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Ireland U-18 Clubs & Schools Team Rack Up Eight Tries Against Canada U-19s

Ireland U-18 Clubs & Schools Team Rack Up Eight Tries Against Canada U-19s

The IQ Rugby trio of Oran McNulty, Hayden Hyde and Tom Bacon scored two tries each as the Ireland Under-18 Clubs & Schools team recorded an impressive 56-17 win over a physical Canadian Under-19 side at Templeville Road on Saturday.

Coached by Mark Butler, Colm Tucker and Adrian Flavin, the Ireland Under-18s (sponsored by PwC) established a 28-12 half-time lead with Hayden Hyde, Tom Bacon and Oran McNulty stringing together tries to add to the latter's eighth-minute opener.

The Canada U-19s had hit the front through full-back Kyle Tremblay and added a second try from centre Dalton Campbell, but Ireland pressed on and passed the half-century mark thanks to second half scores from Jack Hunt, Bacon, Hyde and replacement Ciaran Booth.

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Canadian replacement Brock Gallagher gained some late consolation with a 71st minute try, making it a 39-point winning margin for the Irish Clubs and Schools selection who will look to make it two wins out of two in Wednesday's rematch at Donnybrook (kick-off 12pm). 

The sides' opening fixture saw Canada strike for a try inside two minutes. Scrum half Brandon Schellenberger broke from a scrum in the Canadian half and although Hunt managed to haul down Evan Norris before the try-line, the Canadian winger was able to pop the ball up for full-back Tremblay to cross in the right corner.

A scrum penalty soon launched Ireland forward, with Joshua Dunne, who was a real workhorse at number 8, and Fionn Flanagan getting over the gain-line with their carries and half-backs Charlie O'Doherty and Michael Cooke linking well.

Canada conceded two more penalties, allowing the hosts to press from a close-in maul before excellent full-back McNulty stepped inside two defenders to score to the right of the posts. Cooke left-footed the conversion over for a 7-5 lead.

McNulty then showed his defensive skills when holding up Schellenberger, with support from Hunt, to deny the Canadian scrum half a try, and Bacon got in quickly at the breakdown to win a relieving penalty. Ireland scored from a counter attack soon after, flanker Chris Moore's counter-rucking and hook back on the ground securing possession and centre Hyde burst clear down the blindside for a very well-taken seven-pointer.

The Irish attack was beginning to pick holes in the Canadian defence, winger Bacon's brilliant sidestepping run being spoiled by McNulty's subsequent knock-on, while Canada's long-striding lock Quentin James made a number of impressive breaks but lacked support at crucial times.

IQ Rugby duo McNulty and Bacon combined for Ireland's third try in the 27th minute, the back-line flashing the ball wide from a lineout in the Canadian 22 and McNulty evaded three defenders before deftly kicking through for the onrushing Bacon to gather the bouncing ball and ground it. Cooke curled over a classy conversion from near the right touchline for a 21-5 scoreline.

Canada posted a quick response, their big ball carriers taking them deep into the Irish 22 before centre Campbell dummied and stepped his way over the line. Determined to hit back just before the break, Wicklow hooker Mark Nicholson forced a penalty at the breakdown and following the lineout, the ever-threatening McNulty handed off Campbell and showed fantastic feet to round his opposite number Tremblay and finish off a terrific solo score in the left corner. Cooke kept up his 100% record with another superb strike from the tee.

Taking a 16-point lead into the second period, Ireland maintained the momentum with replacement Saul O'Carroll making 20-plus metres on a powerful carry into Canadian territory. Hyde was adjudged to have been held up after breaking two tackles from a McNulty pass, but the try came a few minutes later, Cooke getting back to cover a hack downfield, and with numbers on the left, Ireland captain Cian Prendergast and Hyde combined to send Hunt over unopposed.

Cooke converted and then replacement Shane Murphy added the extras to Bacon's breakaway effort in the 52nd minute. A Canadian knock-on five metres out allowed Ireland to counter from deep and good hands from O'Carroll, Shane Jennings and Hyde, who put in a tremendous shift in midfield, released the Henley College student who cut inside Norris and scampered clear from the Irish 10-metre line.

Ireland's defence came under huge pressure from resilient Canada who were camped on the hosts' line for a number of minutes. However, great commitment in the tackle – with the bench making a physical impact – kept them out before Hyde stripped the ball and charged clear from his own five-metre line for try number seven.

An eighth and final one followed, McNulty slicing through initially from a well-executed backs move, before Jennings and Bacon did well to keep the attack going and the latter fed back rower Booth who brushed off a couple of tackles to go over by the posts. Cooke tagged on his sixth conversion.

It was Canada who had the final say when Gallagher was not held in a tackle and dashed over from the edge of the Irish 22. The Ireland U-18s ended the game on the front foot and Murphy was unfortunate not to hold onto O'Carroll's offload with the try-line in his sights.

Referee: Nika Amashukeli (Georgia)