The Irish Colleges squad fell away in the second half of Friday’s international clash at Druids Park in Gosforth, as the England Students took the try tally to six and ran out 42-9 victors.
STUDENT INTERNATIONAL MATCH: Friday, February 26
ENGLAND STUDENTS 42 IRISH COLLEGES 9, Druids Park, Gosforth
Scorers: England Students: Tries: Phil Burgess 2, Evan Stewart, Mark Wilson, Matt Humphries, Sean Morris; Cons: James Crozier 3; Pens: James Crozier 2
Irish Colleges: Pens: Conor Murphy 3
After losing 60-11 to their French counterparts recently, there was more disappointment for the Irish Colleges side on Friday in a game that was switched to the all-weather Druids Park grounds in Gosforth.
The Irish were out to reverse last February’s late defeat at Derry RFC when England students snatched victory in the dying minutes of the game, with an injury-time try giving them a 13-10 win.
The men in green started particularly well in this game, but the atrocious conditions hampered both sides’ play.
NUI Galway student Conor Murphy kicked the visitors ahead with a fifth minute penalty, and although they suffered a setback when England number 8 and captain Phil Burgess touched down, Murphy quickly added a second penalty for a 6-5 lead.
Some surefooted defending by Irish Colleges was not enough for a strong England Students pack when they drove over the line with Burgess grabbing his second try.
Murphy knocked over his third penalty but an indiscretion by the visitors before half-time allowed James Crozier kick the home side 13-9 ahead for the break.
Although Irish Colleges started the second half with great determination, England Students quickly put a succession of tries on the scoreboard to put the result beyond doubt.
Flankers Evan Stewart and Mark Wilson, centre Matt Humphries and winger Sean Morris all crossed the Irish whitewash, pushing the winning margin out to 33 points.
ENGLAND STUDENTS: Louis Messer (UWIC); Sean Morris (Oxford), Tom Mitchell (Bristol), Matt Humphries (UWE), James Crozier (Durham); Mike Ward (Durham), Greg Nicholls (Bristol); Matt Berry (Loughborough), Adam Bellamy (Bristol), Oliver Mines (Durham), Royce Cadman (Hartpury), Andrew Archibald (Northumbria), Mark Wilson (Northumbria), Evan Stewart (Manchester), Phil Burgess (Loughborough) (capt).
Replacements: Patrick Crossley (Cambridge), Tim Brockett (Loughborough), Will Warden (Loughborough), Ben Maidment (Cambridge), Will Chudleigh (Loughborough), Paul Roberts (Bath), Tom Hockedy (Exeter).
IRISH COLLEGES: Conor Lavelle (Athlone IT); Conor Conroy (NUI Galway), Paul Harte (Athlone IT), Phil De Barra (IT Carlow), Ross Williamson (IT Carlow); Conor Murphy (NUI Galway), Hugo Nolan (DCU); Jarleth Naughton (GMIT), Wayne Falvey (Cork IT), Sean Preston (DIT), Michael Kearney (IT Carlow), Ben Reilly (DCU), John Dever (Garda College), Ross Hackney (UUJ), Alex Dunlop (IT Tallaght) (capt).
Replacements: Andrew Ferguson (Belfast Metropolitan College), Gavin Kelly (Athlone IT), Benny McManus (Athlone IT), Cathal Deans (IT Tallaght), Andrew Winder (UUC), Andrew Kenny (IT Carlow).
Referee: Cameron Rudkin (Scotland)