Young Scots suffer game of two halves

A contrasting second-half showing saw Scotland Under-18 lose 26-6 to their Irish counterparts in Dublin after being just a point adrift at the break.

The young Scots enjoyed a dominant first half and went in at the break justifiably displeased with their 7-6 deficit, producing an aggressive defensive showing but failing to finish the opportunities created.

Unfortunately the performance was not replicated after the interval as Ireland battled back, with the pressure telling on the discipline of prop Murray McCallum who was sent to the sin bin.

Three more tries followed for the hosts who exploited the man advantage and the fatigued Scots to complete the win.

Speaking after the match, head coach, Eddie Pollock, said: “It was 7-6 at half time and we enjoyed most of the territory and possession in that half, and actually played pretty well with a lot of ball.

We were putting pressure on their possession, charging down kicks and, in general, putting together a pretty strong performance, but didn’t keep it going.

- - Head coach Eddie Pollock

“We went down to 14 men, which was a key point in the game, and never got back into it after that.

“Even when we did have the ball in the second-half we didn’t get past two phases before coughing it up again, through our own handling errors.

“Ultimately we had a very promising first-half and a very disappointing second-half.”

Match report...

The Scots started brightly, and nearly scored, when Josh Laird charged down a kick in midfield, but the centre made too strong a connection with his kick forward and the ball went out of play.

After both sides missed early kicks at goal, the Scots took the lead through Rory Hutchinson's second penalty attempt in the eighth minute.

The hosts responded with the game's opening try on 14 minutes from a kick through by Jacob Stockdale on the right. Matthew Gilsenan converted to put Ireland 7-3 up.

The physical visitors kept up the heat on the home defence and after their powerful forwards drove back an Irish scrum, Hutchinson landed the resulting penalty.

That score on 27 minutes was the last of the opening half as Scotland went in to the dressing rooms unhappy with being a point behind.

Ireland Schools 7-6 Scotland Under-18

Ealy Irish pressure brought about the McCallum yelow card which was enough to allow the host the space to get their tails up and across the line, from which the Scots failed to recover.

Irish full-back Jack Powermade broke down the near touchline and fed inside for Calvin Nash to go over. Gilsenan added the extras.

Then, just on the hour, try number three arrived when Gilsenan bundled over on the right to give the hosts a 19-6 advantage.

Ireland continued their assault on the Scottish line and scored a fourth when Stockdale crossed  after 65 minutes.

Gilsenan took his personal tally to 11 points after his third conversion stretched the margin to 20 points at the final whistle. 

Ireland Schools (7) 26-6 (6) Scotland Under-18

Ireland Schools: Jack Power (Blackrock College/Leinster)' Jordan Larmour (St. Andrew's College/Leinster), Jacob Stockdale (Wallace High School/Ulster), Colm Mulcahy (Clongowes Wood College/Leinster), Alan McMahon (Rockwell College/Munster); Matthew Gilsenan (St. Michael's College/Leinster), Rowan Osborne (Clongowes Wood College/Leinster); Andrew Porter (St. Andrew's College/Leinster), John Molony (Clongowes Wood College/Leinster), Conan O'Donnell (Summerhill College/Connacht), Peter Claffey (Garbally College/Connacht), James Ryan (St. Michael's College/Leinster) (capt), Will Connors (Clongowes Wood College/Leinster), Charlie Cregan (St. Michael's College/Leinster), Max Deegan (St. Michael's College/Leinster). Substitutes: Conor McIlmurray (Campbell College/Ulster), Hugo Keane (Blackrock College/Leinster), Elliot Boyd (Campbell College/Ulster), Sean O'Connor (Rockwell College/Munster), Jonny Guy (St. Andrew's College/Leinster), Greg Jones (St. Andrew's College/Leinster), David Duggan (St. Michael's College/Leinster), Jimmy O'Brien (Newbridge College/Leinster), Calvin Nash (Crescent College Comprehensive/Munster), Oisin O'Meara (St. Michael's College/Leinster), Paul Kiernan (Presentation Brothers Cork/Munster).

Scotland Under-18: Ruairi Howarth (Gala Academy/Gala); Reuben Norville (St. Paul's, London/London Irish), Josh Laird (Strathallan School/Kirkcaldy), George Taylor (Loretto School/Melrose), Ben Robbins (George Watson's College); Rory Hutchinson (MPW Cambridge/Shelford), Andrew Manson (Stewart's Melville College); Murray McCallum (Stathallan/Dunfermline), Lewis Anderson (Marr College/Ayr), Zander Fagerson (Glasgow Hawks), Andrew Davidson (Kelvinside Academy/Glasgow Hawks), Jamie Ritchie (Strathallan/Howe of Fife) (capt), Scott Burnside (Heriot's), Matthew Smith (Stirling County), Ally Miller (George Watson's College/Watsonians). Substitutes:: Jake Kerr (George Watson's College/Watsonians), Gary Robertson (Gala Academy/Gala), Callum Sheldon (Queen Elizabeth School/Newcastle Falcons), Lewis Wynne (St. Mungo's High School/Stirling County), Callum Hunter-Hill (Stewart's Melville College), Hugh Fraser (Merchiston Castle School), Max MacFarlane (Hutchesons' Grammar School), Robbie Nairn (George Watson's College/Currie).