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Wales U18 defeat Ireland to set up 5th place play off shot

Wales will face Portugal in the U18 European Championship 5th/6th place play off after beating Ireland U18 Schools 14-9 in Balma yesterday.

Ireland actually led 6-0 at half time, but with a strong wind behind them it was not enough as with the wind at their tails in the second half, Wales came storming back.

Ireland’s first half lead came through two penalties from captain Bill Johnston, who had moved from fly half to inside centre for this one.

A 51st minute yellow card to Irish second row Jonny Guy opened the door for Wales, with Welsh flanker Aled Ward crashing over for his side’s first score of the game after they went to the corner from the resultant penalty, with Arwel Robson converting to give Wales a 7-6 lead.

That lead was shortly to double as a loose irish kick downfield allowed full back Rhun Williams to charge deep into Irish territory before releasing his centre Kieran Williams to storm through underneath the posts, with Robson converting to put Wales into a strong 14-6 lead with just fifteen minute left.

Ireland crept back into contention though, with Johnston landing another penalty after Wales’ Robson was sin-binned with under ten minutes left to play.

Ireland piled on the pressure for the remainder of the game but to no avail, sending them into a 7th/8th place play off with Scotland, who surprisingly drew 0-0 with Portugal before losing 3-2 in a penalty shoot out.

Reflecting on the tournament so far, IRFU High Performance Manager Colin McEntee said:

“We’ll look forward to Scotland. Anything can happen on Saturday. We are learning an awful lot about the players and about how they bounce back. They are improving.”

“There is a big effort to try to get everything right for the weekend now and finish it off on a high which is no more than the coaches and players deserve. It would be a good reward for the honesty and endeavour that has taken place over the last week.”

“Wales, Scotland and Georgia. Three good games. Those three games for us, it is about developing through the process, ID-ing players for the future and most definitely (this) would have done that.”

“Scotland affords us another chance to play one of the four nations, our neighbours, don the green and like all Schools teams in the past and in the future, they will put their all into the jersey. The coaches will go back to work, tonight and tomorrow, to ensure the guys pick themselves up for Saturday.”

Ireland XV:

15 Tim Foley (Cistercian College Roscrea)

14 Calvin Nash (Crescent College Limerick)

13 Jack Kelly (St. Michael’s College)

12 Bill Johnston (Rockwell College) (c)

11 Robert Lyttle (Methodist College Belfast)

10 Conor Dean (Blackrock College)

9 Jonathon Stewart (Wallace High School)

1 Daniel Kealey (Campbell College Belfast)

2 Conor McEvoy (Sullivan Upper School)

3 Peter Cooper (Sullivan Upper School)

4 Jonny Guy (St. Andrew’s College)

5 Oisin Dowling (St. Michael’s College)

6 Caelan Doris (Blackrock College)

7 Tom de Jongh (Belvedere College)

8 John Foley (St. Munchin’s College Limerick)

Replacements: Alexander Clarke (Ballymena Academy), Peter Kelleher (Christian Brothers Cork), Tim Carroll (Cistercian College Roscrea), Jonathan McKeown (Ballymena Academy), Jack Lyons (Crescent College Limerick), Dylan Murphy (Cistercian College Roscrea), James Kendrick (Rockwell College), Jack O’Sullivan (Presentation Brothers Cork), Rory Butler (Campbell College Belfast), Colm Hogan (Glenstal Abbey), Cillian Gallagher (Summerhill College Sligo).

Wales U18s Lineups

Wales XV:

15 Rhun Williams

14 Shaun Pearce

13 Owen Lane

12 Kieran Williams

11 Keelan Giles

10 Arwel Robson

9 Efan Jones

1 Rhys Carre

2 Jordan Liney

3 Steffan Thomas

4 Shane Lewis-Hughes

5 Callum Bradbury

6 Aled Ward

7 Josh Cole

8 Joe Gaughan

Replacements: Kieran Assirat, Elis Shipp for Thomas, Mitchell Walsh, Connor Edwards, Jordan Davies, Max Williams, George Gasson, Nathan Hudd, Thomas Mably, Matthew Aubrey, Jack Evans.

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