- England Under 20 lose to Ireland in Athlone
- Focus now switches to France – Clifford
Ireland Under 20 16 England Under 20 15
England Under 20 suffered defeat by the narrowest of margins against Ireland in Athlone, going down 16-15 after a late try from wing Rory Scholes and pressure conversion by centre Tom Daly.
The visitors were down to 14 men for the majority of the game when flanker Ross Moriarty was shown a straight red card after a dangerous tackle on Ireland scrum half Luke McGrath. Fly half Henry Slade scored all of England’s points with five penalties from five, but it wasn’t enough in front of a strong partisan crowd.
Photo: Getty Images
It was England who got the first points on the board through the boot of the Exeter Chiefs man, who punished Ireland for an infringement at the breakdown and the hosts had the chance to level with 16 minutes on the clock, but outside centre Daly pushed his kick wide.
England’s task was made tougher when Moriarty was shown a straight red on 22 minutes and Daly levelled up from the resulting kick. But England showed resolve and regained the lead with 28 minutes played, Slade again converting. He added his third penalty five minutes later to make to 9-3, the final score of the half.
Ireland came out firing after the first 40 and reduced the deficit to three points early on, Daly scoring his second penalty of the night to make it 9-6 to England. With 50 played, England’s determination earned them a fourth penalty of the night, Slade again converting the kick.
With England 12-6 up Ireland were reduced to 14 men when kicker Daly was sent to the sinbin for playing the ball off his feet, Slade added three points from the resulting penalty with his metronomic left boot.
Minutes later and it was England with the man advantage, full back Robbie Henshaw followed Daly to the sin for a dangerous tackle on opposite number Ben Howard.
Ireland continued to apply pressure though and wing Rory Scholes scored the hosts third penalty to make it 15-9, and it wasn’t long before both sides had 13 men on the field after England lock Elliott Stooke was sent to the bin for pulling down a maul.
With ten minutes to play Ireland started to exploit their two man advantage, and after some steady build up play, the ball eventually found its way to Scholes who dived over in the corner.
The try made the score 15-14 to England, but from a difficult angle the impressive Daly converted and Ireland held out to record their first Six Nations win over England since 2010.
Captain Jack Clifford said: “It was an extremely tough game. We knew it would be when we went down to 14 men but I thought that we managed them well and played the ball into the right areas. There are a lot of tired bodies in the changing room – we gave it everything but it wasn’t quite enough, fair play to Ireland. Focus now switches to France and we’ll be looking to right the wrongs from tonight.”
Points: Slade 5P
England Under 20 starting XV to play Ireland
15 Ben Howard (Worcester Warriors)
14 Jack Arnott (Exeter Chiefs)
13 Mark Jennings (Sale Sharks)
12 Sam Hill (Exeter Chiefs)
11 Henry Purdy (Leicester Tigers)
10 Henry Slade (Exeter Chiefs)
9 Alex Day (Northampton Saints)
1 Danny Hobbs-Awoyemi (Northampton Saints)
2 Luke Cowan-Dickie (Exeter Chiefs)
3 Scott Wilson (Newcastle Falcons)
4 Elliott Stooke (Gloucester Rugby)
5 Dom Barrow (Leeds Carnegie)
6 Ross Moriarty (Gloucester Rugby)
7 Joel Conlon (Exeter Chiefs)
8 Jack Clifford (C) (Harlequins)
16 Max Crumpton (Saracens)
17 Nathan Morris (London Wasps) on for Danny Hobbs-Awoyemi 43 mins
18 Danny Herriott (Northampton Saints) on for Scott Wilson 75 mins
19 Tom Jubb (Saracens) on for Elliott Stooke 75
20 Harry Wells (Leicester Tigers) on for Joel Conlon 65 mins
21 Nathan Fowles (Sale Sharks) on for Alex Day 45 mins
22 Will Hooley (Northampton Saints) on for Henry Slade 76 mins
23 Tom Collins (Northampton Saints) on for Henry Purdy 65 mins