Four-Try Scots End Irish Grand Slam Hopes

Scotland under-20 ended Ireland’s hopes of a 6 Nations grand-slam with a convincing 35-20 win at McDiarmid Park, Perth tonight in front of a 1441 crowd.

From the outset Scotland gave the unbeaten Irish no quarter; playing controlled, attacking rugby while tactically focussing on quick ball to nullify the formidable Irish forwards.

Richie Gray offloads to Strewan Dewar for Scotland's second 

 

Scotland under-20 ended Ireland’s hopes of a 6 Nations grand-slam with a convincing 35-20 win at McDiarmid Park, Perth tonight in front of a 1441 crowd.

From the outset Scotland gave the unbeaten Irish no quarter; playing controlled, attacking rugby while tactically focussing on quick ball to nullify the formidable Irish forwards.

An early exchange of penalties from full-back Robbie McGowan and Irish outside-centre Ian McKinley saw the sides at three-a-piece after just five minutes before each squandered kicking opportunities to take the lead.

Scotland’s first glimpse of a try came through Robbie Johnston when fly-half Andrew White passed neatly inside to the centre who burst clean through the gap to score, but referee Andrew Small called the game back for an earlier forward pass.

Scotland continued to pressure the Irish with quick-ball and gradually made their way deep into opposition territory and across to the near side touch-line.

With just five metres go, scrum-half Henry Pyrgos picked from the base, jinked round the Irish number 8 and dove over for the score.

Resulting unsavoury antics from the try saw hooker Finlay Gilles and Ireland flanker Rhys Ruddock yellow carded shortly before McGowan missed the resulting conversion, 8-3.

Ryan McConnell replaced Struan Dewar to maintain contested scrums for the duration of the sin binning.

For the remainder of the half relentless Scotland pressure saw the youngsters camped in the Irish 22, with mixed phase play testing the defence from wing to wing until flanker Struan Dewar – back on after Gilles’ binning had ended – crashed over for Scotland’s second before McGowan added the extras to put Scotland in 15-3 up.

Half time: 15-3

Soon after the break Ireland took their first step in clawing back the lead through a McKinley penalty – but it was only moments until Scotland were across the whitewash once more.

Irish Fly-half Ian Madigan was put under serious pressure from the Scotland back-row after receiving the ball on his five metre line from a lineout.

The under pressure fly-half spilled the ball and alert back-rower Chris Fusaro was first to collect and powered over the line despite Irish efforts to stop him. McGowan converted to extend Scotland’s lead to 22-6.

As the second half wore on, Scotland’s avoidance of the breakdown in the early stages wore off and the home side began to exert themselves up front through low and focused driving.

Stuart MacInally picked from the base and, with the Irish failing to marshal the tight channels effectively, spotted the gap and ghosted over the line unchallenged. McGowan added the extras to give the Scots a convincing 29-6 cushion.

However, despite the Scots dominating after the restart the Irish were gifted their way back into the contest.

Two converted Irish tries from replacement Adam Macklin and full-back David Kearney either side of a McGowan penalty kick offered the Irish a glimpse of hope, closing the gap to 12 points, however the Scots defence remained resilient and a final McGowan penalty four minutes from time diminished hopes of a late Irish resurgence and ensured the latest win in a so far successful 6 Nations campaign for the young Scots.

Full time: 35-20

Scotland under-20 coach, Eamon John, said: “We thoroughly deserved to win tonight, we were the better side – the speed of ball we were producing was first class – and when we were playing good rugby it looked like there was about 20 of us on the pitch, we were everywhere.

“Now with three out of four we go to England next week with the opportunity to do something no other Scotland under-20 or under-21 group has done before – we’ve already won the first Scotland under-20s match and now we’ve got a chance of winning the championship.

“It’s the we, not me culture, from the management to the players, that is the key to the success of this squad,”

Scotland under-20 next face England and the Sixways Stadium, Worcester on Friday 20 March (kick-off 8pm) in a match that could decide the 6 Nations Championship.

Attendance: 1441
Man of the match: Henry Pyrgos

Scotland under-20 team v Ireland at McDiarmid Park, Perth on Friday 13 February (kick-off 7.30pm)

15  Robbie McGowan (Stirling County)
14 Paul Loudon (Durham University and Edinburgh Academicals) VICE CAPTAIN
13 Ashleah McCulloch+ (Aberdeen Grammar Rugby)
12 Robbie Johnston (Leeds University and Leeds Carnegie)
11 Grant Anderson* (Ayr)
10 Andrew White+ (Glasgow Hawks)
9 Henry Pyrgos (Loughborough University)

1 Gavin Cameron+ (Boroughmuir)
2 Finlay Gilles + (Heriot’s)
3 David Morton (Bridgwater)
4 Nick Campbell+ (Glasgow Hawks)
5 Richie Gray (Glasgow Warriors) CAPTAIN
6 Struan Dewar+ (Heriot’s)
8 Stuart McInally* (Watsonians)
7 Chris Fusaro* (Heriot’s)

Replacements (all used)
16 Ryan McConnell + (Peebles) on for Dewar 30’ (scrum replacement)
17 Douglas Orr+ (Haddington) on for Cameron (66’)
18 James Taylor (Loughborough University and Dundee HSFP) on Campbell (48’)
19 Tom Drennan+ (Edinburgh Academicals) on for Fusaro (63’)
20 Peter Jericevich* (Glasgow Hawks) on for Pygros (63’)
21  Peter Horne* (West of Scotland) on for 12 (66’)
22 Adam McKenzie (Northumbria University) on for Anderson (52’)

* = denotes National Academy
+ = denotes National Academy supported by Area Institute of Sport

Ireland under-20
David Kearney, Ronan O’Mahony, Ian McKinley, Eamonn Sheridan, Michael Keating, Ian Madigan, Matthew Healy, Paddy McAllister, Tom Sexton, Jack McGrath, Ciaran Ruddock, James Sandford, Rhys Ruddock, Peter O’Mahony CAPTAIN, Dominic Ryan
Replacements
David McGregor, Adam Macklin, Mark Flanagan, Michael Noone, Conor Murray, Andrew Burke, Shane Gahan 

Referee: Andrew Small (RFU)
Touch judge1: JP Doyle (RFU)
Touch judge 2: Alan Hughes (RFU)
4th Official: David Jack (SRU)
5th Official: Charles Samson (SRU)

• Admission is free to all Scotland’s age-grade, A, and Women’s 6 Nations home matches. No tickets or vouchers are required