While Ireland’s senior side were handed a defeat by their Scottish counterparts on Saturday, on Friday evening their younger U20 compatriots secured a dramatic win over the young Scots.
Sedbergh old boy Johnny McPhillips claimed the man of the match award at Broadwood Stadium, and it was he who secured the win, landing a crucial conversion to openside Paul Boyle’s try with under ten minutes to go to seal the 20-19 victory for his side.
Scotland had taken a 19-13 lead and seemed like they could kick on, but the Irishmen, despite having jus two players in their side with prior U20 experience, dug deep for that dramatic late score.
Speaking to Irish Rugby after the game, McPhillips said:
“That was a tough, tough match as Scotland had a big pack and came flying out of the blocks at us, but the team put in a great effort to see us home in the end. When you first come into U20 rugby it can be quite a shock to the system for some boys because it is a step up from what we are used to. The younger guys were not fazed though and I thought at times we got into a good rhythm and played some good rugby.’
“We wanted to play in their half and the pack really dug it out and put in a shift and it was just good that in the last 10 minutes when we had possession we managed to make it count with that try.”
Head Coach Nigel Carolan added:
“This was always going to be a really tricky fixture first up and we always find it quite hard in Scotland, so to be heading home with a win is a big tick in the box. I thought that the forward pack adjusted well to a tough first 40 minutes after the break and that allowed us to get a bit more territory and bring players like Johnny into things more.”
“The patience the team showed was good. Sometimes young players can panic when they look up at the scoreboard with 10 minutes to go and they are six points down, but they just played the phases and got a good winning try. It is a new group and one that I am excited to be working with.”
The tournament had kicked off a couple of hours earlier with Wales’ trip to Rome to face Italy.
The Welshmen put in a fine display for a 27-5 victory in absolutely torrid conditions in the Italian capital. It was a victory made all the more impressive by the fact that 20 of the 23-man squad had never featured for the U20s before.
England meanwhile beat France by a stunning 59-17 margin at Exeter Chiefs’ Sandy Park, you can see our take on that game here: England crush sluggish France.
Scotland U20 19-20 Ireland U20
Italy U20 5-27 Wales U20
Ireland U20 XV:
15 Jack Kelly (Dublin University/Leinster) (c), 14 Jordan Larmour (St. Mary’s College/Leinster), 13 Gavin Mullin (UCD/Leinster), 12 Ciaran Frawley (UCD/Leinster), 11 Colm Hogan (Dublin University/Munster), 10 Johnny McPhillips (Ballynahinch/Ulster), 9 Jonny Stewart (Queen’s University/Ulster), 1 Joey Conway (UL Bohemians/Munster), 2 Tadgh McElroy (Lansdowne/Leinster), 3 Peter Cooper (Belfast Harlequins/Ulster), 4 Fineen Wycherley (Young Munster/Munster), 5 Oisin Dowling (Lansdowne/Leinster), 6 Cillian Gallagher (Corinthians/Connacht), 7 Paul Boyle (Lansdowne/Leinster), 8 Caelan Doris (St. Mary’s College/Leinster).
Replacements: 16 Adam Moloney (Shannon/Munster), 17 Rory Mulvihill (UCD/Leinster), 18 Charlie Connolly (Dublin University/Leinster), 19 Jack Regan (UCD/Leinster), 20 Marcus Rea (Queen’s University/Ulster), 21 Jack Lyons (Young Munster/Munster), 22 Conor Fitzgerald (Shannon/Munster), 23 Tommy O’Brien (UCD/Leinster).
Scotland U20 XV
15 Darcy Graham (Hawick), 14 Robbie Nairn (Harlequins), 13 Craig Pringle (Stirling County), 12 Cameron Hutchison (Currie), 11 Ross McCann (Melrose), 10 Josh Henderson (Glasgow Hawks), 9 Andrew Simmers (Heriot’s), 1 George Thornton (Bishop Burton College), 2 Fraser Renwick (Hawick), 3 Adam Nicol (Stirling County), 4 Alex Craig (Gloucester), 5 Callum Hunter-Hill (c) (Stirling County), 6 Luke Crosbie (Currie), 7 Matt Fagerson (Glasgow Hawks), 8 Tom Dodd (Worcester Warriors).
Replacements: 16 Robbie Smith (Ayr), 17 Daniel Winning (Boroughmuir), 18 Fergus Bradbury (Stirling County), 19 Hamish Bain (Currie), 20 Jamie Ure (Boroughmuir), 21 Bruce Flockhart (Glasgow Hawks), 22 Charlie Shiel (Currie), 23 Stafford McDowall (Ayr).
Wales U20 XV:
15 Will Talbot-Davies (Newport Gwent Dragons), 14 Jared Rosser (Newport Gwent Dragons), 13 Ioan Nicholas (Scarlets), 12 Kieran Williams (Ospreys), 11 Ryan Conbeer (Scarlets), 10 Ben Jones (Cardiff Blues), 9 Dane Blacker (Cardiff Blues), 1 Rhys Carre (Cardiff Blues), 2 Ellis Shipp (Newport Gwent Dragons), 3 Keiron Assiratti (Cardiff Blues), 4 Alex Dombrandt (Cardiff Blues), 5 Max Williams (Newport Gwent Dragons), 6 Morgan Sieniawski (Cardiff Blues), 7 Will Jones (c) (Ospreys), 8 Morgan Morris (Gloucester).
Replacements: 16 Corrie Tarrant (Cardiff Blues), 17 Steff Thomas (Scarlets), 18 Chris Coleman (Newport Gwent Dragons), 19 Jack Pope (Ospreys), 20 Aled Ward (Cardiff Blues), 21 Declan Smith (Scarlets), 22 Phil Jones (Ospreys), 23 Cameron Lewis (Cardiff Blues).