Friday 20 April 2018

Keatley on song in bonus-point victory

Emerging Ireland 42, Uruguay 33

Ian Keatley touched down twice and converted all six Irish tries in helping Emerging Ireland to claim a bonus-point win over Uruguay to finish as runners-up in the IRB Tbilisi Cup.

The South Africa President's XV were crowned champions after their third straight victory – a 21-16 defeat of Georgia – leaving Allen Clarke's young Irish side with the aim of gaining second spot from the Georgians in the final standings.

They went about their business clinically in the first 20 minutes, crossing three times as Ian Keatley grabbed a brace and winger Tiernan O'Halloran also touched down for a 21-7 lead.

Two high-quality scores from Niall Morris, allied to a Niall Annett try from a clever line-out move, pushed Clarke's charges 42-14 in front by the hour mark.

But Clarke and his coaching staff will have been disappointed with a sloppy final quarter when the Uruguayans touched down three times, having been without a single try before yesterday in the competition.

Peter Nelson, the replacement full-back, came to the rescue when holding up Maxi Gonzalez, who seemed destined to finish a breakaway score in the left corner.

David O'Callaghan then followed suit, keeping out Leandro Leivas from under the posts which helped to secure Ireland's second-spot finish in the competition.

EMERGING IRELAND – D Kearney; N Morris, E Griffin, N Reid, T O'Halloran; I Keatley, J Cooney; J McGrath, R Herring, M Bent, D O'Callaghan, D Foley, R Ruddock, J Murphy, E McKeon.

Irish Independent

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