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Five-Try Triumph Keeps Ireland Under-20s On Track
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Five-Try Triumph Keeps Ireland Under-20s On Track

Five-Try Triumph Keeps Ireland Under-20s On Track

Replacement Daniel Okeke celebrates with his team-mates after scoring for the Ireland Under-20s against Wales in Cardiff ©INPHO/Robbie Stephenson

A late try from captain Alex Kendellen closed out a business-like 40-12 bonus point victory for the Ireland Under-20s, sponsored by PwC, as they swept Wales aside at Cardiff Arms Park.

Match Photo Gallery: Wales U-20s 12 Ireland U-20s 40

Richie Murphy’s charges, who were 38-7 winners over Scotland on the opening day, kept hold of top spot in the Under-20 Six Nations table with a strong five-try showing.

Cathal Forde (13 minutes) and Chris Cosgrave (24) supplied two pacy finishes for converted tries, with influential scrum half Nathan Doak also kicking a penalty as Ireland led 17-0 at half-time.

Doak marked his U-20 debut with a player-of-the-match performance, the Ulster prospect’s snappily-taken 41st-minute try the highlight of a 20-point individual haul.

Although Wales clawed it back to 25-12 – with both sides suffering yellow cards – it was Ireland who finished the stronger, replacement Daniel Okeke securing the bonus point before Kendellen had the final say.

With second-placed England also winning their first two fixtures in Cardiff, it sets up a mouth-watering Ireland-England duel at the same venue next Thursday (kick-off 8pm).

The table-toppers established an early territorial dominance against Wales, benefiting from new half-backs Doak and Tim Corkery’s crisp deliveries. Busy centre Forde took them to within five metres out.

The Welsh held out thanks to a lineout steal and then Harri Deaves held up a try-seeking Alex Soroka under a pile of bodies. Number 8 Kendellen was also thwarted from a quick tap penalty.

However, the pressure eventually told in the 13th minute, Forde taking a short line off a scrum as Doak’s inviting pass sent him crashing in under the posts past two defenders. Doak converted.

In response Sam Costelow missed a penalty from far out, as French referee Tual Trainini tried to control a ferocious battle at the breakdown and two fast and fully-committed defences.

Looking the better team in possession, Ireland extended their lead with a superb second try, which started with a dummy and break by the versatile Soroka.

Donnacha Byrne was up in support, and with a penalty advantage, Jack Boyle carried strongly before Jamie Osborne’s excellent delayed pass had winger Cosgrave weaving in on a lovely line straight to the posts.

Doak converted before tagging on a penalty on the half-hour mark, punishing openside Deaves for an offside. The hosts hit back with a promising spell until Kendellen earned a turnover penalty in his own 22.

Ben Moxham flooded through off his right wing on a surging run into the Welsh 22, yet Ireland could not capitalise on this occasion as Wales kept the deficit at 17 points just before the interval.

Doak showed his class with a fine five-pointer to start the second half, fielding a kick, dashing along the left touchline past his opposite number Harri Williams and taking a return pass from Osborne to go over in the corner.

Wales were quick to respond, showing better variety in attack as a clever kick led to Moxham conceding a five-metre scrum. Their pack’s pick-and-goes paved the way for skipper Alex Mann to go over.

Corkery’s flat running and distribution sparked the best out of the Irish attack again, allowing Doak to fire over his second penalty goal of the game and make it 25-5.

Wales then profited from Shane Jennings’ sin-binning – the centre was guilty of not rolling away near his own try-line – as good hands put winger Carrick McDonough over in the left corner. Following up, Costelow swept over a terrific conversion.

The home side handed back three points straight from the restart, as a Cosgrave charge-down preceded a Mann infringement. Doak mopped up with a well-struck penalty for 28-12.

Ireland’s bench players ensured the visitors wrestled back control, beginning with a bustling carry by Sam Illo. McDonough saw yellow for playing the ball from an offside position.

The bonus point was duly pocketed in the 69th minute, a strong lineout drive ending with Shannon clubman Okeke crashing over near the right corner flag.

Improved maul defence saw Ireland prevent Wales from answering back, and after further Welsh indiscipline, Kendellen burrowed over for try number five. Doak fittingly signed off with his sixth successful kick of the night.

