Ireland under-20s suffer second narrow world championship defeat to leave tournament challenge in tatters
Scotland 32 Ireland 28
Jack Stafford and Jack Kelly were among the tries, but Ireland U-20s’ dreams of a second World Cup final in a row are over after their defeat to an exciting Scotland in Georgia.
Ireland led 10-0 after a controlled first quarter, but Scotland took control and ran in five tries after that to clinch a bonus point win
With one pool game remaining Ireland need a big performance against New Zealand to avoid ending the competition without a win.
It wasn’t until Conor Dean’s 18th minute penalty that Ireland started the scoring following a sloppy start from the Scots, but five minutes later Stafford took a quick tap penalty five metres form the Scottish line and crashed over to put Ireland in control. Dean converted to make it 10-0.
But form there Scotland dominated and 11 minutes from the interval Ross McCann finished off a brilliant break from deep to get them on the board. And a minute from the interval Scotland took the lead for the first time when hooker Fraser Renwick scored off the back of a rolling maul for a 12-10 half-time advantage that they would never concede.
Both No 10s kicked penalties in the early stages of the second-half, but Scotland took a big step towards the win in the 54th minute when Darcy Graham scored his side’s third try on the left.
Four minutes later Ireland’s hopes were lifted when Jack Kelly showed great pace to score and Alan Tynan converted to trim the lead to two points.
But Scotland’s attacking ethos was crucial, and their bonus point score soon arrived when Connor Eastgate made the most of Callum Hunter-Hill’s linebreak to score, while Robbie Nairn complete the win.
Kelly did add Ireland’s third try four minutes from time to cut the lead to four points, but Peter Malone’s side were unable to force the winning score.
Scorers – Scotland: R McCann, F Renwick, D Graham, C Eastgate, R Nairn tries; C Eastgate 2 cons, pen. Ireland: J Stafford, J Kelly (2) tries; C Dean 2 pens, con; A Tynan con, pen
Scotland: B Kinghorn (J Henderson 43-49 HIA); R Nairn, R McCann, S McDowall, D Graham; C Eastgate, A Simmers (C Shiel 45); G Thornton (R Dunbar 78), F Renwick (R Smith 77), A Nicol (F Bradbury 65), A Craig (H Bain 65), C Hunter-Hill (c); B Flockhart (T Dodd 23), L Crosbie, M Fagerson.
Ireland: A Tynan; J Kelly, G Mullin, C Frawley, C Nash (M Silvester 55); C Dean (A Curtis 55) (C Dean 70 HIA), J Stafford (J Stewart 65); J Duggan (A Moloney 63), R Kelleher (G McGrath 63), C Connolly (P Cooper 38); F Wycherley (O Dowling 77 HIA), O Dowling (J Regan 63); S Masterson (G Coombes h-t), P Boyle (c), C Doris.
Ref – Dan Jones (Wales)