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Ireland U-20s Set Up Rematch With South Africa

Ireland U-20s Set Up Rematch With South Africa

The Ireland Under-20s ran in three late tries to defeat Scotland 30-13 and record their first win of this year’s IRB Junior World Championship.

Andrew Conway, with his fourth try of the tournament, crossed in the 70th minute and Ulster duo Luke Marshall and Niall Annett followed up with two more.

A brace of penalties from out-half Paddy Jackson had given Ireland a 6-3 half-time lead, and Jackson and Scotland captain Duncan Weir slotted one apiece in the second half before the tries came.

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The victory means Mike Ruddock’s youngsters finish third in Pool C and qualify for the 5th-8th place play-offs.

It sets up a rematch with South Africa in Padova next Wednesday – the Baby ‘Boks were 42-26 winners when the sides met in the pool stages.

Boosted by two high octane displays against England and South Africa, Annett and his team-mates came into this game determined to break their duck.

The first half was tight throughout, Jackson and Weir trading blows inside the opening 13 minutes before the former kicked Ireland ahead ten minutes later.

The Irish forced the pace early on and their first attack yielded a right-sided penalty which Jackson threaded through the posts from 30 metres out.

In humid conditions Scotland's disciplined defence kept Ireland at bay and it took a second penalty from Jackson to edge his side back in front.

The out-halves each missed their final scoring chances before the break, as a fascinating battle for territory continued. Ireland's forwards held an advantage at set piece time and worked hard around the pitch.

The Scots enjoyed some of their best spells in the third quarter, threatening Ireland's try-line in quick succession. But well-timed tackles from Tiernan O'Halloran and Jackson kept out Kerr Gossman and Hamish Watson.

It was not until the closing 20 minutes that Ireland’s threatening backs clicked into gear, after Jackson and Weir had made it 9-6.

Centre Brendan Macken tore through the Scottish defence to set up his Blackrock club-mate Conway for a well-crafted try, converted by Jackson.

The shackles were off as lock Iain Henderson linked with Marshall on another terrific attack, this time down the left channel. Marshall dotted down and replacement James McKinney added the extras.

Hooker and captain Annett notched the third following some good approach work from replacements David Doyle and Daniel Qualter. McKinney’s kick made it 30-6.

Jordi Murphy was involved in the build-up to both of Ireland's final two tries, and put in an impressive shift at number 8.

Scotland gained some consolation in the form of a last-minute try from centre Danny Gilmour, but nothing could take the gloss off Ireland’s sixth win in seven meetings with the Scots at this age grade.

Speaking afterwards, Ruddock said: “We're still kicking ourselves (because) we feel we should have beaten England in the first game.

“The difference between the sides was that Ireland was just a bit stronger in the pack and the forwards, particularly in the scrum and the driving lineout.

“We just took the edge out of the Scotland legs because we were so powerful and that allowed our backs to have a little bit of room to cut them open towards the end.

“It wasn't always as pretty as we wanted it to be, it wasn't always sexy rugby but we got what we wanted, which was a great win.”

Referee: Greg Garner (England)