Tuesday 23 May 2017

Ruddock confident of an Irish recovery

JOHN FALLON

Ireland under-20 coach Mike Ruddock believes his side can get over the disappointment of Friday's heartbreaking loss to England and turn over South Africa in their next game in the Junior World Championship on Tuesday.

Ireland came from behind to hit the front with five minutes left in Friday's gripping opening encounter only to be denied at the death. "We put ourselves in a winning position and unfortunately we gave away a couple of penalties at the end," said Ruddock, after the 33-25 loss.

A yellow card to Shane Buckley for an off-the-ball incident gave England a penalty to go back in front and then they turned the screw, grabbing a bonus point with a fourth try, which also denied Ireland a losing one.

"It will be tough with a four-day turnaround, but we have got to pick ourselves up from this disappointment now and play well against South Africa," added Ruddock.

The Springboks, who host the tournament next year, opened with a 33-0 win over Scotland and Ireland will need to defeat them if they are to have any chance of making the semi-finals.

But Ruddock and his squad will have been boosted by the quality of Friday night's performance, and top of the list of improvements will be cutting out the silly mistakes that coughed up cheap possession, which England exploited.

"As a coach you are looking for results, but you want 100 per cent commitment and passion in the jersey and you are looking for people to give everything they got and empty the tank. And my players did that," said Ruddock.

"We are a confident team. Even with that bad start we had, being 10-0 down after 10 minutes. Against a championship team that takes quite a bit to come back from.

"But we showed the character of this team, we showed the positivity of this team and we showed some real good running rugby, and, even though we conceded tries, I thought our defence overall made it difficult for them.

"If the guys go out and give 100m per cent like that in every game then I'll be very happy with the way things are going," added Ruddock.

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