnston ’4)

From 40 metres the Munster man drills a beauty.

6 mins: Just as you lure yourself into thinking Ireland are enjoying the rain, the Baby Blacks absolutely pour themselves in and through a ruck to force a turnover and Perfofeta kicks a superb spiral down into the corner.

Ireland’s line-out is solid and Johnston clears his lines from well behind the goal. Kiwi line-out from 22 now.


TRY! Ireland 3 New Zealand 7 (Barrett ’7)

So simple, but so effective. NZ make hard yards off the line-out and once within 10 metres, Sam Nock sends a laser of a pass to Barrett on a storming run that breaks a tackle on his way to the line.

He adds the conversion for good measure.

10 mins: Ireland threaten an instant riposte as Hugo Keenan picks up a dropped restart take. That man Nock is alive to the danger though and drags the wing down inside the Black 22.

HUGE SCRUM! Ireland get a big confidence boost and force a penalty five metres out from the try-line.

James Ryan passes up the kick at goal and we’re packing down again.

13 mins: Brilliant hunting from openside Mitchell Jacobsen, foraging round the back of a messy Irish scrum and stealing the pill to give New Zealand an out from a dangerous situation.

Errors aplenty are making this game exciting. New Zealand cough up ball off the back of a set-piece on their 22 metre line now and Ireland mount the attack in the red zone.

Jacobsen pinged for killing the ball in front of his posts. This time we will aim for the easy three.

17 mins: Referee consults his TMO and comes back with a decision to sin-bin Adam McBurney after his arm stopped a three on two overlap.

YELLOW CARD: Adam McBurney

Jordie Barrett just nudges the long-range penalty right of the posts. Ireland must hold out now with 14 men against the best team at exploiting a one-man advantage.

Aspil called ashore as Vincent O’Brien comes in to make up the front row numbers for scrummaging.

Ireland’s defensive shape doing well enough to force NZ to probe wide channels and eventually grubber. Kerins sweeps effectively and clears for a line-out.

23 mins: Ah, that’s great to see. Ireland win a loose ball and Johnston’s first instinct is to pass wide, where Daly beats his man.

Johnston eventually does kick clear, but on his own terms 20 metres from the line.

That’s what they’re capable of. Stockdale chips and chases, but the bounce in midfield just evades him. In a flash, the black jerseys are celebrating as they move wide in fractured play where Barrett offloads and Stephenson chips over the second last defender and regathers before jinking past Matt Byrne.

Barrett adds the conversion

Ireland 6 New Zealand 14

Centre Conor O’Brien is off for a blood or possibly HIA. Jimmy O’Brien slots in in his place.


TRY! Ireland 13 New Zealand 14 (Jones ’27)

The big back row gets the ball to ground after a terrifically controlled rolling maul. Johnston adds a brilliant conversion to put his side right in touch before the sin-bin period ends.

30 mins: Ooof! Terrific kick from Jacob Stockdale sends the pill booming from inside his 22 to within 10 metres of the NZ try-line.

32 mins: The Baby Blacks are feeling the pressure. Ireland haven’t quite been able to return anything to the house yet, but handling errors and loose passes are keeping the green jerseys in the right part of the field.

33 mins: Penalty from the right wing is directed towards the corner by James Ryan, Johnston makes damn sure he hits touch and Ireland will line out from the 22.

Conor O’Brien is patched up and back in.

WHAT A TRY! The set-piece proves ferocious again and McBurney slingshots around the rolling maul, building up a head of steam on the blind side and boshing his way through while dotting the ball down in the corner.

And from that difficult angle Johnston finds the target yet again. Ireland lead by six!

Ireland 20 New Zealand 14


Oh no. Bill Johnston is down. He looks in a bad way before walking off with his shoulder – the same injury which kept him out of the Six Nations – hanging limp.

Big effort needed from Ireland to make sure they hold this advantage through the break. Matt Byrne and Greg Jones get big hits in while Johnny McPhillips settles into the rhythm of the contest.

HALF-TIME: Ireland 20 New Zealand 14

What a 40 minutes from Nigel Carolan’s boys.

Here we go then, the second half is off and running.

Ireland still putting the southern hemisphere boys under the pump. Hugo Keenan gets a big, big hit in on Jordan Trainor.

NZ change their first-five, Va’a in for Perofeta.

44 mins: And there’s another big boost in momentum, another scrum penalty.

The line-out that follows on the 22 is promising, but NZ kill the initial burst and Jacobsen draws a series of whoops from his team-mates as he forces a vital penalty on his 22 metre line.

The black jerseys look to move it quickly, tapping the penalty and haring after a loose ball.


Ireland aren’t being cowed by the efforts to step up the tempo. A penalty comes as Kerins makes a decent show of ripping the ball out of a ruck with hands all over it. McPhillips’ kick is a beaut, but he’ll go back to aim for the posts.

