After drawing with Italy recently, the Ireland Under-18 Clubs team suffered their first defeat of the season when going down 25-0 to hosts Scotland in Hamilton today.
The game went ahead only after the Hamilton RFC pitch was cleared of snow by an army of club volunteers. As a result the surface was both soft and slippery and when more wintry showers moved in, playing conditions worsened in the second half.
In the event the match was a battle between the two forward packs, albeit that both sides tried to move the ball along the back-ine but with little success.
For the young Ireland Clubs squad, this was a disappointing performance ahead of their upcoming match against England at Coolmine RFC on Saturday, March 30.
“We're very disappointed having had a good match against Italy Under-18s a fortnight ago,” said head coach Wayne Mitchell.
“We had a camp last weekend and we thought we had made genuine progress but the first half just killed us. We missed a lot of tackles and we didn’t go low enough.
“It was even more difficult in the second half as the weather got worse. But we’re not using the weather as an excuse.
“Scotland had to play into the wind in the first half and they scored 14 points and we scored none. Bottom line is that they were smarter than us.”
In defeat Ireland still had some impressive performances, notably from captain James Nolan, full-back Cathal Evans and flanker Conor Oliver.
There was also a good showing from replacement out-half Conor O'Brien, who will have a further year in this age group.
Ireland's only real chance of scoring in the first half came from a clever run into midfield by winger Anthony McGivney that created space for Evans, only for the full-back to be caught a metre from the Scotland line.
At the other end Ireland were unable to stop the Scots scoring two tries in the first half, the first by flanker Neil Irvine-Hess from a rampaging run by number 8 Magnus Bardbury and the second from a forward drive that ended with lock Lewis Carmichael crashing over.
Both scores were converted by full-back Gavin Lowe who then added two second half penalties before the Scots sealed off the match with a second close range try for Carmichael.
Referee: Adrien Descottes (France)