Match Report

Ireland U20 win but fall short in title bid

Ireland celebrate
Two tries from Danny Sheahan and another from Sean Edogbo late on were not quite enough to see Ireland to a third successive Six Nations U20 crown despite beating Scotland 36-0.

Trailing England by a point going into the final round, after the teams had played out a dramatic 32-32 draw a week ago, Ireland needed to better England’s result in Round 5.

And while they did their bit, a brilliant 45-31 win for England in France meant that it was they who claimed the title, Ireland falling just short despite winning four and drawing one of their games.

The fourth win came after Ireland saw off a stubborn Scottish side, leading just 7-0 at the break, with the visitors arguably hard done by at that stage, having dominated at scrum-time but unable to turn possession into points.

The second half was a different story though, Sheahan coming off the bench to score two tries and the Scottish resistance finally relenting.

Still, 36-0 did not tell the whole story, Ireland scoring three tries in the final ten minutes to put the game to bed.

They had started strongly, but good maul defence from the Scots on skipper Evan O’Connell signalled their intent from the off.

Freddie Douglas then made a crucial turnover on his own five-metre line but Ireland’s early pressure told. Jack Brown failed to collect and up-and-under with Edogbo pouncing on the loose ball. Ireland spread it wide where Bryn Ward drew two men before offloading to put Hugo McLaughlin over. Jack Murphy converted and Ireland were up and running.

From there though, they suddenly hit a roadblock. Replacement loosehead prop Robbie Deans started to make huge inroads at scrum-time, winning three penalties in a row as Ireland were marched off their own ball.

Scotland could not make it count though, with knock-ons close to the line and then a scrum penalty for the home side costing them dear.

Instead, it was Ireland who had the chance to finish the half with a second score, but Scotland’s defence held up brilliantly and Douglas earned another turnover to keep the score at 7-0.

The start of the second half was relatively even, Murphy slotting one long-range penalty to push the advantage to ten points.

But Ireland were starting to play most of the game in Scottish territory and that eventually told as O’Connell was able to force his way over, dotting down from close range.

Despite the missed conversion, Ireland’s lead was now comfortable and their task was helped when Monroe Job was sent to the sin-bin for a tackle within ten metres after a mark.

Down a man, Scotland started to tire, with Sheahan getting his first try as Ireland’s maul finally started to make ground.

With the game in Pau still in the first half, Ireland did not know exactly what would be needed, but were desperate for a fourth try to earn maximum points.

It came with three minutes remaining, Edogbo scoring in the same corner as he had done so to see off Italy in round two, this time guaranteeing his side five points.

And they had the final say as Sheahan showed his power once more, forcing his way through tired bodies for the last try with the clock in the red.

At that stage, France were leading and it seemed that Ireland had done enough, but England fought back to deny Ireland the title.