PENALTY! Ireland 23 New Zealand 14 (McPhillips ’47)

YES! Max Deegan goes up and gets a terrific line-out steal around the green 22 metre line.

The rain coming down heavier now and the 9-point lead is extremely valuable.

51 mins: So close for NZ. The attack is being held at arm’s length by Ireland, but a clever kick from Va’a comes within an inch, or a bounce of the hands of Shaun Stevenson. Exit strategy coming from Ireland…

Oh but it fails. The line-out works, but the maul is stuffed by the Baby Black pack. They’ll scrum down from eight metres on the right wing.

Some excellent inside running lines create space out wide and Stockdale has to rush out of the line to close down the space, but he’s a fraction late and Tuitama steps around Ryan to run in behind the try-line.

Barrett misses the conversion though. Four-point game!

Well now, the TMO is looking at a similar incident that led to McBurney’s binning in the first 40. Tuitama knocks on during a passing sequence…

55 mins: ‘Completely different’ says the referee.

The first one was harsh, and to call that completely different is a serious exaggeration.

57 mins: Jordie Barrett putting in a masterclass with and without the ball. His brilliantly timed pass led to the Tuitama try and there he is smashing green jerseys backwards in the hope of finding the pivotal next score in this enthralling game.

Jesus. Just as I’m praising Jordie Barrett he comes very close to single-handedly pushing his team into the lead. Like big heavy GAA midfielder, he finds a gap and rumbles through the wet grass as far as the final third. He unleashes an easy, languid swing at the ball in his hands and it comes down behind the try-line.

Fortunately for Ireland, there are enough green jerseys scrambling back to thwart his catch and the lead is maintained.

62 mins: Everything is difficult now with fatigue setting in, especially escaping Ireland’s half. Until a turnover! NZ spill and Kerins unleashes an almighty hoof that puts the ball beyond halfway.

Carolan will begin emptying the bench now.

64 mins: Ball by ball, knock-on by knock-on, Ireland’s chances are improving here. Kerins’ passing is inviting his players onto the ball and they’re taking care of it while it seems to be bouncing off every other black jersey.

Another. Enormous. Scrum.

Ireland’s pack have their dander well and truly up.

Wait, oh no… McPHillips’ penalty is well shy of finding touch. Fortunately, NZ’s return finds Stockdale who smashes the ball back into the right-hand corner with interest.

And Ireland steal the 5m line-out!

67 mins: The Wolfpups can mount an attack from inside 10 metres here and they’ll do just that without any sense of hurry.

67 mins: Safe hands, big carries the order of the day, but after solid trucks hit up, McPhillips hits a fine pass wide. NZ scramble to send the attack back in.

Kelvin Brown makes a break for the line!

Ah no. He’s been pinned on his back after crossing the line.

Ireland take on a big scrum and why the EFF not. They’ve been dominant at set-piece.

NZ force a reset, but Ireland sense blood here, they can seal the game with a big shove.


Not a penalty try though and Ryan again eschews the option of a not-guaranteed three.

ANother big scrum coming. Are you close to a TV?

Unbelievable. The scrum does the work again, but Deegan isn’t waiting around for the referee to offer a route to victory, he grabs it himself, storming down the blind side of the scrum and sliding home!

McPhillips’ conversion is an absolute textbook touchline effort. Stunning!


Seven minutes to go.


TRY! Ireland 30 New Zealand 24 (Tuitama ’74)

Just when you think they’re out. They pull themselves back in. Tuitama’s get a second try after the replacement scrum-half ghosts through the D.

Barrett can’t make the conversion.

76 mins: The clock is ticking tantalizingly down as Ireland scrum on the 22 metre line… and they force ANOTHER set-piece penalty.

Amazing. McPhillips will bang this central penalty to reopen the nine-point lead.

Absolutely enormous effort from one to 15 and on to 23. McPhilliips bangs it clear and Ireland are going to end this game on the front foot.


30 seconds to go and NZ win the turnover, but deep in their 22 with handling that has let them down all day, it’s game over.

Ireland will win a famous and utterly deserved victory!


Wow. Just wow. We have to pick ourselves off the floor here. That was one of the all-time great displays from an Ireland team. The first time they’ve beaten New Zealand at this level and they did it in a dramatic, drenched setting in Manchester, but they did so in serious style.

One team dealt with conditions out there, one team managed to handle the ball consistently well and play despite the rain. And one team is now on their way to top spot in the pool.

Thanks for stopping in and following our liveblog of a momentous day. We’ll have lots more reaction and analysis from the day the Wolfpuppies took a big bite out of the world order. Hit the #FutureIsGreen tag to see all our coverage.

About the author:

Sean Farrell