The Ireland Students team produced a powerful performance to see off a hard-working Scotland Students side, winning 33-17 at the Peffermill playing fields at the University of Edinburgh yesterday.
INTERNATIONAL STUDENTS MATCH: Sunday, March 11
SCOTLAND STUDENTS 17 IRELAND STUDENTS 33, Peffermill Playing Fields, University of Edinburgh
Scorers: Scotland Students:Tries: Ben Rose, Angus Neilson; Cons: Kerr Stoddart 2; Pen: Kerr Stoddart
Ireland Students: Tries: Paddy Thornton 2, Ty Chan 2, Fergal Cleary; Cons: James Taylor 4
HT: Scotland Students 10 Ireland Students 14
In an overcast and cold Peffermill, the Ireland Students team took to the pitch hoping to produce a winning performance against their Scottish counterparts, and to surpass their thrilling 36-all draw with England from last year.
Scotland started the game well, dominating possession in the first quarter and showing their pace and strength in the back-line. Tall winger Ben Rose was highly effective and threatening in attack, but solid tackling by the Irish defence – especially UCD winger Steven Kilgallen – closed down these early assaults.
Ireland struggled to get an early foothold due to a high number of handling errors. However, a period of pressure led to an overthrown Scottish defensive lineout on their 22-metre line, which landed into the arms of DCU’s Paddy Thornton at the tail. Thornton, who was outstanding in both defence and attack, showed a great turn of pace to race towards the corner, holding off two defenders as he powered over for the opening try.
UCC out-half James Taylor landed a magnificent conversion, putting Ireland seven points ahead on 17 minutes. Ireland tried to raise the tempo, putting the ball wide, but a dropped Irish pass bounced up fortuitously for Rose to race through and score under the posts, tying things up in the 22nd minute.
Scotland then enjoyed a period of dominance, assisted by Irish errors, leading to a penalty in front of the posts for not rolling away. Stand-off Kerr Stoddart slotted the penalty to put the home side 10-7 up. Nonetheless, Ireland soon regained their composure and were now running the ball with confidence.
With the first half drawing to a close, a Scottish offside penalty led to an Irish lineout in the 22. A beautiful throw by Ty Chan was taken by the superb Jack O’Sullivan and a rolling maul saw UL hooker Chan regain the ball to crash over for Ireland’s second try, again converted by Taylor. It was 14-10 to the visitors at the break.
Into the second period, Ireland raised their game to put Scotland under immediate pressure, which led to a penalty and a kick to the corner. Number 8 O’Sullivan from DBS again confidently claimed the lineout, leading to another well organised maul, and flanker Thornton bagging his second try to put Ireland 11 points ahead.
An infringement at the breakdown after sustained Scottish pressure led to O’Sullivan being yellow carded, but Ireland managed to keep the Scots scoreless during this period. Almost as soon as he returned, O’Sullivan again played a key role in setting up Shannon clubman Chan for his second try following another rolling maul. Taylor added the extras to push the scoreline out to 28-10.
Ireland tagged on one final try through replacement Fergal Cleary after multi-phase pressure saw the DIT student take a strong and straight line to burst over. Taylor failed to convert on this occasion, before Scotland replied with a late consolation try.
In the dying minutes, the Scots restored some pride, finishing off a prolonged attack with flanker Angus Neilson scoring in the corner and Stoddart adding the extras. However, Ireland were very deserving 16-point winners after a memorable Celtic clash which brought the best out in both squads.
Speaking afterwards, Ireland Students coach David O’Mahony said: “This was a highly competitive match, with a high degree of skill and intensity demonstrated throughout. It was a great showcase for third level rugby, and the great work being done with regards to player development in the universities and colleges of Ireland.”
There will be a special feature on the Ireland Students on tonight’s ‘Against The Head’ programme on RTÉ Two, including footage from their five-try victory in Edinburgh.
SCOTLAND STUDENTS: James Cooper (University of Stirling); Roland Walker (University of St. Andrews), Robbie Kent (University of Edinburgh), Fraser Gosse (University of Edinburgh), Ben Rose (University of Edinburgh); Kerr Soddart (University of Glasgow), James Small-Edwards (University of Edinburgh); Archie Whittingham-Ingram (University of Glasgow), Jonny Spence (University of Glasgow), Chris Barnes (University of Glasgow), Ben Cogley (University of Edinburgh), Finlay Simpson (University of Strathclyde), Angus Neilson (University of Strathclyde), Nick Stephen (University of Edinburgh) (capt), Scott Burnside (University of Edinburgh).
Replacements: Will Cooke (University of Edinburgh), Lyall Archer ((University of Strathclyde), Dugald Beresford (University of St. Andrews), Tom Robertson (University of Edinburgh), Ed Russell (University of Edinburgh), Fin Murphy (University of St. Andrews), Owen Jarvie (University of Stirling), Pete Howard (University of Edinburgh).
IRELAND STUDENTS: Richard Walsh (UCC); Steven Kilgallen (UCD), Cian Bohane (UCC) (capt), Paul Kiernan (UCC), Michael Courtney (Dublin University); James Taylor (UCC), Rowan Osborne (Dublin University); Ntinga Mpiko (IT Carlow), Ty Chan (University of Limerick), Michael Moynihan (UCD), JJ O’Dea (DCU), Lee Nicholas (University of Limerick), Sam Pim (Dublin University), Paddy Thornton (DCU), Jack O’Sullivan (DBS).
Replacements: Tadgh McCarthy (UCC), James Bollard (DIT), Anton Lupari (University of Ulster), Ryan Murphy (UCC), Alex Penny (UCD), Gerard Treanor (Queen’s University), Darren Hudson (Maynooth University), Fergal Cleary (DIT).