Saturday 24 March 2018

Ireland's U20s storm into Rugby World Cup final

Jacob Stockdale scores against Argentina. Photo: Sportsfile
Jacob Stockdale scores against Argentina. Photo: Sportsfile

David Kearns and John Fallon

Emotions were running high as Ireland's Under-20s made history and secured a place in the World Rugby U-20 Championship final for the first time ever.

The side delivered a superb performance to beat Argentina by 37 points to 7 in their World Championship semi-final in Manchester yesterday afternoon.

Thanks to tries from players including Jacob Stockdale and man-of-the-match Max Deegan, Ireland used their set piece dominance to grind the high-flying Los Pumitos into submission.

Influential out-half Johnny McPhillips added the extras - landing six of his seven kicks for a 15-point haul, with Stockdale scoring a first-half try.

The Irish Under 20s are coached by the Connacht Academy manager Nigel Carolan.

The team led 21-7 at half-time. In the second half, Shane Daly's impressive try secured the Irish win and the squad's first appearance in a World Cup Final.

During the game, Argentina were reduced to 14 men when replacement prop Santiago Mare was red-carded for a head-butt on Irish lock Sean O'Connor.

With the win, the young side have now matched the achievements of the Ireland U-21 side from 2004, who reached their global decider with current senior star Jamie Heaslip at the back of the scrum.

However, there was plenty of heartbreak over the weekend, when Ireland lost to Spain in the men's 7s Olympic rugby qualifier quarter-final in Monaco.

The women's team hope to secure their place at the Olympics at the end of this month.

Irish Independent

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