Brave Ireland humble Australia at the Junior World Cup
Mike Ruddock's Ireland under-20s produced a stirring display to defeat Australia 19-15 at the Stade de la Rabine in France in the IRB Junior World Cup this evening.
A superior set-piece, in particular the scrum, a controlled display by the half-back partnership of Luke McGrath and Steve Crosbie and clinical display from the outside backs saw Ireland to victory.
A Rory Scholes try in the first half and 14 points from the boot of Tom Daly were enough to give Ireland a winning start to Pool B.
Ireland got off to a great start with a successful penalty from inside centre Tom Daly giving them an early advantage.
With Ireland's pack in the ascendancy and territorial supremacy Ireland struck for the opening try on 23 minutes when Rory Scholes handed off a would-be tackler before touching down for a try which Tom Daly superbly converted from the touchline.
Australia hit back with a penalty in the 29th minute when Conor Joyce and Adam Boland were offside and Ulupano Seuteni sent the ball over.
It was very entertaining fare with both sides keen to keep hold of the ball and go wide.
Ireland were penalised twice in succession and Australia opted to kick to the corner which allowed the Wallabies to use their effective rolling maul and Tom Staniforth touched down but the try was not converted and Ireland led 10-8 at the break.
Connacht's Adam Boland was penalised for playing the ball on the ground but Seuteni's effort was off target.
Some good tackling from flyhalf Steve Crosbie gave Ireland territory and when Luke McGrath was illegally pulled into a ruck, Daly kicked his second penalty for a 13-8 lead.
Daly had another chance in the 54th minute but was off target.
Silatulo Latu was penalised next for the Wallabies for playing the man and Daly made no mistake this time to give Mike Ruddock's men an eight point advantage entering the last 13 minutes.
Australia were given a fortuitous lifeline with 10 minutes to go after Ireland failed to capitalise on an Adam Byrne break and Alex Northam intercepted before showing incredible pace to go over under the posts.
Substitute Luke Burton converted for the Aussies but Ireland responded well an earned a kickable penalty which Daly showed great composure to slot for a 19-15 lead.
With four minutes to go the Australians kicked to the corner and tried to use a rolling maul to go over but Ireland held them and Aussie lock Senio Toleafoa used the boot on an Irish player earning a yellow card and giving Ireland a relieving penalty.
Ireland's next game is against Fiji on Sunday evening.