WALES 21 IRELAND 35
Ireland put themselves right back in contention in Pool B of the IRB Under-20 Junior World Championship after they emerged victorious over last year’s runners-up, Wales, in what was a massive Celtic battle in New Zealand.
In spite of having two players off at one page in the sin-bin, Ireland secured a valuable try scoring bonus point to move them into second place in the pool.
They now need to defeat Fiji with another bonus point and hope Wales beat France to keep them in the hunt for a place in the semi-finals.
Mike Ruddock’s young team showed impressive composure to run out 14-point winners in Pukekohe in spite of leaking two tries via scrum pressure and having Peter Dooley and Alex Wootton sin-binned either side of half-time.
It was a hugely satisfying win especially given the injuries that have troubled the Irish camp and the age profile of the squad - nine players are eligible for the Under-20 grade again next season.
Key to the current crop’s first victory in New Zealand was a stunning start which saw Dooley’s front row colleague Rory Burke and classy centre Garry Ringrose both cross the whitewash inside 11 minutes.
TIME LINE: 4 minutes - Ireland try: Rory Burke - 0-5; conversion: Ross Byrne - 0-7; 11 mins - Ireland try: Garry Ringrose - 0-12; conversion: Ross Byrne - 0-14; 20 mins - Wales try: Tyler Morgan - 5-14; conversion: Angus O’Brien - 7-14; 24 mins - Ireland penalty: Ross Byrne - 7-17; 38 mins - Ireland yellow card: Peter Dooley; 39 mins - Wales try: Penalty try - 12-17; conversion: Angus O’Brien - 14-17; Half-time - Wales 14 Ireland 17; 41 mins - Ireland yellow card: Alex Wootton; 46 mins - Wales try: James Benjamin - 19-17; conversion: Angus O’Brien - 21-17; 51 mins - Ireland try: Gary Ringrose - 21-22; conversion: Ross Byrne - 21-24; 59 mins - Ireland penalty: Ross Byrne - 21-27; 67 mins - Wales yellow card: Jack Dixon; 68 mins - Ireland penalty: missed by Ross Byrne - 21-27; 73 mins - Ireland penalty: Ross Byrne - 21-30; 76 mins - Ireland try: Cian Kelleh