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Dublin: 9°C Saturday 15 May 2021


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Good evening and welcome along to our liveblog of Ireland’s opening summer Test. Eight months on from the first international of the season —  a historic and unforgettable win over New Zealand — Ireland are back on US soil to face the hosts in New Jersey.

Like the Soldier Field Test, Eir Sport 2 will be your live broadcaster this evening, so make use of the hour between now and  the 10pm kick-off to find that on your TV, brew some coffee or send out for more barley and hop-based beverages.

Juuuussssssssssssst in case news of these Lions-year semi-second-string tours managed to pass you by this week, here’s the team Joe Schmidt has named. It includes a full debut for 21-year-old Ulster sensation Jacob Stockdale, plus the promise of four more new caps as Dave Heffernan, Andrew Porter, James Ryan and Rory Scannell sit on the bench.

The USA meanwhile, have three Irish born players in their ranks as Paddy Ryan prepares to follow his fellow Corkman John Quill and Dublin’s AJ MacGinty into the Test arena.

US Eagles

15. Ben Cima (Rocky Gorge)
14. Mike Te’o (Unattached)
13. Ryan Matyas (Old Blue of New York)
12. Marcel Brache (Western Force)
11. Martin Iosefo (University of Montana)
10. AJ MacGinty (Sale Sharks)
9. Nate Augspurger (Old Blue of New York — captain)

1. Ben Tarr (Denver Stampede)
2. Peter Malcolm (Wheeling Jesuit University)
3. Chris Baumann (Unattached)
4. Nate Brakeley (New York Athletic Club)
5. Nic Civetta (Newcastle Falcons)
6. John Quill (Unattached)
7. Tony Lamborn (Hawke’s Bay Magpies)
8. David Tameilau (Narbonne)


16. James Hilterbrand (Manly)
17. Joe Taufete’e (San Diego Breakers)
18. Paddy Ryan (Newcastle Falcons)
19. Matthew Jensen (Brigham Young University)
20. Andrew Durutalo (Sunwolves)
21. Shaun Davies (Glendale Raptors)
22. Will Magie (Glendale Raptors)
23. Bryce Campbell (Indiana University)


15. Tiernan O’Halloran
14. Keith Earls
13. Garry Ringrose
12. Luke Marshall
11. Jacob Stockdale
10. Joey Carbery
9. Kieran Marmion

1. Cian Healy
2. Niall Scannell
3. John Ryan
4. Quinn Roux
5. Devin Toner
6. Rhys Ruddock (captain)
7. Josh van der Flier
8. Jack Conan


16. Dave Heffernan
17. Dave Kilcoyne
18. Andrew Porter
19. James Ryan
20. Dan Leavy
21. Luke McGrath
22. Rory Scannell
23. Simon Zebo

As Ireland prepare to take the field in the US, England have just completed a thrilling 38 – 34 win over Argentina.

Right then, coming close to KO time, so we’d better make a prediction: There’s plenty of exciting talent in that Ireland 23, but Schmidt will be demanding the basics above all else, even from Joey Carbery, so the visitors just might take some time to get into a rhythm with new combinations around the field. Still, come full-time they should have 18-20 points to spare.

Another, erm… interesting version of Ireland’s Call (by a man who looked like a sort of cross between Conor McGregor and Harry Kane) is in the books. Just a star spangled banner between us and kick-off.


KICK-OFF: It’s so hot in NJ that JVDF has shed his scrum cap.

31 degrees pitchside and Joey Carbery starts with an ill advised chip out of his own 22 that invites early pressure from the hosts.


After Ireland escaped the early onslaught through a breakdown penalty, the line-out functions perfectly and leads to a good crash up the middle by Jack Conan. Carbery whips the ball left after that and nice hands from Tiernan O’Halloran sends Earls cantering away to the corner.

Carbery’s conversion is wayward.


US respond well to that early setback, going through a long set of phases and earning a penalty which AJ punts to the corner. Ireland will defend a line-out on their 22.


Excellent line-out D from Ireland, but the Eagles look after the ball really well again and force Ireland to put in another heap of tackles before Ringrose forces a turnover and Jack Conan mounts a counter attack.

O’Halloran and Earls hared away, with the Galway man attempting to grubber ahead for the prolific try-scorer, but the ball was just guided too close to the touchline.


It’s a debut try for the Ulster man after another searing break from Earls. The Limerick speedster made use of Rhys Ruddock’s dummy run to raid midfield space and flung an absolute gem of a pass left into the path of Stockdale who pounded down the remaining 20 metres under pressure to ground in the corner.

