Ireland romp to victory over Uruguay

The emerging Irish side have won their opening two matches in Bucharest

Munster’s Robin Copeland (right) was outstanding for the Irish team in the IRB Nations Cup Bucharest. Photograph: ©INPHO/FFR.RO

Munster’s Robin Copeland (right) was outstanding for the Irish team in the IRB Nations Cup Bucharest. Photograph: ©INPHO/FFR.RO


Ireland 51 Uruguay 3

While not a procession like Friday’s dismissal of Russia, the Emerging Ireland team were always in control of their second Nations Cup game in Bucharest yesterday.

At least the Uruguayans were willing to tackle.

Still, it was not much of a contest, bringing into question the value of this three match tournament in Eastern Europe after such a long season.

Les Kiss was a welcome addition to the coaching team, sitting alongside Dan McFarland and Neil Doak, having been redirected to Romania after the Argentina tour. Kiss will have plenty of positives to report back to Joe Schmidt but nothing they didn’t know already.

Robin Copeland is the big winner on tour so far. A late addition to the match day squad after captain Dominic Ryan cried off sick, Munster’s new number eight was called into the action after just 11 minutes when Sean Dougall went down injured.

The Wexford native was put on the blindside flank with Tommy O’Donnell switching to openside and Paddy Butler staying at number eight, in a combination that would have interested Anthony Foley.

Seven of Foley’s pack were on show today.

It doesn’t matter where Copeland plays he will always carry with intent and at pace. There is a decent offload in his repertoire as well. He also welcomes confrontation. They might just warm to him in Thomond Park.

The first try was created by JJ Hanrahan, who shipped a late knock, rolling the ball behind the defensive line for Craig Gilroy to gather and glide over after just six minutes.

Tries by Mick Kearney and Paddy Butler, off a rolling maul, along with two more Hanrahan conversions brought matters to 22-3 at the turn.

The Uruguayans plight wasn’t helped by Fernando Bascou’s sin-binning for needlessly collaring Luke McGrath at a ruck.

McGrath went off early in the second half with concussion.

Butler’s day got even better when he piloted the scrum over for his second try on 52 minutes. Hanrahan made it 29-3. The Kerry man tacked on another two points after the maul, a lasting legacy of John Plumtree’s sojourn in Ireland, engineered a penalty try on the hour mark.

Butler’s all action performance continued with a nice offload to send Billy Holland crashing over before Paul Marshall’s opportunistic late touch down concluded the rout.

Romania should be able to provide a test of more substance in Sunday’s final game.

EMERGING IRELAND: C Gilroy; J Murphy, B Macken, E Griffin, M Allen; JJ Hanrahan, L McGrath; J Ryan, B Byrne, R Lutton; M Kearney, B Holland; T O’Donnell, S Dougall, P Butler. Replacements: R Copeland for S Dougall (11 mins), P Marshall for L McGrath (42 mins), C Black for R Lutton, D Foley for M Kearney (both 48 mins), I Keatley for E Griffin (57 mins), J Tracy for B Byrne, A Conway for C Gilroy.

Referee: Marius Mitrea (Italy).

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