The Ireland Under-20s showed their preparations for next month's IRB Junior World Championship are in good shape after achieving a 30-17 victory over their Scottish counterparts in today's warm-up match at Murrayfield.
PRE-IRB JUNIOR WORLD CHAMPIONSHIP MATCH: Sunday, May 11
SCOTLAND UNDER-20s 17 IRELAND UNDER-20s 30, Murrayfield back pitch 3
Scorers: Scotland U-20s: Tries: Lewis Carmichael, Penalty try, Jamie Ritchie; Con: Ben Chalmers
Ireland U-20s: Tries: David Busby, Dan Goggin, Peadar Timmins, Billy Dardis; Cons: Conor McKeon, Ross Byrne; Pens: Conor McKeon, Garry Ringrose
Against a strong Scotland pack Ireland were initially under pressure, but as the game became less structured the Irish backs showed their ability to use quick ball, resulting in three second half tries despite the very wet conditions.
Speaking afterwards, head coach Mike Ruddock said: "These games are about the processes. It's about getting the cohesion and trying different combinations.
"In a way the scoreboard is the last thing you think of. It's about what you want take into your first game in the World Championship.
"Both teams will be pretty pleased with the game today. We were better in the second half but we'll look carefully about how the scrums went and how the lineouts went. We have to identify the areas in which we need to do more work.
"We've got some good systems in place to try to get width and pace on the game when we get quality ball. But we struggled for periods in the game against a very good Scottish pack."
Assistant coach Greig Oliver added: "We're developing a good brand of play in Ireland. It's a testament to the provinces. There's a big emphasis on first phase attack. The big thing is decision-making under pressure."
The Irish youngsters wasted little time getting into their stride with a try in the first minute. Quick ball and good running from the midfield backs created an overlap for full-back David Busby to score an unconverted effort in the corner.
Scotland's well-drilled forwards produced a penalty try and a touchdown for lock Lewis Carmichael but just before the break Garry Ringrose, a stand-out performer for Ireland along with captain Jack O'Donoghue, kicked a penalty to leave his side 12-8 adrift at the interval.
A break by Lansdowne's Darragh Henry created a second half try for replacement Billy Dardis, with out half Ross Byrne adding the conversion for a 15-12 scoreline.
Scotland hit back with a close range try by mumber 8 Jamie Ritchie but from then on it was Ireland who took over the scoring.
They had penalty from replacement Conor McKeon, a well-worked try by centre Dan Goggin and a final touchdown from another of the replacements, flanker Peadar Timmins, converted by McKeon to seal a 13-point victory.
SCOTLAND U-20: Ruairidh Young (Edinburgh Accies); Jamie Farndale (Edinburgh Accies/Edinburgh), Chris Dean (Edinburgh Accies), Neil Herron ((Glasgow Hawks), Damien Hoyland (Melrose); Ben Chalmers (Melrose), Ben Vellacott (Hartpury/Gloucester); Jack Cosgrove (Worcester Warriors), Sam James (London Wasps), D'arcy Rae (Ayr/Glasgow Warriors), Andrew Cramond (Aberdeen Grammar), Lewis Carmichael (Melrose), Neil Irvine-Hess (Watsonians/Edinburgh), Tommy Spinks (London Scottish) (capt), Jamie Ritchie (Strathallan School/Howe of Fife).
Replacements: James Malcolm (Ayr), Cameron Fenton (Strathallan School/Howe of Fife), Zander Fagerson (Glasgow Hawks), Glenn Young (Newcastle Falcons), Shaun MacDonald (Stirling County), Alex Glashan (Edinburgh Accies), Gavin Lowe (Glasgow Hawks/Glasgow Warriors), Blair Hutchison (Loughborough University/Melrose), Rory Hutchinson (Northampton Saints), Sam Pecqueur (Edinburgh Accies), Gavin Parker (Exeter University).
IRELAND U-20: David Busby (Queen's University/Ulster); Cian Kelleher (Lansdowne/Leinster), Garry Ringrose (UCD/Leinster), Dan Goggin (Young Munster/Munster), Alex Wootton (Garryowen/Munster), Ross Byrne (UCD/Leinster), Ryan Foley (Cork Constitution/Munster); Denis Coulson (Lansdowne/Leinster), Max Abbott (Cork Constitution/Munster), Craig Trenier (Terenure College/Leinster), Darragh Moloney (Cork Constitution/Munster), Ross Molony (UCD/Leinster), Frankie Taggart (Belfast Harlequins/Ulster), Diarmaid Dee (Young Munster/Munster), Jack O'Donoghue (UL Bohemians/Munster) (capt).
Replacements: Dylan Donnellan (UCD/Leinster), Mike Lynch (UL Bohemians/Munster), Rory Burke (Cork Constitution/Munster), Stephen Gardiner (Lansdowne/Leinster), Peader Timmins (UCD/Leinster), Darragh Henry (Lansdowne), Conor McKeon (Lansdowne/Leinster), Peter Robb (Old Belvedere/Leinster), Rory Moloney (Buccaneers/Connacht), Josh Murphy (UCD/Leinster), Ciaran Gaffney (Galwegians/Connacht), Billy Dardis (UCD/Leinster).
Looking forward to facing England on Sunday, Ireland winger Tommy Bowe said: "We've trained very well this week, we're really excited about the game. It's about going out there and doing whatever we can to get ourselves that win."
Second row Devin Toner previews Ireland's crunch RBS 6 Nations clash with England, saying: "It's a pretty formidable English pack. Attwood and Kruis have played fantastically well. They're well drilled and focused and their scrum and lineout are very good."
Looking forward to facing England this weekend, Ireland back rower Sean O'Brien said: "It's obviously exciting, but it's one game at a time. I don't think there's any more pressure on us than in the first two games. That's the way you have to look at it."
Irish Rugby TV sat down with Ireland Under-20 scrum coach John Fogarty to talk about the U-20 Six Nations so far and Friday's clash with England at Donnybrook. Tickets are on sale on www.ticketmaster.ie.
Ireland Under-20 captain Nick McCarthy and fellow back Billy Dardis spoke to Irish Rugby TV about Friday's U-20 Six Nations showdown with England at Donnybrook. Tickets available on www.ticketmaster.ie.
Shane Byrne and Malcolm O'Kelly preview the Ireland v England Legends match which takes place at Donnybrook this coming Saturday (kick-off 7.30pm). Tickets are available from www.ticketmaster.ie. All proceeds from the game will go to support the IRFU Charitable Trust and the RFU All Schools Charity.
Watch highlights from the Ireland team announcement press conference as Joe Schmidt reveals the team to play France. Peter O'Mahony says it is good to 'have some big figures back' for Saturday's clash.