A successful conversion from Matthew Jarvis was the difference between the sides in Wednesday’s IRB TOSHIBA Junior World Championship 5th-8th place play-off as the Ireland Under-20s fell to an agonising 19-17 defeat to Wales.
2009 IRB TOSHIBA JUNIOR WORLD CHAMPIONSHIP: Wednesday, June 17
IRELAND UNDER-20s 17 WALES UNDER-20s 19, Level 5 Stadium, Fukuoka
Scorers: Ireland: Try: Michael Keating; Pens: Ian McKinley 4
Wales: Try: Justin Tipuric; Con: Matthew Jarvis; Pens: Matthew Jarvis 4
The result, which saw Wales gain some revenge for a 9-6 defeat in this year’s Under-20 Six Nations, means Ireland will wind up the tournament in Sunday’s 7th-8th place play-off against Samoa.
The Samoans lost their first play-off game 16-6 to France. Sunday’s clash at Level 5 Stadium in Fukuoka will kick off at 12pm local time/4am Irish time.
Today saw Wales edge a tight encounter at the same venue to guarantee themselves a top six finish at the IRB TOSHIBA Junior World Championship.
Only three points had separated the two sides when they met in the Six Nations in Llanelli earlier this year, with Ireland winning 9-6 in Wales en route to missing out on the title on point differential to France.
Allen Clarke’s side opened the scoring in the play-off with a sixth minute try.
Winger Michael Keating whizzed through to touch down in the corner, but Ian McKinley missed the conversion and the gloss was somewhat taken off the score with team captain Peter O’Mahony forced off injured.
Within minutes Wales had opened their account with a Matthew Jarvis penalty and they kept plugging away for territory but the Irish defence held firm.
The Welsh did get their reward though, when the forwards fashioned a try for flanker Justin Tipuric in the 21st minute.
Jarvis kicked the conversion and a second penalty within minute as Wales seemed to draw confidence and urgency after a slightly hesitant start.
But it was Ireland who scored next with McKinley slotting a penalty between the posts after the recent Magners League debutant had missed an attempted drop goal.
Wales still went in with a 16-11 advantage at half-time thanks to another Jarvis penalty and things did not improve for Ireland when they lost flanker Brian O’Hara to injury within a minute of the restart.
With the whole pitch now in the shade for the second half in Fukuoka, the Welsh kept possession of the ball and forced Ireland to give away a penalty, which Jarvis duly kicked to take his side out to 19-11.
The two sides exchanged kicks with neither able to make the breakthrough, although Ireland, with a few fresh players, did spend the majority of the next 20 minutes in the Welsh half.
Nonetheless, they failed to add to their tally due to a mix of handling errors and their opponents’ stubborn defence.
Ireland’s persistence finally paid off when McKinley kicked a penalty with 13 minutes remaining, but although he added another five minutes from time it was not enough with Wales holding on for the victory and a place in the 5th-6th place play-off.
Speaking afterwards, Irish coach Clarke said: “All credit to Wales, they made it difficult for us today and contributed to our mistakes, but we weren’t at our best today either.”
Ireland hooker Thomas Sexton added: “Wales took their opportunities today and their out-half punished our mistakes.”
TIME LINE: 6 minutes – Ireland try: Michael Keating – 5-0; conversion: missed by Ian McKinley – 5-0; 11 mins – Wales penalty: Matthew Jarvis – 5-3; 16 mins – Wales sin-binning: James Loxton; 21 mins – Wales try: Justin Tipuric – 5-8; conversion: Matthew Jarvis – 5-10; 25 mins – Wales penalty: Matthew Jarvis – 5-13; 30 mins – Ireland penalty: Ian McKinley – 8-13; 32 mins – Wales penalty: Matthew Jarvis – 8-16; 35 mins – Wales penalty: missed by Matthew Jarvis – 8-16; 37 mins – Ireland penalty: Ian McKinley – 11-16; 40+3 mins – Ireland penalty: missed by Ian McKinley – 11-16; Half-time – Ireland 11 Wales 16; 44 mins – Wales penalty: Matthew Jarvis – 11-19; 67 mins – Ireland penalty: Ian McKinley – 14-19; 74 mins – Ireland penalty: Ian McKinley – 17-19; Full-time – Ireland 17 Wales 19
IRELAND U-20: Ian Madigan (Blackrock College/Leinster); David Kearney (Lansdowne/Leinster), Danny Barnes (UCC/Munster), Eamonn Sheridan (Lansdowne/Leinster), Michael Keating (Clontarf/Leinster); Ian McKinley (UCD/Leinster), Conor Murray (Garryowen Munster); Jack McGrath (St. Mary’s College/Leinster), Thomas Sexton (Old Belvedere/Leinster), Adam Macklin (Belfast Harlequins/Ulster), Dominic Ryan (Lansdowne/Leinster), Mark Flanagan (UCD/Leinster), Rhys Ruddock (Millfield School/Exiles), Brian O’Hara (UL Bohemians/Munster), Peter O’Mahony (Cork Constitution/Munster) (capt).
Replacements used: David O’Callaghan (UCC/Munster) for O’Mahony (6 mins, inj), Joe Moran (Galwegians/Connacht) for O’Hara (41, inj), Andrew Burke (Garryowen/Munster) for Barnes (46), Matthew Healy (Lansdowne/Leinster) for Murray (56), Paddy McAllister (Ballynahinch/Ulster) for Macklin (61), Jonny Shiels (Queen’s University/Ulster) for Madigan (75). Not used: David McGregor (Ballynahinch/Ulster).
WALES U-20: Daniel Newton; James Loxton, Jason Harries, Ashley Beck, Rhys Downes; Matthew Jarvis, Lloyd Williams; Aaron Coundley, Rhys Williams, Scott Andrews (capt), James King, Ashley Sweet, Justin Tipuric, Rhys Jenkins, James Thomas.
Replacements used: Scott Williams for Beck (17 mins), David Langdon for S Williams (58), Rory Pitman for Sweet (65), Josh Navidi for Jenkins (75). Not used: Craig Attwell, Simon Gardiner, James Leadbeater.
Referee: Jerome Garces (France)