Monday 16 December 2019

U20 Six Nations: Spence in top form for future generation

Ireland 44
Scotland 14

Ireland 44 Scotland 15 u-20 six nations

The present side will hopefully wrap up another Triple Crown today in Croke Park, but the future generation laid out the hope of more glory to follow in the coming years as they all but wrapped up a second U-20 Six Nations in four years at Dubarry Park last night.

Ireland will only be deprived of the crown if England somehow manage to defeat France by 46 points in St Nazaire tomorrow afternoon.

Victory was secured with a devastating display which brushed Scotland aside. Ireland laid out their stall from the outset and had the issue wrapped up by the interval with three tries and the boot of James McKinney helping them to a 30-9 half-time lead.

There was little Scotland could do to curtail the brilliance of inside centre Nevin Spence as he crossed twice in the opening half before setting up the third just before the break.

No 8 Patrick Butler, tighthead Stewart Maguire and openside flanker Dominic Ryan were also to the fore in taking the game to the Scots.

Scotland's Alex Blair landed a couple of early penalties in response to an opening effort from McKinney but fears of a tight contest quickly disappeared when Spence scored the opening try after 16 minutes. McKinney tacked on a brace of penalties for Ireland to lead by 16-6 just 12 minutes from the break.

But then Spence burst through from close range for a converted try nine minutes from the interval and further daylight was put between the sides when he set up Eoin Griffin who put Andrew Conway over for another converted try two minutes from the break.


Blair brought some relief to the Scots with another penalty to leave it 30-9 at the break. Blair pulled back another penalty just after the restart but then McKinney and Tiernan O'Halloran combined to send Conway over again.

McKinney kept the scoreboard ticking over -- he landed eight from 11-- as Ireland continued to pull away.

The victory was sealed in the final quarter when winger O'Halloran danced his way through several tackles to cross for their fifth try.

IRELAND -- A Conway (Leinster); T O'Halloran (Connacht), E Griffin (Connacht), N Spence (Ulster), S Zebo (Munster); J McKinney (Ulster), J Cooney (Leinster); J O'Connell (Leinster), N Annett (Ulster), S Maguire (Leinster); D O'Callaghan (Munster), B Marshall (Leinster); R Ruddock (Leinster), D Ryan (Leinster), P Butler (Munster). Replacements: B Cagney (Munster) for Maguire (68); B Hayes (Munster) for Marshall (68); B Macken (Leinster) for O'Halloran (76); G Quinn McDonogh (Munster) for McKinney (80); R Byrne (Leinster) for Annett (80); M Heaney (Ulster) for Cooney (80); R O'Sullivan (Leinster) for Ryan (80).

SCOTLAND -- T Brown; O Grove, J Johnstone, A Dunbar, D Fife; A Blair, A Black; N Little, A Walker, C Phillips; M Reid, R Harley; M Matman, S McInally, D Denton. Replacements: D Weir for Dunbar (HT); K Hamilton for Black (HT); A Hall for Phillips (46); C Stidston-Nott for Reid (46); M Scott for Johnstone (66); L Gibson for Walker (72).

REF -- M Raynal (France).

Irish Independent

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