It’s going to be a long old morning with four reports to write and little Irish success, well none actually, against our friends across the water!
First up the U20’s who went down 33 – 9 to a Billy Burns inspired England U20 at Franklin’s Gardens on Saturday afternoon.
England (16) 33
TRY: Maro Itoje, Howard Packman, Nick Tompkins, Joel Conlon
CON: Billy Burns (2)
PEN: Billy Burns (3)
Ireland (9) 9
PEN: Ross Byrne (3)
Burns got the scoreboard ticking over with an early penalty goal and the home side extended their lead to 10 points a minute later with Maro Itoje crashing over for Burns to convert.
Burns extended England’s lead to 13 – 0 with his second penalty before Ross Byrne got Ireland on the scoreboard on the 20th minute with a penalty of his own.
In a spate of penalties Burns added his third before R Byrne replied with two more for Ireland which took the scoreboard to 16 – 9 at the break.
Ireland, outgunned up front for the second match running, played mostly off the back foot and struggled to get their backline involved as two third quarter tries from England pushed they game beyond Ireland’s reach.
Winger Howard Packman crossed for the first on the 44th minute and center Nick Tompkins broke through on the 57th minute for Burns to convert.
At 28 – 9 in England’s favour the game was over with 20 minutes to play. Ireland continued to struggle to get involved and england added some icing to the scoreline with their fourth try coming from flanker Joel Conlon to put the result beyond doubt.
ENGLAND U20: Nathan Earle, Zach Kibirige, Nick Tompkins, Harry Sloan, Howard Packman, Billy Burns, Callum Braley, Alex Lundberg, Harry Thacker, Scott Wilson, Maro Itoje, Charlie Ewels, Ross Moriarty, Joel Conlon, James Chisholm. Replacements: Jack Walker, Danny Hobbs-Awoyemi, Paul Hill, Tom Ellis, Gus Jones, Henry Taylor, Sam Olver, Henry Purdy
IRELAND U20: David Busby, Cian Kelleher, Dan Goggin, Peter Robb, Adam Byrne, Ross Byrne, Nick McCarthy, Peter Dooley, Max Abbott, Rory Burke, Paedar Timmins, Ross Molony, Michael Triggs, Dan Leavy, Frankie Taggart. Replacements: Stephen Gardiner, Harrison Brewer, Sean McNulty, Denis Coulson, Joe Joyce, Oisin Heffernan, Conor McKeon, Jack Cullen.
The loss sees Ireland in fourth place in the Six Nations with a home fixture to Italy and a difficult away trip to, league leaders, France to come and it would be fair to say that the campaign to date has been disappointing.
While U20’s can fluctuate dramatically from year to year it is a bit of a worry that the much vaunted Academies of Ulster and Munster are stuttering this season with Ulster, in particular, falling well sort with only two representatives. (Queens’ David Busby at full back and Quins’ Frankie Taggart at No. 8.)
No need to panic just yet, in truth the U20’s need one good year in three to keep things ticking over, but Allen Clarke and Brian McLaughlin are going to need to pull a few more out of the hat if world dominance is to proceed on schedule!
As they stand