Ireland U-20s produce stirring comeback to beat Wales in World Rugby Championship
Ireland 26 Wales 25
Ireland were made to survive a late late scare but deservedly opened their World Rugby U-20 Championships with a sensational comeback win over Wales at Manchester City Academy Stadium.
Ireland trailed 17-0 and looked well out of it early on, but they composed themselves and led by talismanic captain James Ryan they scored 15 unanswered points to trail 17-15 at half-time against the reigning Grand Slam champions.
Wales had beaten Ireland 35-24 when the sides met in the Six Nations last February but Ireland looked a different side here, and the two tries from Jacob Stockdale sealed it for them.
Welsh wing Keelan Giles did cross the whitewash twice also, including a 78thminute score, but replacement out-half Jarrod Evans missed the conversion and Ireland held on.
Shaun Evans, Giles and Reuben Morgan-Williams got the early tries for Wales, but with Daniel Jones off target from the tee they were punished.
Adam McBurney got Ireland’s first try and with Stockdale’s tries and Bill Johnston’s 11-point haul, Nigel Carolan’s men began Pool A with a win.
Scorers – Ireland: A McBurney, J Stockdale 2 tries; B Johnston 2 pens; B Johnston con; B Johnston drop-goal.
Wales: S Evans, K Giles 2, R Morgan-Williams tries; D Jones pen; D Jones con
Ireland: J Stockdale (Belfast Harlequins); M Byrne (Terenure), S Daly (Cork Con), C O’Brien (Clontarf) (J O’Brien (UCD) 77), H Keenan (UCD); B Johnston (Garryowen), S Kerins (Sligo); A Porter (UCD), A McBurney (Ballymena) V O’Brien (Cork Con) 77), C Kenny (Buccaneers) (B Betts (Young Munster) 6); C Gallagher (Sligo), J Ryan (Lansdowne); G Jones (UCD), D Aspil (St Mary’s RFC) (K Brown (Shannon) 70), M Deegan (Lansdowne).
Wales: R Williams; T Williams, J Thomas, H Millard, K Giles; D Jones (J Evans 65), R Morgan-Williams (D Smith 65); C Domachowski (R Fawcett 72), D Hughes (L Belcher 44), D Lewis (L Brown 65); S Lewis-Hughes, A Beard; T Phillips, S Evans (J Macleod 30-40, 65), H Keddie.
Referee: Paul Williams (New Zealand)