The Ireland Under-19s have reached the 5th-6th place play-off at the IRB U-19 World Championship in Dubai. Click here for photos of their matches to date.
Pictured above: Centre Ian Keatley (UCD) prepares to hand off England number 8 David Tait during Ireland’s 17-16 win in their Division A opener in Dubai (Wednesday, April 5).
Ireland flanker and captain David Pollock (Queens University Belfast) and number 8 Kevin Sheahan (UCD) try to halt the progress of England centre Tom Youngs. Castleknock out-half Brian Collins kicked four penalties and St. Munchin’s centre Keith Earls scored a 64th-minute try that proved to be the match winner.
Pollock said afterwards: “It was awesome. We are very pleased (with the win). The discipline was also awesome and when Ireland play England in the World Championship it’s always a massive game.”
Brian Collins attempts a drop goal as his opposite number Morgan Parra of France closes in. Unfortunately, Ireland slipped to 26-18 defeat in their second Division A tie in Dubai (Sunday, April 9). St. Joseph’s, Garbally full-back Sean Carey got in for a try after only 4 minutes, UCD lock Conor McInerney also grabbed a second half try, and Collins kicked 8 points – two penalties and a conversion.
Conor McInerney, one of Ireland’s try scorers against the French, jumps high for a lineout ball.
Irish coach Charlie McAleese said of the French game: “I was extemely proud of the effort the boys showed. It was a massive effort against a very physical French team. We were disappointed but our mental strength to come back against Samoa was great.”
Pollock added on the night: “We’re absolutely gutted to lose to France. It was a game which could have gone either way and there were some 50-50 chances.”
Keith Earls in the attack against Samoa in Ireland’s third and final Division A fixture (Thursday, April 13). The Irish claimed a 16-15 win at the Sharjah Wanderers ground as Brian Collins converted his Castleknock team mate Ruaidhri Murphy’s 39th-minute try and kicked three penalties.
The win saved McAleese’s side finish sixth in the standings, earning them a 6th-7th place play-off shot against Argentina. The Irish coach said: “Samoa made it exceptionally difficult for us.
“This match was never going to be an easy one for us. I have to take my hat off to Samoa, they played extremely well. We had a bit of attacking flair and they were more direct. Overall, I felt we deserved the owin.”
Argentinian captain Francisco Cuneo is tackled by Ireland out-half Brian Collins during the sides’ 6th-7th place play-off in Sharjah (Monday, April 17). Collins’ kicking again proved vital as he landed four penalties – two in each half and converted hooker Gerard Slattery’s 28th-minute try. The victory sees the Irish through to a 5th-6th place play-off against Wales on Friday afternoon (Dubai Exiles RFC, kick-off 3.15pm Irish time).
Pollock admitted of his side’s third win of the tournament: “We deserved our victory – I thought we played some super rugby. Our defence was outstanding, especially near the end when they were throwing everything at us. There wasn’t much in it in the second half – they came back well but we showed great fighting spirit to hold on.”