Ireland u/20 made it two from two last night against Scotland at Netherdale 5-24.
Ireland enjoyed more penetration in attack and scored three tries to Scotland’s one in a match that was evenly contested for the most part. Ireland managed the strong wind well throughout and used the pace in their back division to better effect, scoring a sweeping move on the final whistle.
Scotland had the better of the breakdown but failed to use the wind at their back in the second half and establish any consistent territory. Ireland’s penalty infringements were punished with Scottish kicks into the opposition half but twice the resulting line-out went awry in the second half as the hosts attempted to get a foothold in the game and they were forced to rebuild again.
Small errors cost the Scotland side any continuity in attack and they were only able to put together multiple phases on a handful of occasions. Scotland ended the first half facing a 10pt deficit having played into the stiff wind and the game was still there for the taking.
Despite drawing a higher penalty count from the visitors Scotland was unable to punish the Irish with significant territorial gains due to the headwind, despite fly-half Ross Thompson hitting a lower trajectory on occasion.
The Scots had stayed in touch and were growing in confidence at the end of the first half. The big question was whether they had enough left in the tank, both physically and mentally, to harness the strong wind at their backs and really turn the tables during the second half.
Facing a 10-0 deficit at half-time Scotland went to the bench early in the second period with Nathan Chamberlain coming on for fly-half Ross Thompson on 46minutes, closely followed by an injury to centre Cameron Anderson which brought on Matthew Davidson two minutes later.
The home side spent decent time in the opposition half but small handling errors broke up any attacking continuity and didn’t allow for phases to be built and the Irish defence to the stretched. Ireland themselves looked most dangerous through their centres especially 13 Liam Taylor, who was awarded Man of the Match.
Ultimately, it was Ireland who dominated the final 40 minutes in the intermittent rain, managing to control the ball better with the wind in their faces rather than at their backs.
SCOTLAND U-20: Rufus McLean (Watsonians); Rory McMichael (Heriot's), Cameron Anderson (Wasps), Robbie McCallum (Complutense Cisneros), Jack Blain (Heriot's); Ross Thompson (Glasgow Hawks), Roan Frostwick (Currie Chieftains); Murphy Walker (Stirling County), Ewan Ashman (Sale Sharks), Euan McLaren (Ayr), Cameron Henderson (Stirling County), Ewan Johnson (Racing 92), Charlie Jupp (Heriot's), Connor Boyle (Watsonians) (capt), Kwagga Van Niekerk (Lions).
Replacements used: Nathan Chamberlain (Bristol Bears) for Thompson (46 mins), Matt Davidson (London Scottish) for Anderson (48), Jack Mann (Edinburgh Accies) for van Niekerk (56), Kyle McGhie (Musselburgh) for Frostwick, Ross Bundy (Stirling County) for Johnson (both 60), Angus Fraser (Glasgow Hawks) for Ashman, Will Hurd (Cardiff Metropolitan University) for McLaren (both 63), Andrew Nimmo (Glasgow Hawks) for Walker (72).
IRELAND U-20: Jake Flannery (Shannon/Munster); Conor Phillips (Young Munster/Munster), Liam Turner (Dublin University/Leinster), David Hawkshaw (Clontarf/Leinster) (capt), Jonathan Wren (Cork Constitution/Munster); Harry Byrne (Lansdowne/Leinster), Cormac Foley (St. Mary’s College/Leinster); Josh Wycherley (Young Munster/Munster), Dylan Tierney-Martin (Corinthians/Connacht), Thomas Clarkson (Dublin University/Leinster), Charlie Ryan (UCD/Leinster), Niall Murray (Buccaneers/Connacht), Martin Moloney (Old Belvedere/Leinster), Scott Penny (UCD/Leinster), John Hodnett (UCC/Munster).
Replacements used: Colm Reilly (Buccaneers/Connacht) for Reilly, Michael Milne (UCD/Leinster) for Wycherley, John McKee (Old Belvedere/Leinster) for Tierney-Martin (all 62 mins), David McCann (Banbridge/Ulster) for Penny (63), Rob Russell (Dublin University/Leinster) for McPhillips (64). Not used: Luke Masters (Shannon/Munster), Brian Deeny (Clontarf/Leinster), Sean French (Cork Constitution/Munster).