As if that wasn’t enough to take in, Garry Ringrose took over the kicking tee and bloody well nailed it!

USA 0 Ireland 12


TRY! USA 0 Ireland 17 (Earls ’19)

Did I say Ireland would take time to click? Scratch that, Tiernan O’Halloran, Kieran Marmion and Earls are running riot. The trio combined for a second try for the Munster man.

Carbery is back on kicking duties after Ringrose’s masterful strike, but he misses the target again.


TRY! USA 7 Ireland 17 (Civetta ’20)

Oh, that’s a poor score to give away at any level. Joey Carbery again seeks to dink the ball ahead in his own 22, but he’s charged down and Civetta grounds the ball to get the USA on the board after a frenetic few minutes.

AJ converts the try gifted away by one of his successors in the Blackrock 10 jersey.


Muscular break from JVDF puts Ireland well over the gainline and draws a penalty as the US go in from the side. Carbery kicks for the corner, but the line-out has a big hiccup and the hosts come away with the ball to clear their lines.


The man who got the line-out back on track gets the rewards. Scannell grounds the pill after an exemplary rolling maul in the right corner.

Carbery’s kicking from that side continues to be a struggle, his latest effort pings off the post.


Ah, just brilliant again from Earls. He scorches away down the right wing and attempts to weave in and out through the last two defenders, gets caught by the fullback, but pops and instant pass up for Kieran Marmion to finish off.

This time Carbery does find his target from the right hand side.

USA 7 Ireland 29


HALF-TIME: USA 7 Ireland 29

Just a bit of confusion as the ref reminds USA that we are working under new law trials that mean they had to take a line-out after kicking the ball dead expecting to run off for half time.

A fine half of rugby for Ireland.


Jacob Stockdale’s debut is over, Rory Scannell’s begins.

Here comes the second half.


The number eight gets a deserved score to his name after a powerful scrummaging effort forced the Eagles back over their own line. Carbery is on target again to push Ireland’s lead to 29 points.

USA 7 Ireland 36


TRY! USA 14 Ireland 36 (Quill ’47)

Cork and Dolphin man John Quill gets two big hands on an attempted Joey Carbery clearance and touches down the second American try of the day.

AJ MacGinty nails a fine conversion.

This is turning into one long horrible learning experience for Joey Carbery.


Speaking of Corkmen, Paddy Ryan is on for his US debut at tighthead.


Joey Carbery is hobbling off the field with the medical staff. No harm to get the kid out of the firing line, it hasn’t been a good day for the outrageously talented back.

Rory Scannell will now move into the out-half slot.


We restart the game with a some debutant front rows as Dave Heffernan and Andrew Porter come into the fray.

Simon Zebo has replaced Carbery, so he’ll head for the left wing.

Flag 56Mins

TRY! USA 19 Ireland 36 ( Matyas ’54)

Third try for the USA comes from the centre, finishing with a fine dummy that creates space around Stockdale. The pressure came from a scrum penalty, and the reshuffled back-line just could hold out the onslaught.


Another scintillating break from Earls gives Ringrose a chance, but he leans his shoulder into the contact and just can’t bull his way over the try-line.

Ireland hit it up inside, but it’s held up.


Believe the hype!

Not because of this try, but just because James Ryan is a superstar.

He hasn’t yet played for Leinster, but the big lock has an international try to his name thanks to the umpteenth line break from Keith Earls and a fine pop pass to the debutant who’s only on the field two minutes.

Rory Scannell takes kicking duties and can’t find the target.


TRY! USA 19 Ireland 46 (McGrath ’67)


Luke McGrath’s eye for the try-line is put on full display at Test level as he snipes and weaves through the gaps 15 metres out. Leinster fans have seen a lot of that sort of score this past season.

Rory Scannell nudges over the conversion and Ireland’s lead is 29.

USA 19 Ireland 48


That looks like the first error of Jack Conan’s day. A straightforward line-out on Ireland’s left slips through his hands. USA get around Dan Leavy too easy on the attack, but Luke McGrath backs up  his try with a superb try-saving tackle in the corner.


TRY! USA 19 Ireland 53 (Zebo ’74)

Zebo brings us across the half century after a fine cross-field kick from Scannell is batted back by Stockdale.


And Scannell nails the conversion from wide on the left. A second gorgeous strike in aas many minutes.

USA 19 Ireland 55

FULL-TIME: USA 19 Ireland 55

About the author:

Sean Farrell