TIME LINE: 13 minutes – Ireland try: Cathal Forde – 0-5; conversion: Nathan Doak – 0-7; 20 mins – Wales penalty: missed by Sam Costelow – 0-7; 24 mins – Ireland try: Chris Cosgrave – 0-12; conversion: Nathan Doak – 0-14; 28 mins – Ireland penalty: Nathan Doak – 0-17; Half-time – Wales 0 Ireland 17; 41 mins – Ireland try: Nathan Doak – 0-22; conversion: missed by Nathan Doak – 0-22; 46 mins – Wales try: Alex Mann – 5-22; conversion: missed by Sam Costelow – 5-22; 56 mins – Ireland penalty: Nathan Doak – 5-25; 58 mins – Ireland yellow card: Shane Jennings; 59 mins – Wales try: Carrick McDonough – 10-25; conversion: Sam Costelow – 12-25; 62 mins – Ireland penalty: Nathan Doak – 12-28; 67 mins – Wales yellow card: Carrick McDonough; 68 mins – Ireland try: Daniel Okeke – 12-33; conversion: missed by Nathan Doak – 12-33; 78 mins – Ireland try: Alex Kendellen – 12-38; conversion: Nathan Doak – 12-40; Full-time – Wales 12 Ireland 40

Referee: Tual Trainini (France)

Lineups Scorers

Match Lineups

Home Team

Jacob Beetham (Cardiff Rugby); Dan John (Exeter Chiefs), Ioan Evans (Pontypridd), Joe Hawkins (Ospreys), Carrick McDonough (Dragons); Sam Costelow (Scarlets), Harri Williams (Scarlets); Garyn Phillips (Ospreys), Efan Daniel (Cardiff Rugby), Nathan Evans (Cardiff Rugby), Joe Peard (Dragons), Dafydd Jenkins (Exeter Chiefs), Alex Mann (Cardiff Rugby) (capt), Harri Deaves (Ospreys), Carwyn Tuipulotu (Scarlets). Replacements used: Christ Tshiunza (Exeter Chiefs) for Deaves, James Fender (Ospreys) for Peard (half-time), Oliver Burrows (Exeter Chiefs) for Daniel (49 mins), Ethan Lloyd (Cardiff Rugby) for Williams (53), Theo Bevacqua (Cardiff Rugby) for Phillips, Lewys Jones (Nevers) for N Evans (both 56), Will Reed (Dragons) for Costelow (67), Eddie James (Scarlets) for I Evans (74). Not used: Tom Florence (Ospreys), Morgan Richards (Dragons/Pontypridd), Rhys Thomas (Ospreys).

Away Team

Jamie Osborne (Naas CBS/Naas RFC/Leinster); Ben Moxham (Larne High School/Ballymena RFC/Ulster), Shane Jennings (Garbally College/Buccaneers RFC/Connacht), Cathal Forde (Colaiste Iognaid/Galway Corinthians RFC/Connacht), Chris Cosgrave (St. Michael's College/UCD RFC/Leinster); Tim Corkery (St. Kieran's College, Kilkenny/UCD RFC/Leinster), Nathan Doak (Wallace High School/Banbridge RFC/Ulster); Jack Boyle (St. Michael's College/UCD RFC/Leinster), Ronan Loughnane (Cistercian College Roscrea/UCD RFC/Leinster), Mark Donnelly (CBC Cork/Garryowen FC/Munster), Alex Soroka (Belvedere College/Clontarf RFC/Leinster), Harry Sheridan (Sullivan Upper School/Dublin University FC/Ulster), Donnacha Byrne (Summerhill College/Sligo RFC/Connacht), Oisin McCormack (Garbally College/Buccaneers RFC/Connacht), Alex Kendellen (PBC Cork/UCC RFC/Munster) (capt). Replacements used: George Saunderson (Sullivan Upper School/Queen's University Belfast RFC/Ulster) for Boyle, Sam Illo (Wesley College/Old Wesley RFC/Leinster) for Donnelly (both 62 mins), Jude Postlethwaite (RBAI/Banbridge RFC/Ulster) for Cosgrave (64), Daniel Okeke (Ardscoil Ris/Shannon RFC/Munster) for Byrne (65), Mark Morrissey (Blackrock College/UCD RFC/Leinster) for Soroka (67), Eoin de Buitléar (Scoil Chuimsitheach Chiaráin/An Ghaeltacht/Galway Corinthians RFC/Connacht) for Loughnane (69), Ben Carson (Wallace High School/Banbridge RFC/Ulster) for Corkery (71), Conor Rankin (Campbell College Belfast/Ballynahinch RFC/Ulster) for Moxham (73). Not used: Reuben Crothers (Wallace High School/Ballynahinch RFC/Ulster), Conor McKee (Sullivan Upper School/Queen's University Belfast RFC/Ulster), Fearghail O'Donoghue (Cashel Community School/Cashel RFC/Munster).

Match Scorers

Home Team

Try: Alex Mann, Carrick McDonough; Con: Sam Costelow

Away Team

Tries: Cathal Forde, Chris Cosgrave, Nathan Doak, Daniel Okeke, Alex Kendellen; Cons: Nathan Doak 3; Pens: Nathan Doak 3