Ireland competed their Summer Series on Saturday with a comfortable win against the USA at Lansdowne Road.
Ireland scored 10 tries with hooker Ronan Kelleher crossing for four. Ulster’s Robert Baloucoune and Nick Timoney both crossed on their debuts with Stuart McCloskey, Hugo Keenan, Gavin Combes and Finlay Bealham also claiming a try each in the one-sided romp.
Ireland (31) 71
TRY: Robert Baloucoune, Ronan Kelleher (4), Nick Timoney, Stuart McCloskey, Hugo Keenan, Gavin Combes, Finlay Bealham.
CON: Joey Carbery (5), Harry Byrne (3), Will Addison
PEN: Joey Carbery
USA (3) 10
TRY: Michael Baska
CON: Will Magie
PEN: Luke Carty
Despite the big scoreline this was a disappointing game with neither side getting much out of it, apart from the eight Irish debutant’s, of course, who now all have their own little bit of history. However, their careers will be defined by other games than this.
It did start reasonably competitively and Ireland needed a Joey Carbery penalty, on the 7th minute, to open the scoring. The crowd got what they wanted on the 14th minute when Baloucoune sprinted home from the half way line, simply running round 3 or 4 defenders with shear pace. Ireland’s biggest disappointment must be how little Baloucoune was used in the rest of the game.
The USA responded with a penalty from Luke Carty, who had dabbled with Ireland U20’s and Ulster A but didn’t start for either I believe, and Ireland reverted to the safety and security of sticking it up the jumper and their oh so familiar ruck and reload game.
Ronan Kelleher was the main beneficiary with two tries before the break either side of a similar effort form Ulster’s Timoney. Carbery converted all three to rattle the score along to 31 – 3 as the teams changed ends.
There was another brace from Kelleher at the start of the second half but Will Addison had come on, after a knock to Andrew Conway, and the experienced Ulster player was one of the few backs that could force their involvement in the game with his astute reading of what was in front of him.
Addison’s link play was the highlight of the game for me and it yielded tries for McCloskey and Keenan before the forwards took over again for the final 10 minutes. Gavin Coombes crossed for Ireland and Harry Byrne, who had come on for Carbery, knocked over his third conversion to rattle the score along to 64 – 3 by the 70th minute.
A disappointing USA finally got some reward for their efforts with replacement Michael Baska crossing on the 77th minute, for Will Magie to convert, but Ireland had the final word with an injury time try from Bealham, converted by Addison, bringing the game to an end.
IRELAND: Hugo Keenan, Robert Baloucoune*, James Hume*, Stuart McCloskey, Andrew Conway, Joey Carbery, Craig Casey, Dave Kilcoyne, Ronan Kelleher, Tom O’Toole*, Ryan Baird, James Ryan (C), Caelan Doris, Nick Timoney*, Gavin Coombes. Replacements: Dave Heffernan, Ed Byrne, Finlay Bealham, Fineen Wycherley*, Paul Boyle*, Caolin Blade*, Harry Byrne*, Will Addison. (* Debutant)
USA: Mike Te’o, Christian Dyer, Calvin Whiting, Bryce Campbell (C), Mika Kruse, Luke Carty, Ruben de Haas, David Ainu’u, Joe Taufete’e, Paul Mullen, Gregory Peterson, Nick Cavetti, Hanco Germishuys, Riekert Hattingh, Cam Dolan. Replacements: Kapeli Pifeleti, Matt Harmon, Dino Waldren, Nate Brakeley, Psalm Wooching, Andrew Guerra, Michael Baska, Will Magie.
We should have a Who Did What for the Summer Series up later today and we’ll look at the Ulster player contributions there.