Ireland defeated by England in World Rugby U-20 Championship
Ireland’s hopes of glory in their first World Rugby U-20 Championship were blown away by a fired-up English side who were on top throughout to claim their third title in the grade, dominating throughout and running in six tries to Ireland’s three.
Ireland, having come from behind to win so many games, knew they needed to get in front and not allow England get an upperhand. But that never looked like materialising as England blitzed them from the start and raced into a 21-0 lead.
Irish No.8 Max Deegan denied Johnny Williams a centre try after five minutes but the relief was short-lived for Nigel Carolan’s men as England continued to pile forward with captain Harry Mallinder dictating the game and centre Joe Marchant also outstanding.
But the breakthrough for England came three minutes later when Marchant broke through for a fine try, which Mallinder converted.
They turned the screw up front, driving from a scrum to get their second try from No.8 Callum Chick after 27 minutes, with Mallinder converting from the touchline for 14-0.
Ireland really needed to get the next score to have any chance but it was England who extended their lead through lock Huw Taylor, although there was a hint of a forward pass in the build-up.
That put England 21-0 in front at the break and Mallinder killed any notion of a comeback inside two minutes of the restart when he raced through to score before adding the extras.
Hooker Adam McBurney eventually got Ireland moving with a try off a lineout after 47 minutes and Johnny McPhillps converted.
But man of the match Mallinder, who finished with 25 points, got over for his second try and converted it to make it 35-7 in the third quarter.
Ireland never gave up and Shane Daly crossed after a superb break from deep by full-back Jacob Stockdale, with McPhillips converted to reduce the gap.
But then Ireland scrum-half Stephen Kerins was binned for blocking and while Ireland initially only conceded the score from the penalty, England got their sixth try before it was back to 15 against 15 when Marchant got over.
Ireland refused to die and Deegan got a good try in the closing stages with Brett Connon converting.
But that was as close as they got as England ran out deserving winners to claim the title.
England: Tries: H Mallinder (2), J Marchant (2), C Chick, H Taylor. Cons: Mallinder (6). Pens: Mallinder
Ireland: Tries: A McBurney, S Daly, M Deegan. Cons: J McPhillips (2), B Connon
England: M Malins; S Aspland-Robinson, J Marchant, J Williams, M Gallagher; H Mallinder, M Green; L Boyce, J Singleton, B Walker; S South, H Taylor; G Nott, W Evans, C Chick.
Replacements: H Randall for Green (32), W Stuart for B Walker (53), A Kitchener for South (61), J Willis for Nott (61), T West for Boyce (65), C Piper for Singleton (69), O Thorley for Gallagher (72), M Wright for Aspland-Robinson (72).
Ireland: J Stockdale (Belfast Harlequins / Ulster); M Byrne (Terenure / Leinster), S Daly (Cork Con / Munster), C O’Brien (Clontarf / Leinster), H Keenan (UCD / Leinster); J McPhillips (Queen’s University / Ulster), S Kerins (Sligo / Connacht); A Porter (UCD / Leinster), A McBurney (Ballymena / Ulster), B Betts (Young Munster / Munster); S O’Connor (Cashel / Munster), J Ryan (Lansdowne / Leinster); G Jones (UCD / Leinster), D Aspil (St Mary’s RFC / Leinster), M Deegan (Lansdowne / Leinster).
Replacements: J O’Brien (UCD / Leinster) for C O’Brien (56), B Connon (Newcastle Falcons) for McPhillips (57), V O’Brien (Cork Con / Munster) for McBurney (61), K Brown (Shannon / Munster) for Brown (62), N Saunders (Epsom College/Exiles) for Kerins (70), E Mintern (Cork Constitution/Munster) for O’Connor (70), A Coyle (Naas/Leinster) for Betts (75), J Bollard (Dublin University / Leinster) for Porter 79).
By JOHN FALLON