Scotland Under-20 21 - 53 Ireland Under-20: Irish prove too strong again for young Scots

SCOTLAND ended their IRB under-20 championship campaign yesterday with a heavy defeat by Ireland at Club Atletico Estudiantes, Paraná, to finish 10th overall in the tournament, one place below their seeding.

Defeat to the Six Nations under-20 champions was not unexpected, given that Ireland won 44-15 when the two teams met in March at Dubarry Park in Athlone.

Moreover, Ireland had much to prove after a disappointing set of results in the pool stages that put them in the bottom four. They ran in three first-half tries, two of them by 18-year-old full back Andrew Conway, to establish a 25-16 half-time lead, Scotland's points having come from three penalty goals by Duncan Weir and the stand-off's conversion of a try by flanker Rob Harley.

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Any hopes Scotland entertained of overtaking their Celtic cousins were shattered as Ireland wing Simon Zebo scored the first of his side's four second-half tries, followed by hooker and skipper Niall Annett, Conway and scrum-half John Cooney. Scotland's only reply was a late try by skipper Stuart McInally, converted by Weir.

"We were only nine points behind at the break and thought we had a chance of closing the gap" said Scotland coach Eamon John. "But they got away from us in the second half. Defensively we fell off too many tackles and kicked too much ball away, allowing them to run back at us and score.

"But Ireland are a very good side and have good individual players."

Scotland U20: T Brown; C MacBurnie, J Johnstone, A Dunbar, M Tait; D Weir, A Black; A Kent, A Walker, N Little, D Denton, G Gilchrist, R Harley, C Stidston-Nott , S McInally (captain) Subs A Fedorciow , C Philips, M Fedo , R McAlpine, R Weir, M Scott, O Grove

Ireland U20: A Conway; A Boyle, E Griffin, N Spence, S Zebo; N Reid, J Cooney; B Cagney, N Annett, M Moore, D O'Callaghan, B Hayes, D Ryan, B O'Hara, P Butler. Subs D Doyle, D Buckley, J Murphy, R O'Sullivan, M Heaney, J McKinney, M Kelleher

Referee: G Williamson (New Zealand)

VICE captain Rory Lawson last night welcomed official confirmation from the IRB that Scotland have jumped two places in the world rankings. Andy Robinson's side are now in seventh place – ahead of Wales and Argentina – equalling their highest-ever place since the rankings were established.

Scrum-half Lawson said: "This is obviously hugely positive news and is a sign of the direction we are now hoping to move in."

The Scotland party return from Argentina tomorrow. They will reconvene for a training camp in St Andrews in August and are next back in action on home soil for the autumn Tests against New Zealand, South Africa and Samoa in November.

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