Ireland U20 came up against a rampant New Zealand U20, losing 3 – 69, in their final Pool match at the AIA Arena, Kutaisi, Georgia, on a hot Thursday afternoon.
Having lost their previous pool matches, against Italy and Scotland, Ireland looked to this game to give their uncapped players and new arrivals to the squad some game time ahead of the vital ranking games next week in Tbilisi. New Zealand, on the other hand, were looking at this game as a chance for revenge following Ireland’s comprehensive win in the pools games at last year’s tournament, fielding their strongest side to date.
Despite Ireland taking an early lead, through the boot of Conor Fitzgerald, the game went pretty much as expected, with the Baby Blacks relentless in their pursuit of tries, scoring eleven in total. Ereatara Enari, Tom Christie, Tiaan Falcon, Will Jordan (3), Caleb Clarke (3), Braydon Ennor and Josh McKay all crossed in the route with Falcon adding seven conversions.
Ireland did have their moments, in fact, they enjoyed more possession overall, but they were unable to break down the New Zealand defence even during a period when the All Backs were down to 13 players!
To their credit, Ireland kept going to the final whistle, the game ending with Ireland forced into touch in goal, Alan Tynan unable to stretch the ball round the corner flag.
Ireland U20: Alan Tynan, Michael Silvester, Jack Kelly, David McCarthy, Liam Coombes, Conor Fitzgerald, Jonny Stewart, Joey Conway, Adam Moloney, Greg McGrath, Gavin Coombes, Jack Regan, Marcus Rea, John Foley, Sean Masterson. Replacement: Ronan Kelleher, Jordan Duggan, Charlie Connolly, Fineen Wycherley, Caelan Doris, Jack Stafford, Conor Dean, Ciaran Frawley.