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Dominant first-half performance enough to secure bonus point win for Ireland U20s

Ireland U20 36 Wales U20 22

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Tom Stewart of Ireland, centre, celebrates as Mark Hernan of Ireland scores his side's first try during the U20 Six Nations Rugby Championship match between Ireland and Wales at Irish Independent Park in Cork. Photo by Harry Murphy/Sportsfile

Tom Stewart of Ireland, centre, celebrates as Mark Hernan of Ireland scores his side's first try during the U20 Six Nations Rugby Championship match between Ireland and Wales at Irish Independent Park in Cork. Photo by Harry Murphy/Sportsfile

SPORTSFILE

Tom Stewart of Ireland, centre, celebrates as Mark Hernan of Ireland scores his side's first try during the U20 Six Nations Rugby Championship match between Ireland and Wales at Irish Independent Park in Cork. Photo by Harry Murphy/Sportsfile

Ireland coach Noel McNamara says his side have plenty of room of for improvement despite scoring a second bonus-point win in a row. 

His team did enough in the opening half to take control of this Six Nations clash at Irish Independent Park as the Grand Slam champions made it 10 points from two games. But McNamara knows that it will be a step-up next time round when they take on England in Northampton in two weeks, with the English coming from behind last night against Scotland to make it two wins in a row as well.

"England will be huge in Franklin's Gardens in two weeks, but we will prepare for it, we will review this, we have a training session with the senior squad in CIT next Thursday, so really excited about that challenge and that opportunity as well.

"Our breakdown let us down a bit in the second half, we lacked a bit of focus and allowed them back into the game, but the one thing this team has in absolute spades is character and that was very much evident not when we were on the front foot with our tails up bit when we were under the pump there in the second-half," said McNamara.

Backfoot

Fears that Wales, surprisingly beaten at home by Italy in the opening round, might be capable of a response, didn't materialise until the second half and they were on the backfoot from the outset.

Indeed, Ireland had the bonus point in the bag by the interval after an impressive performance, but there will be some concern as to how they let the Welsh back into this.

The visitors hit back after the restart with Sam Costelow landing a good penalty after 44 minutes and then good pressure yielding a penalty try and a yellow card to lock Joe McCarthy for sacking a maul.

That cut the gap to 31-17 but Ireland didn't concede while down to 14 men and they got in for a fifth try after 64 minutes when No 8 and captain David McCann threw an outrageous pass from the base of a ruck to send Smith over in the left corner.

However, Wales didn't give in and Knott got in for his second try after 69 minutes when Ireland were exposed out wide on the left to cut the margin to 36-22 but that was as close as they got.

Scorers — Ireland: Tries: M Harnan 2, D Kelly, L Finlay,

A Smith. Cons: J Crowley 4. Pen: Crowley.

Wales: Tries:

O Knott 2, pen try. Con: S Costelow 2. Pen: Costelow.

Ireland O McNulty; B Moxham (C Rankin 80), D Kelly, L Faria, A Smith; J Crowley (T Corkery 80), L Finlay (B Murphy 76); M Hannan, T Stewart (J McKee 68), T Clarkson (H Noonan 80); T Ahern (C Ward 55), B Deeny (J McCarthy (HIA 14-27, 41); S O'Brien, M Hernan (C Prendergast 68), D McCann.

Wales – I Lloyd; D John (B Roderick 52), O Knott, A Owens, E Rosser; S Costelow (J Thomas 63), D Buckland (E Bevan 41); T Bevacqua (C Williams 61), W Griffiths (D Booth 52), B Warren (H O'Connor 67); J Price (J Fender 41-45, 67), B Carter (Price HIA 72), I Davies (G Bradley 67), J Morgan, M Strong.

Ref – N Amashukeli (Georgia).

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