Scotland U20 defeat Ireland in thriller

Scotland beat Ireland for the first time ever in the World Rugby U20 Championship, coming out on top 32-28 in a thrilling encounter in the Georgian sunshine.

Having given a good account of themselves in the opening pool game against New Zealand, John Dalziel’s side started brightly against last year’s beaten finalists, threatening early on and enjoying the majority of the possession.

It was the Irish who struck first however, converting a penalty before making the most of a lapse in concentration from the Scottish defence to take a quick tap and squirm over the line for the game’s opening try.

Scotland hit back almost instantly with a superb length of the field score. Darcy Graham running the ball from his own 22 before offloading in the tackle to Ross McCann who ran the ball under the sticks to complete a lovely team try.

Momentum swung back in the Scot’s favour and and just before the break they had a second. Fraser Renwick scoring from the back of a line-out maul that had proven so effective in the opening game against New Zealand and Scotland lead 12-10.

A Conor Eastgate penalty at the start of the second period extended their lead and that was followed closely by Scotland’s third try, another flowing team move.

This time it was Blair Kinghorn breaking the line and racing up the field. Tackled just short, Scotland didn’t panic, and the ball was recycled smartly to Graham who finished from 5m out.

Ireland responded with an impressive score of their own, winger Jack Kelly evading several Scottish tackles on his way to the line.

With the game opening up Scotland responded instantly. Captain Hunter-Hill striding into opposition territory and again the Scots showed good composure inside the opponent’s 22 to slow the play down, pick the best option and it was Eastgate who finished off.

An Irish penalty kept them within a score but Scotland had their backs up and soft hands and smart running in another well worked team move saw Robbie Nairn score his side’s fifth of the night.

An Irish try with five minutes to go caused a cautious ending but Scotland had enough to hold out the green attack and secure an entertaining victory.

Victory leaves Scotland second in Pool B with Italy still to play on Thursday 8 June, kick-off 10am BST.