Wednesday 22 November 2017

England are next on the list for rampant Irish U-20s

Mike Ruddock: ‘Mentally, our boys are in a good place’
Mike Ruddock: ‘Mentally, our boys are in a good place’

Ireland U-20s advanced to the semi-finals of the Junior World Championship for the first time yesterday after seeing off Fiji.

Ireland U-20 38 Fiji U-20 0

The irish were made to work hard for their bonus-point win over the Islanders and have now set up a last four clash with champions England.

Mike Ruddock's youngsters came into the game knowing they needed a bonus-point victory to emerge from Pool B and despite the game being played in difficult weather conditions, the coach was delighted with his side's "professional" performance.

"It wasn't a game for fancy rugby. Trying to chase four tries in those conditions wasn't easy, but it was a good effort – I was very pleased, it was very professional," Ruddock said.

Ireland led 17-0 at the break as the Fijians' indiscipline cost them. The Islanders had three players sent to the bin which allowed Ireland to pull away.

Garry Ringrose opened the scoring with an eighth-minute penalty. Vincent Sosefo gave away a penalty close to the Fijian line and was yellow-carded. Ireland opted for the scrum and Fiji collapsed it and the referee awarded a penalty try which Ringrose converted.

Two more went to the bin before the half was finished and Ireland made it count when awarded a second penalty try for a 17-0 half-time lead.

A searing break from winger Ciaran Gaffney, nine minutes after the restart gave Ireland their third try. They then had to be patient, but when Conor McKeon crossed for a try that he converted with two minutes left on the clock, Ireland had set up a semi-final with England this Sunday (6.05am Irish time).

Ireland U-20s – C Kelleher; C Gaffney, G Ringrose, D Goggin (H Brewer 56), A Wootton; R Byrne (C McKeon 59), R Foley 49 N McCarthy 44); P Dooley (D Coulson 65), M Abbott (D Donnellan 57), R Burke (O Heffernan 53); S Gardiner, R Molony; J Murphy (F Taggart 44), R Moloney, J O'Donoghue (capt) (D Moloney 72).

Fiji U-20s – T Vueti; A Rokobuli (S Tawake 65), P Waqanibau, S Camaisala (E Mroisio 74), A Cocagi (c) (O Nawaqaliva 65); J Kurukava, L Nawai (M Tivitivi 15); A Robarobalevu, P Toga (W Lagi 57), A Ranawai (Dreunimolea 72); L Nasiga, S Naiduki; P Bukavece (M Tokalauvere 58), A Natuiyaga, V Sosefo (V Mudu 44).

REF – A Ruiz (France)

Irish Independent

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