Saturday 27 May 2017

Ford drives England to Slam glory

Ireland 15 England 46 U-20 Six nations

George Ford -- the 18-year-old son of former Irish defensive coach Mike Ford -- led from the front as England brushed Ireland aside to claim the title at Dubarry Park in Athlone last night.







In the process, England completed the Grand Slam and will fancy their chances when these sides meet again in Italy in June in the Junior World Cup.

By then Ireland should be much stronger as they were without several first choice players last night due to injuries and Magners League commitments.

The game turned before the interval just when it seemed Ireland had hauled themselves back into contention after slipping 11-3 behind early in the second quarter.

It was a try from skipper Shane Buckley that brought Ireland back into the game, with JJ Hanrahan, who had earlier hit a penalty, adding the conversion.

However, Ireland suffered a grievous blow just before the break when Ryan Mills skipped through for a try which saw them lead 21-10 at half-time.

Ireland never looked like coming back with Man of the Match Ford extending England's lead with his fourth penalty just after the restart.

England turned on the style after that to run in four tries in a devastating performance with Mark Kvesic, Mike Haywood, Andy Short and Alex Gray crossing as they piled on the pressure.

There was a little consolation for the Irish when hooker David Doyle scored in the left corner at the end of a campaign which saw Ireland win two, lose two and draw one.

Ireland -- M Sherlock (Clontarf); T O'Halloran (Galwegians), A Kelly (UCD), JJ Hanrahan (UL Bohs), A Boyle (UCD); C Marsh (Dublin University), B McIlroy (Ballymena); J Tracy (UCD), D Doyle (UCD), M Moore (Lansdowne); M Kearney (Clontarf), D Qualter (Buccaneers); S Buckley (Garryowen), A Conneely (Corinthians), J Murphy (Lansdowne). Reps: T Furlong (Clontarf) for Moore, 44; G Quinn McDonagh (Shannon) for Sherlock, 45; M Dolan (Corinthians) for McIroy, 46; C O'Flaherty (Cork Con) for Qualter, 48; C O'Shea (Clontarf) for O'Halloran, 53; S Leckey (Glasgow Hawks) for Boyle, 70.

England -- B Ransom (Saracens), A Short (Worcester), E Daly (Wasps), R Mills (Gloucester), J Joseph (London Irish), G Ford (Leicester), C Cook (Bath); M Vunipola (Bristol), M Haywood (Northampton), H Thomas (Sale), J Launchbury (Wasps), C Matthews (Harlequins), M Kvesic (Worcester), M Everard (Leicester), A Gray (Capt, Newcastle). Reps: J Elliott (Northampton Saints) for Joseph, 33; O Farrell (Saracens) for Mills, 44; R Buchanan (Harlequins) for Haywood, 49; S Jones (London Wasps) for Everard, 66; W Collier (Harlequins) for Vunipola, 68; A Lockery (Exeter) for Launchbury, 74).

Ref -- M Raybal (FFR).

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