The prospect of relegation to the World Rugby U20 Trophy looms after Ireland they were convincingly defeated by Scotland 45-29 in Perpignan this afternoon.
Ireland U20s have now lost their last five matches in all competitions and have conceded a hefty 18 tries in this year’s tournament with only Italy and Japan conceding more.
Ireland weren’t able to capitalize on a positive start as Harry Byrne crossed on 11 minutes to give Ireland a 7-3 lead after Charlie Chapman kicked a penalty three minutes before. Ireland scored their second try ten minutes later when Peter Sylvester gathered a grubber kick by Byrne into the try zone to dot down. Byrne converted to give Ireland a 14-3 lead.
Three tries in 12 minutes for Scotland ensured that they took a 24-17 lead into the break. A strong maul gave Scotland a platform before Finlay Richardson barged over from close range. The tight head prop scored his second try eight minutes later when he ghosted past a number of Irish defenders with ease.
Logan Trotter added another three minutes before the break as Scotland capitalized on Hugh O’Sullivan’s yellow card. A Scottish maul in the 22m line and on the left side of the pitch sucked in Irish defenders and when the ball was released to the backs, three passes to the right winger gave him a short stroll to the line.
A penalty from the boot of Byrne gave Ireland three points at the end of the first half and brought Ireland to within seven points of their Six Nations rivals.
Guy Graham scored a wonderful individual try eight minutes after the break. Scotland’s replacement back row forward broke the Irish line on 50m after a short pass from number eight, Devante Onojaife. Graham showed a good turn of pace and a useful step to beat Michael Silvester and O’Sullivan on his way to the line.
More missed tackles cost Ireland dear six minutes later. Trotter ran 40m to take Scotland to within 4m of the Irish 22m line after stealing a lineout. After several phases Murphy Walker made a bust and offloaded to Kyle Rowe which took the game beyond Ireland with over 20 minutes remaining.
Tommy O’Brien gave Ireland hope with a try after 62 minutes, however the result was confirmed when Onojaife added Scotland’s sixth and final try with 12 minutes remaining.
Ireland’s replacement back row, Jack Daly scored a consolation try with eight minutes left in the contest.
Failing to make the 9th placed play off this year means that Ireland are guaranteed to set a new low as they have never finished lower than 9th in the tournament since its inception in 2008.
Ireland will play their 11th place play off match on Sunday (17th June) at 10am (11am UK/IRE) in Beziers against Japan, who narrowly lost to Georgia today.