SCOTLAND sent a strong message to the senior side after showing both skill and character in achieving a deserved win over Ireland in the last night’s Six Nations under-20 championship match at Netherdale.
Scorers: Scotland Under-20: Tries: Young, Hoyland (2). Cons: Allan (3). Ireland Under-20: Tries: Murphy, Panter (penalty try). Cons: Daly. Pens: Daly.
The young Scots, as they did against Italy, showed genuine ambition in their play and it was only in the set piece that they were under pressure from an Ireland pack strong in the front row and efficient in the line-out.
But in broken play it was Scotland who looked the better side with massive performances from man-of-the-match Adam Ashe, stand-off Tommy Allan and Damien Hoyland who added to his single try against Italy with two last night. There were also hugely impressive displays from skipper Jonny Gray, his second row partner Adam Sinclair and midfielders Chris Auld and Robbie Fergusson
A physical start to the match by Ireland offered a chance for points in the first minute, only for centre Tom Daley to miss his kick at goal. Then when Scotland centre 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 line-out they 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 Ruaridh 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 interception try by Hoyland after the winger got hands to the ball from a pass by Steve Crosbie intended for Rory Scholes, Allan’s second conversion giving the home side a 14-3 lead.
Scotland were unfortunate to lose their playmaker scrum half, Sam Hidalgo-Clyne and immediately 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 Ireland worked the ball off a penalty line-out No 8 Ryan Murphy had room to dive over in the corner for an unconverted try.
Ireland’s second try arrived when wing David Panter finished off good work by the forwards by crashing over in the corner, Daly again wide with the conversion attempt. The centre then missed a penalty kick just on half time leaving Scotland holding on to a slender 14-13 lead.
It was Scotland who looked the more aggressive at the beginning of the second half 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 the yellow card. Ireland opted for a scrum and made their strength pay, forcing Scotland to conceded a penalty try, Daly’s conversion giving Ireland a 20-14 advantage.
Scotland had a chance to reply when Allan broke through the Irish defence but the support overran the stand-off and a good chance was lost.
Ireland, having lost their fly half Crosbie to injury, then conceded their lead when Scotland from a penalty kick to the corner worked a clever move from the ensuing line-out that ended with replacement scrum half Ali Price feeding Hoyland to give the wing his second try.
Allan then put over the difficult conversion kick, putting Scotland back into the lead with the scoreline at 21-20 resulting a tense last few minutes as the Scots wound down the clock with skill to achieve an excellent win.
Scotland under-20: R Young; D Hoyland, C Auld, R Fergusson, R Hughes; T Allan, S Hidalgo-Clyne; J Bhatti, C Black, P Cringle, J Gray, A Sinclair, A Henderson, W Bordill, A Ashe. Subs: R Kennedy, S Muir, D Rae, R Leishman, T Spinks, A Price, A Hagart, K Buchan. Subs used: Price for Hidalgo-Clyne 22 mins, Rae for Cringle 55, Muir for Bhatti 55, Spinks for Henderson 63, Buchan for young 65, Kennedy for Black 67, Leishman for Sinclair 75.
Ireland Under-20: D Leader; D Panter, T Daly, R Scannell, R Scholes; S Crosbie, L McGrath; P Dooley, G McGuigan, C Taylor, G Thornbury, J Donnan, P Timmins, J Van Der Flier, R Murphy. Subs: J Andrew, R Furness, A Boland, J Sexton, E Masterson, J Creighton, M Roche, D Sweetnam. Subs used: Roche, on for Scannell 2 mins –reversed at 8 mins blood, Roche for Scannell 66min, Andrew for Mc Guigan 69, Sweetnam for Crosbie 72, Creightan for McGrath 77, Masterson for Timmins 79.
Referee: I Davies (WRU).