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Ireland Under-20s Fall To Late Defeat

Ireland Under-20s Fall To Late Defeat

The Ireland Under-20s were made to pay for a poor start and finish to this Six Nations tie as hosts Scotland battled their way to a one-point victory at Netherdale.

The Ireland Under-20s' Championship ambitions were dealt a body blow as they lost out in Galashiels despite scoring three tries.

It was a frustrating result for Mike Ruddock's youngsters who were much the stronger in the scrum and who operated more efficiently in the lineout.

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But some missed kicks at goal proved costly in the end and to their credit Scotland, who played with plenty of ambition and self belief, showed immense character in hitting back in the last quarter to win the match.

A physical start to the match by Ireland offered a chance for points in the first minute only for centre Tom Daly to miss his kick at goal. Then when Scotland centre Chris Auld got his boot to the ball, flanker Josh van der Flier did well to cover back.

Scotland’s attacking game soon paid off when from a lineout the Scots sucked in the Ireland defence before spinning the ball wide for Robbie Fergusson to put in a neat grubber kick that sat up for full-back Ruauridh Young to score the game’s opening try, Tommy Allan adding the conversion.

Ireland replied with a Daly penalty but almost immediately Scotland delivered a hammer blow with an intercept try by Damien Hoyland.

The winger got his hands to a pass by Steve Crosbie which was intended for Rory Scholes and raced away to score. Allan’s second successful conversion gave the home side a 14-3 lead.

Scotland were unfortunate to lose their play-making scrum half Sam Hidalgo-Clyne and immdediately his replacement Ali Price was in action defending the blindside as Ireland attacked from an increasingly dominant scrum.

There was no immediate gain but when Ruddock's charges worked the ball off a penalty lineout, number 8 Ryan Murphy had room to dive over in the corner for an unconverted try.

Another penalty-created try soon followed for the visitors, this time winger David Panter finishing off good work by the forwards by crashing over in the corner.

Daly, the match-winning hero last time out against England, was unfortunately wide with the conversion attempt. The Lansdowne clubman then missed a penalty kick just on half-time, leaving Scotland to take a slender 14-13 advantage into the second period.

It was Scotland who looked the more aggressive on the resumption and twice in the opening phases, Ireland full-back Darragh Leader had to look sharp as the Scots attacked the Irish red zone.

Ireland, however, quickly began to assert themselves and only desperate defence by the Scots prevented a try by Murphy after lock Gavin Thornbury had surged forward.

But the pressure took its toll as flanker Will Bordill was shown a yellow card. Ireland opted for a scrum and made their strength pay, forcing Scotland to concede a penalty try. Daly added the extras for a 20-14 turnaround.

Scotland had a chance to reply when Allan broke through the Irish defence but the support overran the out-half and a good chance was lost.

Ireland, having disappointingly lost their own number 10 Crosbie to injury, were caught in a dramatic and tense finale.

Scotland sent a penalty kick to the corner, working a clever move from the ensuing lineout that ended with replacement scrum half Ali Price feeding Hoyland for his second try.

Allan then put over the difficult conversion kick, edging Scotland back ahead at 21-20. With just a point between the sides, Ireland tried frantically to respond in the dying minutes but the Scots skilfully wound down the clock to seal the home win.

Referee: Ian Davies (Wales)