Ireland through to World U20's final after comprehensive win against Argentina
Nigel Carolan’s superb side are through to their first World Rugby U-20 Championship final after producing a superb performance to oust Argentina.
The Irish were in control from the outset and never looked being denied a place in the final on Saturday evening at the AJ Bell Stadium with a performance which was brimful of confidence.
A superb start by Ireland saw them lead by 21-7 at the break after taking the game to Argentina from the outset.
And they got a superb start when full-back Jacob Stockdale got over for a try after eight minutes after an excellent crosskick from out0half Johnny McPhillips.
Ireland doubled their lead after 23 minutes when No.8 Max Deegan intercepted a pass on his 22 and had the legs to go all the way and score in the left corner.
And Nigel Carolan’s men turned the screw just before the half hour mark in a superb backline movement where both wingers Matthew Byrne and Hugo Keenan were involved to send Ulster’s Stockdale away for his second try, with McPhillips kicking his third conversion.
But Ireland were given a glimpse of the cutting edge which saw Argentina also win all three pool games when out-half Domingo Miotti put his captain Juan Cruz Mallia over a minute from the break for a converted try which left it 21-7 at the break.
It was crucial that Ireland got the next score and McPhillips duly the lead with a penalty from 30 metres after 52 minutes to make it 24-7.
McPhillips put 20 points between them with 18 minutes left as a tiring Argentina side coughed up penaltiesm and that margin went out to 23 with 13 minutes left on the clock.
Argentina were reduced to 14 men when replacement prop Santiago Mare was red-carded for a headbutt on Irish lock Sean O’Connor.
And Ireland finished in style when Shane Daly intercepted to go over in the final play of the night, with Brett Connon converting for a 30 points success.
Scorers – Ireland: J Stockdale 2, M Deegan, S Daly tries; J McPhillips 3, B Connon cons; J McPhillips 3 pens.
Argentina: J Cruz Mallia try; D Miotti con.
Ireland: J Stockdale (Belfast Harlequins); M Byrne (Terenure College), S Daly (Cork Constitution), C O'Brien (Clontarf) (J O'Brien (UCD) 60), H Keenan (UCD); J McPhillips (Queen's University) (B Connon (Newcastle Falcons) 72), S Kerins (Sligo) (N Saunders (Harlequins) 72); A Porter (UCD) (J Bollard (Dublin University) 72), A McBurney (Ballymena) (V O'Brien (Cork Constitution) 65), B Betts (Young Munster) (A Coyle (Naas) 72); S O'Connor (Cashel), J Ryan (Lansdowne) (E Mintern (Cork Constitution) 72); G Jones (UCD) (K Brown (Shannon) 72), D Aspil (St. Mary's College), M Deegan (Lansdowne).
Argentina: B Delguy; T Malanos, J Cruz Mallia, S Mare (M Osadczuk 51), J Dominguez; D Miotti (M Elias 60), P Baronio (L Bazan Velez 46); R Ricco (S Pulella 60), G Baldunciel (R Pretz 65), S Medrano (G Del Pazo 54); F Molina, I Calas (C Roura 46); M Kremer, M Romanini (Ricco 76), V Boronat (B Stavile Bravin 53).
Referee: Craig Maxwell-Keys (England).
by JOHN FALLON at Manchester City Academy Stadium