Ireland U20 face into relegation playoff after defeat to Scotland at U20 World Championship
Ireland U20 29 Scotland U20 45
Ireland U20s have been comprehensively beaten in their 9th place semi-final, going down 45-29 against six-try Scotland.
Noel McNamara’s men started well, but fell asunder in the second half and now face a relegation battle with either Georgia or Japan.
Both sides came into the game off the back of three World Cup pool losses. Ireland had the the upper-hand in terms of form having beaten Scotland in the Six Nations and they looked the better of the sides again in the opening quarter. A clinical edge that they lacked in their Pool C clashes saw tries from Harry Byrne and Peter Sylvester push them 11 points clear after after 20 minutes.
The game was a free-flowing, open affair and, while this was to the benefit of Ireland early on, it proved to be to their detriment overall, as Scotland ran in six tries.
Ireland’s early dominance was very short lived. Two tries in three minutes gave Scotland the lead, twenty five minutes of good Irish play undone. The first try came after some poor defense gave Finlay Richardson an easy path to score. In the meantime, scrumhalf, Hugh O’Sullivan committed a no-arms tackle on Richardson’s front row partner Robbie Smith. He was yellow carded for that challenge and Scotland took full advantage.
Bryan Redpath’s side adopted the tactic of a ten-man lineout on several occasions throughout the game. Even when it broke down in the first half, the absence of yellow carded O’Sullivan left them with men over and Logan Trotter crossed the Irish line. Charlie Chapman, who finished with a 100 percent kicking record, landed the conversion from the touchline, to add to his previous penalty and conversion, and Scotland had the lead.
Kyle Rowe added another try to the Scottish account before its impact was immediately reduced by a Harry Byrne penalty. Ireland trailed 24-17 at half time.
In the second half, things went from bad to worse for McNamara’s side. Guy Graham and Logan Trotter both set up tries with long runs into the Irish 22. Missed tackles allowed the former to slide over the line himself following a 50m run, while Trotter’s run set up Kyle Rowe for his second try.
The remainder of the match saw Ireland struggle to get within two scores. They did so when Conor Dean beautifully converted a Tommy O’Brien try in the corner but Charlie Chapman lead Scotland all game and when he converted Devante Onojaife’s try, Caelan Doris was sent to the bin for pulling down the Scotland maul and the game looked as good as over.
A consolation try for Jack Daly added some respect to the scoreboard but Noel McNamara’s men now face either Georgia or Japan, in what is an unprecedented relegation play-off for Ireland. If they lose, next year’s crop of U20s will be condemned to play in a second tier competition in place of the World Cup.
Independent.ie's World Rugby U-20s Championship coverage is in association with PwC