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Ireland U-18 Clubs & Schools Team Complete Series Win With Impressive Display

Ireland U-18 Clubs & Schools Team Complete Series Win With Impressive Display

The Ireland Under-18 Clubs & Schools team (sponsored by PwC) completed their second win in five days over the Canada U-19s at Energia Park, running in nine tries in a high-quality display.

Coached by Mark Butler, Colm Tucker and Adrian Flavin, the Ireland youngsters had emerged as 56-17 winners when the sides met at Templeville Road last Saturday, and passed the 50-point mark again today as Nenagh flanker Evan Murphy captained them to a 51-12 success.

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The hosts quickly showed their intentions of completing a double with three tries in the opening 12 minutes to establish an early 17-0 lead. They led 29-5 at half-time and added four further tries in the second period with the Canadians restricted to just a single try in each half.

The Ireland Under-18s were quickly out of the blocks and opened the scoring inside three minutes. Darragh Murray won a lineout on the 22, Ireland's driving maul made good ground and the backs moved the ball right for Rockwell College winger Jack Hunt to touch down in the corner.

Three minutes later, IQ Rugby blindside Ciaran Booth made a brilliant 50-metre run from inside his own half and as Ireland recycled, CBC Cork centre Tommy Downes burst through midfield with spare men outside for a try which Skerries clubman Shane Murphy converted.

Ireland's excellent start was further rewarded with a third try, with the maul again causing the Canada U-19s problems. Murphy fed out-half Thomas Armstrong who cleverly flicked the ball on to Shane Jennings for the Garbally College full-back to cross.

Canada were reeling from the concession of three tries in less than 10 minutes but they struck back with one of their own midway through the first half. Centre Evan Norris found John Buck at his shoulder and although the winger had plenty to do, he showed good strength to hold off the combined efforts of Murray and Tom Bacon to bring him down and score in the left corner.

However, Ireland pulled clear with two more tries before Italian referee Gianluca Gnecchi's half-time whistle. Downes gathered a loose ball in midfield and ran clear to complete his brace, and after Murphy converted, a lovely break from Jennings set up left winger Bacon for Ireland's fifth score after 31 minutes.

Ireland picked up where they left off after the break and although Jennings' chip ahead from their first attack went over the end-line, the next try duly arrived in the 42nd minute with Blackrock College number 8 Ed Brennan credited with the touchdown as the pack drove over.

Brennan, who was a Leinster Schools Senior Cup winner just last Friday, was again on the mark from close range after 58 minutes, and although hooker Tyler Wong replied with a try under the posts for the visitors, it was the home side who finished on the front foot.

Waterpark's Ben Daly, who had replaced Armstrong at out-half at half-time, jinked clear to score Ireland's eighth try six minutes from time, which he converted himself, and the impressive Murray found Bacon on his shoulder as the IQ Rugby winger sprinted in for his second try of the game to round off the scoring.

Referee: Gianluca Gnecchi (Italy)