Michael Bradley’s Ireland ‘A’ side have retained the Barclays Churchill Cup Plate title, edging out Scotland ‘A’ 22-21 in today’s tension-filled final at Twickenham.
2007 BARCLAYS CHURCHILL CUP PLATE FINAL: Saturday, June 2
IRELAND ‘A’ 22 SCOTLAND ‘A’ 21, Twickenham
Scorers: Ireland ‘A’: Tries: Frank Murphy, Roger Wilson, Keith Earls; Cons: Johnny Sexton, Ian Keatley; Pen: Johnny Sexton
Scotland ‘A’: Tries: Scott Lawson, Thom Evans; Con: Calum McRae; Pens: Calum McRae 3
HT: Ireland ‘A’ 15 Scotland ‘A’ 13
Today’s result see Ireland ‘A’ finish third in the 2007 tournament and retain the Plate title they won twelve months ago when they beat England Saxons in another dramatic Plate final in Edmonton.
Ireland A held on for a dramatic Barclays Churchill Cup Plate victory at Twickenham at the expense of Scotland A.
Frank Murphy and Roger Wilson scored the tries for Michael Bradley’s side to establish an early lead, which they held onto despite Scotland’s last-ditch efforts.
Scott Lawson and Thom Evans scored tries to keep Frank Hadden’s men in the hunt for victory, but Calum MacRae missed a conversion, which would have given them a late lead.
It meant consecutive Plate victories for Ireland A after beating England Saxons last year and claiming third in the tournament.
Scotland reached the final last year and MacRae opened the scoring with a penalty for Scotland after Jonathan Sexton had struck the upright for the Irish.
Hadden’s men then failed to hold onto their lead, although they were contributors to the two early tries for Ireland.
Murphy charged down Rob Crystie’s kick in the ninth minute for the first, while a stray pass beyond the deadball area led to the second.
Ireland maintained pressure from the resulting scrum and Wilson went over. Sexton converted the second of the two.
Scotland’s response was immediate, with the referee requiring a television replay to confirm Lawson had gone over in the corner straight from the kick-off. MacRae converted from the touchline.
Sexton’s penalty put some light between the teams but the scoring dried up when the teams took a one-minute water break to counter the fierce heat.
It took something special get the scoreboard ticking again, MacRae kicking a penalty from his own half to reduce the deficit to two points going into the break.
Ryan Caldwell was yellow carded just before the interval for a clash with Mark Rennie, but Scotland failed to capitalise while he was in the cooler.
Ireland were back to their full compliment when MacRae had the chance to edge the Scots ahead, but he struck the post with a penalty.
A glut of replacements on both sides did little to encourage a second-half spectacle, but a flowing move from Ireland extended their lead when the ball was worked to Keith Earls in the corner on the hour mark.
Ian Keatley added the extra points to leave Scotland needing a converted try and a penalty for victory.
MacRae provided the penalty with ten minutes remaining, Evans provided the try but MacRae could not add the final conversion.
Keatley struck a post with a late penalty.