The drought is over! Ireland U20 upset New Zealand to claim historic scalp
Ireland U20 33 New Zealand 24
An Irish men's team have finally taken the biggest scalp of all after Ireland U20 beat the New Zealand 33-24 in a dramatic pool encounter at the Junior World Cup.
Nigel Carolan's men came into today's clash buoyed by a brilliant opening win over Grand Slam champions Wales and the three-try victory over New Zealand U20 all but guarantees Ireland's place in the semi-final.
Jordi Barrett - brother of All Black Beauden - gave New Zealand an early lead with a try, before Shaun Stevenson added another five-pointer after collecting his own kick.
Facing an eight-point deficit, things didn't look good for Ireland but amazingly they hit back with two tries from rolling mauls to hold a 20-14 lead at the break.
Greg Jones and Adam McBurney were the scorers.
Johnny McPhillips extended Ireland's lead to nine early in the second half and although the Baby Blacks reduced the deficit with an unconverted try from Malo Tuitama, Carolan's men replied through back row Max Deegan, who burrowed over in the corner following a dominant push from the scrum.
That gave Ireland an 11-point lead following McPhillips' brilliant touchline conversion but Tuitama responded with another unconverted try in the corner to reduce the cushion to six.
Frantic defence followed as heroic Irish tacklers continuously repelled the men in black, before the scrum earned a clinching penalty, which McPhillips converted.
There was time for the Baby Blacks to launch one more attack, but Ireland held firm to record a famous victory.
IRELAND U-20: Jacob Stockdale (Belfast Harlequins/Ulster); Matthew Byrne (Terenure College/Leinster), Shane Daly (Cork Constitution/Munster), Conor O'Brien (Clontarf/Leinster), Hugo Keenan (UCD/Leinster); Bill Johnston (Garryowen/Munster), Stephen Kerins (Sligo/Connacht); Andrew Porter (UCD/Leinster), Adam McBurney (Ballymena/Ulster), Ben Betts (Young Munster/Munster), Cillian Gallagher (Sligo/Connacht), James Ryan (Lansdowne/Leinster) (capt), Greg Jones (UCD/Leinster), David Aspil (St. Mary's College/Leinster), Max Deegan (Lansdowne/Leinster).
Replacements: Vincent O'Brien (Cork Constitution/Munster), Vakh Abdaladze (Clontarf/Leinster), James Bollard (Dublin University/Leinster), Sean O'Connor (Cashel/Munster), Kelvin Brown (Shannon/Munster), Niall Saunders (Epsom College/Exiles), Johnny McPhillips (Queen's University/Ulster), Jimmy O'Brien (UCD/Leinster).
NEW ZEALAND U-20: Jordan Trainor (Waikato/Blues); Shaun Stevenson (Waikato/Chiefs), Patelesio Tomkinson (Otago/Highlanders), Jordie Barrett (Canterbury), Malo Tuitama (Wellington); Stephen Perofeta (Taranaki), Sam Nock (Northland/Blues); Ayden Johnstone (Waikato), Leni Apisai (Wellington/Hurricanes) (capt), Sosefo Kautai (Waikato), Quinten Strange (Tasman), Isaia Walker-Leawere (Wellington), Luke Jacobson (Waikato), Mitchell Jacobson (Waikato), Marino Mikaele-Tu'u (Hawke's Bay).
Replacements: Asafo Aumua (Wellington), Sean Paranihi (Canterbury), Alex Fidow (Wellington), Hamish Dalzell (Canterbury), Dalton Papali'i (Auckland), Jonathan Taumateine (Counties Manakau), TJ Va'a (Wellington/Hurricanes), Jonah Lowe (Hawke's Bay).